Galway’s public patients face two year wait for MRI scan

Public patients are waiting an average of almost two years for an MRI scan in Galway – with more than 2,400 people on the list.

And the shocking figures show that “urgent” cases – including those where there is a suspicion of cancer – have to wait nearly three months for a scan.

The most up-to-date figures available show there were 93 ‘Priority 1’ (urgent) patients waiting 84 days for an MRI.

Waiting times for CT scans are even longer – at the moment 163 urgent cases are waiting nearly four months.

The Saolta University Health Care Group – which operates University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park – said a second MRI scanner and a second CT scanner are needed here.

However, management confirmed that Galway is currently operating with 17 fewer radiographers than are required.

There are 14 vacant radiographer posts at UHG and Merlin, as well as three on long-term sick leave or maternity leave.

There was further bad news for patients here this week when it was revealed that 40% of all patients in Ireland – who are waiting more than 18 months for inpatients or day-case operations – are on waiting lists in Galway public hospitals.

The figures show that of 2,937 patients all over the country who have been on the waiting list for day-case or inpatient operations for a year-and-a-half or more, 1,189 of them are on the Galway waiting list.

The waiting times have been branded “scandalous” by Galway West Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív, who said a second MRI scanner is desperately needed here.

However, he said he has been pursuing Health Minister Simon Harris on the matter for almost a year, and no progress has been made.

In fact, waiting times for urgent MRIs have increased since the middle of last year, at which point there were 60 people waiting 56 days.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.