South Tipperary General Hospital has informed GPs around the county that patients will have to wait two months for a routine X-ray due to staff shortages.
South Tipperary Co. Council Chairman Cllr Sean McCarthy, who is a GP in Cashel, has condemned the waiting period as “absolutely scandalous” and says doctors are “up in arms” over the situation..
The letter from hospital management at STGH also informed family doctors that the wait for an ultrasound at the hospital will be eight months while the wait for a routine appointment for a DEXA, which measures bone mineral density, will be 10 months.
GPs were told that the increased delays were due to staff shortages and the ongoing moratorium on recruiting staff.
Dr McCarthy said when he referred one of his patients for a chest x-ray he wanted it carried out as soon as possible as they may be suffering from cancer or TB. He pointed out that a fine tumour would develop in a patient who had to wait eight months for an ultrasound.
“We are living in the era of preventative medicine where there is early diagnosis and treatment. This totally denies that to patients in every sense of the world,” he complained.
Dr McCarthy said he raised the matter with the HSE manager for South Tipperary, who had given a commitment to resolve the problem.
He expressed concern that the long delays for such diagnostic treatments were a “blatant attempt” to run down services at South Tipperary General Hospital.