Over 300 elective surgical procedures at Waterford Regional Hospital were cancelled in the first half of this year.
Figures confirmed by the HSE show 139 scheduled day patient admissions and a further 162 inpatient procedures were cancelled from January to June of 2009.
The HSE has pointed out that all of these cancelled procedures were rescheduled and that not all of them were as a result of hospital capacity or availability. In some cases, a spokesperson said, cancellations occurred for clinical reasons as a patient may not have been deemed fit for surgery on a given day by their clinician. For example, the pre admission assessment might indicate that a procedure needed to be postponed for clinical reasons such as weight, immune system, blood pressure etc.
The HSE spokesperson noted that cancellations were a feature of hospital systems both in Ireland and internationally, as priority must be given to emergency cases and patients in urgent need. “Given the need for prioritisation it is occasionally necessary to postpone elective procedures. In Ireland the level of cancellations is broadly in line with other hospital systems internationally.” 
The figures, originally released to Dr James Reilly TD earlier in the week, showed that a total of 9,000 operations have been cancelled at hospitals around the country so far this year – a 27% increase on the first half of 2008. The Fine Gael Health spokesperson said the figures were depressing. “They confirm that the gridlock in our hospitals continues to see patients’ procedures cancelled. It is clear that ongoing A&E overcrowding and delayed discharges from acute beds lead to cancelled operations. Cancelled operations have a real impact on patients – postponing important procedures, prolonging pain and delaying investigations which may lead to early detection of serious illnesses.
See The Munster Express newspaper for full story.