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Backlog at pain clinic in Galway means no treatment for patients

Hundreds of patients are living in agony every day as they wait years for an appointment at the Pain Clinic at University Hospital Galway.

One elderly woman in Galway, a cancer survivor, has been told it will be two years before she has access to pain relief and treatment at the clinic.

She suffers from chronic back pain, and chronic pain associated with Lymphodema, a swelling caused by cancer treatment. Another two years without access to the Pain Clinic was a bleak prospect.

“It is unreal; I could be dead by then,” she said.

This woman is one of 1,061 patients on UHG’s Pain Clinic Outpatient Waiting List.

The figures were supplied by the HSE to the Connacht Tribune following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

They show that the waiting list has been reduced in the past year, but there are still some 1,061 patients on the waiting list for a Pain Clinic appointment as of March 31, 2023.

Of these, only 40 have an appointment date. A further 894 on the list have no appointment date. Some 127 patients, including 105 waiting for over four years, are patients who have been outsourced to the private sector for treatment. Another 22 people waiting for over three years have also been outsourced for treatment.

Almost 40% of the patients on the list have been waiting for more than two years. Some 152 have been waiting for over two years; some 157 have been waiting for over three years; and some 113 have been waiting for over four years. Some 251 patients have been added to the list in the past three-nine months.

The waiting list as of March 2022 was 25% bigger than it was a year later. There were 1,419 waiting back then but the HSE has confirmed that it has since started outsourcing the work to private hospitals, “as part of ongoing initiatives to reduce waiting times for patients”.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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