A Co Kildare TD is expressing serious concerns about the waiting lists at Naas Hospital for endoscopies.
Réada Cronin TD says today (4 August) that having 1597 people waiting for gastro-intestinal scoping exams at Naas General Hospital, since June 2020, is both 'unacceptable and alarming'.
Figures released to her under a Dáil Question show the following endoscopy wait times at Naas General Hospital:
0 – 1 month: 225
1- 2 months: 37
2-3 months: 42
More than 3 months: 1293
Deputy Cronin said: “Time is of the essence in these examinations. It is absolutely critical that they take place as soon as possible for the patients themselves, for their families and for the doctors and other medical staff who will treat them. Because, remember, doctors treat people, not conditions. ”
She said:“I find it especially concerning that, as of June 2020, there were 1,293 people waiting more than three months for endoscopy. That waiting time, in excess of three months, pre-dates the national Covid response.”
Deputy Cronin said:“As we learn to live with the virus, we must abolish the two-tier system where those who can pay are seen and those who can’t, are forced to wait. This system, where our value of a human life is defined by someone’s ability to pay, either in cash or as a privately-insured person, as opposed to according to their medical need, is inequitable and also unethical. It is a galling and chilling prospect for doctors on the frontline who get to treat people later in their disease, and therefore, often more aggressively and with less success.”
Deputy Cronin said: “People don’t just wait on waiting lists. They disimprove, they get sicker, they get anxious, sad and worried for themselves and for their families. And, of course, as they wait, some of them just run out of time and they die”.
She said in the new Dáil term Sinn Féin, as the biggest Opposition party, would be holding the Government to account.
Deputy Cronin said:“This is not 1920. This is 2020. Our healthcare must be based on our medical need as citizens, not on our consumer or customer ability to pay.”
The HSE says on its website :"An endoscopy can be used to confirm a diagnosis when other diagnostic tools, such as an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, are thought to be unsuitable. An MRI scan uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce a detailed image of the inside of the body."
The HSE says on its website :"An endoscopy can also be used to investigate a known condition in order to measure the extent of any problems that it may have caused. This can help your doctor or specialist decide the most suitable course of treatment for you."
Some conditions that an endoscopy can help diagnose or investigate include:
urinary tract infections (UTIs)
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Sometimes, an endoscopy is used in conjunction with ultrasound (where high-frequency sound waves are used to create an image of part of the inside of the body). An ultrasound probe is attached to the endoscope to allow your doctor to capture images of organs that are otherwise difficult to reach, such as the pancreas.
Biopsies and cancer
Endoscopies can be used to help diagnose and treat cancer. During the procedure, an endoscope is used to obtain small tissue samples, which can be tested for the presence of cancerous cells. This is known as a biopsy.
Endoscopies are particularly useful for carrying out biopsies in parts of the body that would otherwise require major surgery, such as the colon (large intestine) or the lungs.