par John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | July 28, 2020
Should a major failure of a high cost, critical piece of medical equipment occur outside of the annual approved equipment list, the hospital can provide a report of failure and the effects of the clinical services to secure emergency funding. The case will then be evaluated based on risk and availability of funding. In the event, the equipment does not perform within the required criteria, the issue is either fixed where possible, or the equipment is replaced.
"With regard to CT scanners and other radiology equipment in operation by the HSE, this equipment is maintained in accordance with the manufacturers instruction with preventative maintenance, scheduled as guided by the manufacturer," said HSE> "The quality of imaging produced by the scanning equipment including dose output is monitored by way of a Quality Assurance programme managed by each site's medical physics department."
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The biggest concern among critics like Cullinane is that the breakdown of outdated equipment will lead to delays and longer waiting lists. The European Health Consumer Index 2018 ranked Ireland as the country with the worst hospital waiting lists
in Europe and as lowest for value of money invested in the service. It also scored relatively poorly for quick access to cancer therapy following diagnosis.
The country, however, recently nationalized its private healthcare systems
in March in response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This move, according to CervicalCheck whistleblower and cancer screening campaigner Vicky Phelan, helped speed up her place on the waiting list for a CT scan.
“I was due a CT scan and expected to have to wait for weeks to get an appointment,” she told the Irish Mirror earlier this month. “I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to have one done on the same day as my treatment and to get the report back within a few days. I normally have to wait for weeks, and sometimes months in the public system,” she told the Irish Mirror earlier this month
, adding “The COVID crisis has shown us that when public and private hospitals come together with the sole aim of meeting patients’ needs, marvelous things can happen.”
The HSE plans to buy six more CT scanners this year. Cullinane, along with others in his party like public expenditure spokeswoman Maired Farrell, attribute the use of outdated machinery to improper funding for public services and are calling on the government to organize a plan to quickly phase out these past-end-of-life systems.