Arthritis patients in County Mayo have already begun to hit the campaign trail to ensure that rheumatology services are a healthcare priority in General Election 2016. In particular the Mayo branch of Arthritis Ireland is calling for a consultant rheumatologist to be located in Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar.
According to reports in The Mayo News and The Western People on December 8th, 2015, patients in An Taoiseach’s home county have to travel every six weeks to either Merlin Park Hospital in Galway or Our Lady’s Hospital in Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim. Depending on their condition, some may have to make these long two to three hour journeys, and back home again, up to 20 times a year.
“That is a day gone and a lot of discomfort for the patient,” a spokesperson for the Mayo branch told The Mayo News. “It is the same journey from Dublin to Galway. Would someone from Dublin be happy to travel to Galway for treatment?”
The Mayo branch also pointed out that patients are currently waiting too long to be diagnosed with the result that conditions worsen by the time they are eventually seen. Early intervention, they said, would allow patients to be given treatment early, which would allow them to live a normal life. At the moment, many are left in chronic pain.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny recently opened the Rheumatology Research Centre in UCD where a number of key issues were raised with him by John Church, CEO of Arthritis Ireland.