HSE: Non-emergency operations can resume after being suspended due to pandemic

HSE: Non-emergency operations can resume after being suspended due to pandemic

The HSE says surgeons will now be able to carry out some non-emergency operations that were suspended because of the pandemic.

Cancer and heart surgeries will be the priority for now.

Consultant oncologist John Crown says the pandemic has made the issue of Ireland's lengthy waiting lists far more pressing.

"We must remember that in Ireland pre-Covid, we faced this crisis in the health system which had the lowest number of specialists, amongst the lowest number of beds, the lowest number of intensive care beds and amongst the longest waiting lists of any country in the OECD," said Prof. Crown.

"The pre-crisis situation is one that really did need addressing and reform and that need for reform has not gone away."

Prof. Crown says doctors have been limited in what they can do for other patients during the pandemic.

"Clearly there have been restrictions placed on some of the cancer care which we would like to deliver during the heat of the crisis.

"We have to bear in mind that our other patients do have urgent health needs which also need to be met.

"Prior to the Covid crisis, we also had very severe problems which are still urgently in need of reform and I do hope that Covid has possibly cast a little more focus on the need for very fundamental reform."

The head of the HSE says he is concerned about the knock on effect of the current crisis on cancer patients and those with other illnesses.

Paul Reid says there are concerns about how people with other illnesses are being affected.

"We have to do this now in a way that is very different, we have to keep our hospital capacity to about 80% and not 95% or 100% as we ran at previously because we have to plan for the uncertainties of Covid if we have a second surge or whatever happens next is not very predictable."

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