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Suspension of arthroplasty sees numbers on patient waiting list treble at University Hospital Kerry

The suspension of elective arthroplasty procedures has led to a trebling in the number of patients awaiting orthopaedic services at the hospital, according to National Treatment Purchase Fund data.

In January, just 44 patients were awaiting orthopaedic care at the hospital. In September, the figure had jumped to 154.

A spokesperson for the South/South West Hospital Group (SSWHG) on 16 October confirmed the suspension of services, but said procedures would re-commence in “mid-October”.

The Medical Independent (MI) understands, however, that services have yet to re-start.

The hospital is suffering from significant consultant under-staffing, with eight consultant positions filled on a locum basis and one vacant consultant position.

It currently has a cardiologist complement of just 0.5 whole-time equivalent (WTE) after a consultant cardiologist left the hospital to pursue full-time private practice after being “messed around” by management, a source told this newspaper.

It is also seeking to employ a new Clinical Director after the former director, Dr Claire O’Brien, stepped down from her post earlier this year.

A spokesperson for the SSWHG said: “University Hospital Kerry can confirm that elective arthroplasty procedures were suspended in June to allow for a review of the infection control protocol.

“During this time, significant structural and process improvements/upgrades have been made, including the physical relocation of the ward.”

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