PATIENTS at Tallaght Hospital are waiting up to five years for dermatology services and no new referrals are being taken due to a backlog of cases.
The information emerged from a parliamentary question last week when it was revealed that a severely mentally disabled child will have to wait five years for dermatology services at Tallaght Hospital.
Urgent cases cannot be fast-tracked, and patients can only be treated for skin conditions at the hospital if they present through A&E.
Labour spokeswoman for health Jan O’Sullivan said it was an incredible situation, “quite ridiculous”, and people should be able to get the treatment they need.
“It’s just an incredible situation that someone could be waiting five years for any service in this country,” she said.
“And I believe in this case it is a child with special needs who was waiting. When you think of all the money that was pooled away over 11 years, how could this happen?”
Ms O’Sullivan said that all specialist areas have waiting lists, but dermatology is particularly bad.
“New patients are being told there is no chance of being seen because of backlogs” she said.
Dermatology patients in Limerick and Drogheda are also waiting up to three years for initial referrals, and GPs in the north-east have resorted to referring patients to hospitals in the north.
At present there is one consultant dermatologist at Tallaght Hospital.
A spokeswoman for the hospital said referrals for consultations are received from south-west Dublin, Kildare, west Wicklow and the midlands.
“The number of new referrals received per week far exceeds our capacity to see these patients hence the waiting list accumulates and is effectively closed to new referrals,” she said.
“However, any GP who is concerned about a patient is advised to contact the consultant dermatologist to discuss the case.”
An application for an additional consultant dermatologist for the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Dublin, incorporating the National Children’s Hospital, is under consideration by the HSE.
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