MRH Mullingar.

Mullingar hospital appointment cancellations doubled in 2023

Hospital appointment cancellations doubled at Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar last year.

That's according to new figures obtained by Deputy Sorca Clarke, which revealed that there were 4,291 hospital appointments cancelled in the first nine months of 2023 at MRH Mullingar, an increase of 98 per cent over the same period the year before when the figure was 2,169.

The rate of cancellations in Mullingar is over double the national average of 48 per cent. Overall, there were nearly 200,000 cancellations across the country in the first three quarters of 2023 compared to 132,000 in the same period in 2022, an increase of 64,000.

In a statement released to the Westmeath Examiner, Deputy Clarke expressed concern at the spike in cancellations and said that the government’s “lack of a plan for overcrowding was impacting directly on waiting lists through cancellations” and was “shifting the problem from emergency departments to waiting lists, leaving patients waiting longer for access to care”.

“The government is failing to tackle hospital overcrowding which is leading to record levels of cancellations.

“The government does not have a plan for hospital overcrowding, and this is forcing hospitals to rely on cancellations. This is shifting the problem from overcrowded emergency departments onto lengthy waiting lists. It is not a sustainable solution.

“Sinn Féin would invest in the necessary bed capacity so that patients can be admitted quickly, and our healthcare professionals are working in safe environments. We need at least 2,400 hospital beds over the next five years.

“Sinn Féin would fast-track elective centres so that we can separate unscheduled, emergency care from scheduled surgeries and procedures. This will increase surgical theatre capacity, help to reduce the number of cancellations, and free up capacity in hospitals for emergency care.

“We would also invest in home support, community step-down beds, and diagnostic capacity so that patients can be discharged home or to a supported care setting when they are ready, and to ensure that patients’ experiences are not delayed by lengthy waiting lists for scans.

“We will never solve waiting lists without solving hospital overcrowding and reducing cancellations. This government has no plan to do that, and the longer it remains in office the worse the problems get.”