Cork and Kerry are the only areas in the HSE South region with a waiting list for the fitting of artificial limbs.
The delays, confined only to the two counties, are being blamed on a limited budget.
There are 120 patients waiting for prosthetics in the South-West, with one person on the list since Nov 17.
The HSE South region also encompasses Carlow, Kilkenny, south Tipperary, Waterford, and Wexford.
However, there are no long delays in the other counties. It costs between €4,000 and €6,000 to fit an artificial limb so it would cost a maximum of €720,000 to deal with all the patients on the waiting list.
The HSE has promised to investigate the delays after it became apparent many patients were waiting more that the optimum six weeks for first-time fittings.
Cllr Catherine Clancy (Labour) highlighted the issue at a HSE meeting in Cork, saying she could not understand why a normally excellent service had deteriorated so seriously in recent times.
HSE officials have admitted there are no delays being experienced by amputees in Carlow, Kilkenny, and south Tipperary.
They said there are also no delays in Waterford and Wexford, where about 60 patients are fitted with prosthetics every year.
“There are no waiting lists in other counties within the HSE South area but yet there are 120 people waiting in Cork and Kerry which I can’t understand,” said Ms Clancy.
She said it was also unacceptable that a number of people in the two counties were waiting more than the optimum six weeks to have limbs fitted.
“There is a quality of life issue for people who need prosthetics fitted and it’s also a quality of life issue for members of their families. These people want to be able to walk to get back to work and these delays are unacceptable.”
A HSE report stated that there is a limited budget for the supply of prosthetics.
It said that “as demands on the service increase and new products come on stream, there has been increasing pressure on the budget and this regrettably resulted in longer waiting times for sanctioning of products and supplies”.
A national clinical programme has been established to look specifically at prosthetics and the HSE says as a result of that it hopes to have new arrangements in place for amputees in the early summer.
Ms Clancy said she had received assurances from HSE chiefs that they would address the delays in Cork and Kerry.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved