Sligo University Hospital has more than 2,000 patients waiting over 12 months for surgical procedures.
Only 11 staff assigned to administer the Cross Border Directive scheme under which procedures could be carried out speedily.
Sligo News File
Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Eamon Scanlon has called on the government to increase staff numbers in the Cross Border Directive Office. He raised the issue with the Taoiseach in the Dáil yesterday.
Deputy Scanlon explained, “The Cross Border Directive is an extremely popular scheme which provides patients who are on a public waiting list for a procedure with the option of having their surgery in a hospital in the North or abroad, once it is not more expensive that the same treatment here.
“Waiting lists for outpatient procedures for Sligo University Hospital are at record levels, with 2,145 people waiting more than 12 months for an outpatient appointment. The Cross Border Directive gives these patients the option of heading North or abroad to have their procedure carried out much sooner.
“Many people who contact my office about this scheme end up taking a place on it – in fact the workload volume has increased by 1200% in the last two years. However, staff levels have remained the same, with only 11 people processing applications for the whole country. This was discussed with HSE national management two weeks ago and we are now waiting for approval.
“I raised this issue with the Taoiseach on Tuesday and emphasised the importance of allocating additional staff to ensure that this scheme remains as efficient as it has been over the past four years.I will be continuing to raise this issue with the Health Minister until additional staff are approved and recruited.”
In March 2011, the European Directive on the application of patients’ rights, commonly referred to as the Cross Border Directive, was adopted by the European Parliament. The Directive clarifies the rights of EU citizens to seek healthcare in other EU member states and the framework for such access.