Hospital Bed Lottery In The West

I raised in the Seanad today the case of a Mayo woman who was recently diagnosed with lymphoma and could not get a bed to receive her vital treatment.

This young woman who is just 30 years of age and living in North Mayo, started her treatment plan and had her first session of chemotherapy three weeks ago. Her chemotherapy sessions were planned for 21-day cycles. She was told to ring between noon and 1 p.m. on Monday, which she did, only to be told a bed was not available. She was told to telephone again on Tuesday, which she did, but again she was told a bed was not available. The nurse then indicated that it would be better to be honest and told her she was 16th on a list and that even when her name was reached, she was not guaranteed a bed.

For as long as I have been a public representative, I have been dealing with people such as Mary who have their treatment delayed. Cancer patients such as Mary are all too often left sitting at home anxiously waiting each day to see if they have won the bed lottery or not.

The simple fact is that even though we have some of the best consultants in the world backed up by fantastic nursing teams many cancer patients are dying prematurely or suffering unnecessarily because successive governments have turned their backs on the healthcare of people of the West. This must stop and it must stop now. The beds that were closed throughout the system must be opened.