CUMH launches five-day blitz to cut gynaecology waiting list by 500

CUMH launches five-day blitz to cut gynaecology waiting list by 500
Patient Brigit McCarthy from Clonakilty, Prof. John R. Higgins, Clinical Director CUMH and Orfhlaith O'Sullivan, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist. Picture: Gerard McCarthy

A maternity hospital which had the worst waiting list in the country for outpatient gynaecology services has launched a five-day blitz to reduce by 500 the number waiting for treatment.

Two years ago, 4,700 women were on the outpatient gynaecology waiting list at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) and consultants warned that women’s lives were being jeopardised. 

They asked Health Minister Simon Harris for four additional obstetrician/gynaecologists; more theatre time and the opening of a second gynaecology theatre; a gynaecology day ward and a gynaecology one-stop shop. 

The minister promised €14m in funding over a three- year period but, to date, just €1.1m has materialised.

However, Professor John Higgins, who took on the role of clinical director of maternity services for the South/Southwest hospital group circa two years ago, said the waiting list figure had reduced to 2,700 by last month and the target was to reduce it to under 1,000 by April 2019.

The five-day blitz is part of this initiative.

Prof Higgins said a number of positive developments had taken place in the past 18 months, including:

  • Development of a new day ward;
  • Expansion of ambulatory hysteroscopy. This examination of the womb is the most common gynae procedure at the hospital. It will be a walk-in/walk-out service which will not require a general anaesthetic;
  • Opening of an all-day general gynaecology clinic at Mallow Primary Care Centre on Thursdays, which should see 1,000 new patients a year.

Prof Higgins said they were also changing some work practices with an extended working day to better maximise resources.

“Every time there’s a new development we have to look at how we can make it work. There’s not enough emphasis on saying ‘well hold on, we can do this differently’ rather than simply saying ‘we need more resources’.”

He said they had also started doing more cystoscopy (examination of the bladder) procedures in the past six months, as well as dramatically improving access to ultrasound scans.

And by grouping patients according to eight major conditions, they were dealing with waiting lists more efficiently.

The aim of the current “big push”, he said, is to try and clear the backlog in gynaecology services to the point where they could have a whole new-look service by April.

He said there are five new consultant posts in the offing, although none is in-post as yet. 

Neither has the hospital ever opened a second gynaecology theatre.

Prof Higgins said this meant they had “half the capacity we should have” and this would be the next item on the agenda to prevent further inordinate backlogs.

Fianna Fáil TD Aindrias Moynihan who campaigned for improved gynaecology services said the five-day blitz is welcome but it is “essential” that the second theatre is opened.

More on this topic

Mother of teen who died after taking substance at festival to walk marathon to raise funds for CUHMother of teen who died after taking substance at festival to walk marathon to raise funds for CUH

A love letter from the English patient to 'fantastic' staff at Cork University HospitalA love letter from the English patient to 'fantastic' staff at Cork University Hospital

Munster captain Peter O'Mahony unveiled as CUH Charity brand ambassador  Munster captain Peter O'Mahony unveiled as CUH Charity brand ambassador

CUH in ‘black escalation’ as 70 patients wait on trolleysCUH in ‘black escalation’ as 70 patients wait on trolleys


More in this Section

Farmers risk causing ‘irreversible damage’Farmers risk causing ‘irreversible damage’

Family turn up at antiques gig with Ming masterpieceFamily turn up at antiques gig with Ming masterpiece

Harris quizzed on controversial Garda revampHarris quizzed on controversial Garda revamp

Irish Rail urged to alter prices amid fares scrutinyIrish Rail urged to alter prices amid fares scrutiny


Lifestyle

Angela’s Ashes: The Musical at Cork Opera House brings some belly-laughs to Frank McCourt's tale, writes Marjorie Brennan.Perfect blend of belly laughs and emotion at Angela's Ashes: The Musical

In Currabinny, there is a large house right at the cliff’s edge, overlooking the whole of Cork Harbour.The Currabinny chefs cook with pears

It’s normal for children to occasionally worry but anxiety in a young person can develop into a crippling daily occurrence if it is not properly managed, writes Karen Murray.'Anxiety is a normal part of life': Understanding is key to helping children manage anxiety

This season textiles trend large, full of colour and exotic pattern, and applied in new ways to make a personal design statement from the living room to the bedroom, writes Carol O’CallaghanTextile trends that can help you make a personal design statement

More From The Irish Examiner