Time For Change

susie-long3

I’m sure most people reading this will remember the tragic case of Susie Long from Kilkenny, who died from bowel cancer last year. Susie made headlines when she went public to highlight how she had to wait seven months for a test to her diagnose her illness because she was a public patient. Susie was 41 when she died and her death was directly attributable to a long delay on a waiting list. Shortly afterwards, our Minister for Health admitted that the health service had failed Susie. So why, a year after Susie’s death, do new figures show that patients still have to wait up to nine months for crucial tests to determine if they have bowel cancer?

“The figures released by the Irish Cancer Society (ICS) yesterday indicate patients can be waiting up to nine months for colonoscopies at Dublin’s Mater hospital, up to eight months at Cork University Hospital, and up to seven months at Sligo and Letterkenny general hospitals.

The data is based on returns provided by the hospitals to the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF), which now manages waiting lists.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer in Ireland after lung cancer. There were 2,184 new cases diagnosed and 924 deaths from the disease in 2005.

The Irish Cancer Society expressed serious concern at the waiting times. It said patients should have a colonoscopy within six weeks of being referred by their GP.

The full Irish Times article can be found here.

Susie Long did her utmost to bring about change.  She bravely used her own personal tragedy to highlight the inequities in the system and her courage was not in vain. A trust fund, called the Susie Long Hospice Fund, has been set up to raise funds to build a hospice in Kilkenny. The trust aims to help as many people as possible to have a calm, peaceful and supportive environment at the end of their lives.  Here’s how you can help.

These latest figures on the waiting lists for colonoscopies, show that little has changed since Susie’s death. People’s lives are still being put at risk by long delays in treatment. Our health service is in disarray and we need agreement on a plan to put it right. It’s time we had a proper debate on the way forward.

3 Responses to Time For Change

  1. Baino says:

    Steph I don’t know what to say. Things are definitely not like that here. I had dinner with Jem, Clare’s travelling companion the other day. She’s an Occupational Therapist working for the government and whilst it’s not cancer, her public patients receive fully funded, good quality support whether it’s modified showers, wheelchairs or in one case yesterday, hospitalisation for pressure sores. I wish a lone Aussie voice in the wilderness could contribute to your cause frankly.

  2. Steph says:

    Baino – thanks!

    You have contributed to the cause as you’ve given me the push I needed to write a follow-up to this post.

    btw You may well have an enthusiastic Irish OT coming to join the Aussie health service in 4 year’s time!

  3. […] scandal of unacceptable waiting times in our health service, pointing out that it’s ‘Time for Change’.  The response was a deafening silence bar one comment from an ardent Aussie blogger, Baino, who […]

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