711 patients wait 3 years for ENT

The Health Service Executive has accepted the situation is urgent regarding ear, nose and throat (ENT) services at Kerry General Hospital.

A total of 711 patients, a third of whom are children, are currently on the waiting list for the service for more than three years.

The hospital has only one ENT consultant.

The issue was raised by Kerry Independent TD Tom Fleming, who called on Health Minister James Reilly to appoint additional personnel to reduce the backlog.

The HSE’s Kerry area manager, Michael Fitzgerald, said there was a very significant volume of ENT referrals to the hospital on an ongoing basis and, for that reason, waiting times could be lengthy.

At present, 466 adults and 245 children were awaiting ENT outpatients appointments at the hospital, he pointed out.

Mr Fitzgerald said the hospital was currently undertaking a process whereby each patient waiting for an appointment was being validated and their GP was being written to.

In general, validation resulted in a reduced waiting lists, as some patients may no longer need treatment, or may have procedures undertaken elsewhere.

Mr Fitzgerald said the HSE was “keenly aware” of the urgency of the ENT situation.


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