I propose to take Questions Nos. 534 to 537, inclusive, and 539 together.
I acknowledge that waiting times are often unacceptably long and I am conscious of the burden that this places on patients and their families. However, the provision of a safe service for all of our patients is also paramount.
The HSE advise that the elective arthroplasty (joint replacement) service at University Hospital Kerry (UHK) was temporarily suspended in June following a spike in post-operative infections. During this time significant structural and process improvements/upgrades have been made including the physical relocation of the ward.
Patient pre-assessment restarted two weeks ago and elective arthroplasty surgery recommenced on the morning of the 5 November.
Prior to the suspension of the service there were 133 patients on the arthroplasty waiting list. No new patients were added to the list during the time of suspension of service, and as a consequence there were still 133 patients on the waiting list when the service was re-opened on the 5th of November. No public or private patients were seen during the time of suspension.
Management and the orthopaedic surgeons of UHK are confident that delayed patients will be seen quickly now that the service has re-started. UHK advise that with the re-organisation of theatre scheduling there may be additional capacity for elective arthroplasty operations going forward.