The delays in the provision of temporary operating facilities at Merlin Park Hospital are totally unacceptable and there are hundreds of operations being cancelled every month that there are no facilities there. This is a disgraceful situation and we need the temporary facilities to be fast tracked and put into use immediately.
When the operating threatres at Merlin Park were closed down because a leaking roof ten weeks ago we were assured that temporary operating facilities would be available from the first week in January at the latest. However now it is clear to everyone involved that there is no chance of that happening and in the meantime hundreds of people are being affected. In the ten week period since the closure of the theatres over 500 operations have been cancelled and by Christmas that figure will be 800. These are people who are in pain and who are in need of immediate surgery. Now, in addition to the pain they are going through, they have the additional stress of not knowing when their operation will take place.
We were assured at a meeting that we held with the HSE, the consultants, and the Minister, that the temporary facilities would be fast tracked but in typical HSE fashion it is dragging out again. The promises given on the day by the HSE have been broken. The Minister Simon Harris needs to step in here because there are a lot of people suffering as a result of this situation. We need operating threatres in operation in Merlin Park as soon as possible. We must ensure that the National Treatment Purchase Fund is used to alleviate the suffering of as many people on the lists at Merlin Park as is possible so their operations can be carried out in private hospitals or in Northern Ireland or the UK if that’s whats required.