A new clinic has been introduced at Galway University Hospital in an effort to battle lengthy waiting lists for orthopaedic treatment.
The new Musculoskeletal Clinic will assist with the management of orthopaedic waiting lists as part of a national initiative to improve the waiting time for this speciality.
The new clinic is being run by two clinical specialist physiotherapists at the Merlin Park University Hospital site five days a week and is seeing 50 new patients per week.
The patients attending the new clinic are assessed by the physiotherapists, given a management plan, start treatment or, if necessary, referred to other services such as occupational therapy, podiatry or pain management.
Similarly, if the patients require orthopaedic services, the relevant tests are carried out and the patients are put in contact with the most appropriate consultant speciality within orthopaedics.
The new clinic started at the beginning of July and along with other initiatives aimed at reducing the notorious outpatient waiting lists and significant improvements have already been seen. The orthopaedic waiting list has reduced by 55 weeks since the Clinic started and so far 239 patients have been seen.
“We have reduced our inpatient waiting list from 9,901 in January to 1,513 as of 16 August – these are patients who would have breached the national target of being treated within 9 months if not seen by the end of September and we are on track to meet this target,” said Tony Canavan, Chief Operating Officer, Galway and Roscommon University Hospital Group.
“We have to address the waiting lists for outpatient appointments in a similar way. The Department of Health’s Special Delivery Unit launched a national initiative in March to deal with outpatient waiting lists. The SDU have not yet set the targets for waiting for OPD appointment. However, in preparation we have already started working on action plans to reduce the waiting time using the resources of all the hospitals in the Group. The new Musculoskeletal Clinic is a good example of where we are making progress already.”