Updated: 17/01/17 : 05:33:02
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Sligo patients faced record number of procedure cancellations

More than 37,000 operations or hospital procedures were cancelled last year, new figures show.

This is almost 13,000 higher than the figure recorded in 2015, the figures supplied by the HSE to Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher show.

The Irish Times reports that the worse affected hospital was University Hospital Galway, where more than 5,000 procedures were cancelled in 2016. Mayo University Hospital saw 2,249 operations cancelled.

Sligo University Hospital recorded 1,654 cancellations.

Limerick, South Tipperary, Waterford and the Midland Regional in Tullamore all saw more than 1,000 operations cancelled.

As the number of cancelled operations increased, so too did the waiting list for inpatient/day case procedures - up from 44,000 in 2013 to 81,000 at the end of last year.

The cancellation of scheduled procedures in hospitals is usually the result of pressure caused by a rise in unscheduled demand, notably overcrowding in emergency departments.

Mr Kelleher expressed concern about the impact the current trolley crisis will have on planned procedures in hospitals over the coming weeks saying it is “simply not acceptable that tens of thousands of medical procedures are being cancelled every year.

“This only serves to push the problem further down the road and has the potential to lead to complications for patients who have had their procedures delayed.

“The 2017 HSE service plan provides just €9 million in new funds for our acute hospitals. As 2017 begins with record trolley figures, the signals for our hospitals for the year ahead do not bode well and I have serious concerns about their ability to provide the care and services that are needed,” Mr Kelleher said.