New figures released by the Health Service Executive reveal the shocking surgery waiting times faced by patients here in Louth.
The figures were released to Cllr Tomás Sharkey following submission of a query on the matter to the Regional Health Forum.
Cllr Sharkey requested the average waiting time for day care patients at both Our Lady of Lourdes and Louth County Hospital.
The average wait for general surgery at the Lourdes is 8-12 months. That figure for gynaecology is 0-5 months, while for ear, nose and throat it's 12-15 months.
For urology the waiting time is 10-15 months.
At Louth County hospital the waiting times are as follows: general surgery - 3 to 6 months; gynaecology - 3 to 6 months; opthalmology - 6 to 8 months; ear, nose and throat - 0-3 m0nths; urology - 6 to 8 months.
Meanwhile for paediatrics at the Lourdes the times were as follows: general surgery - 8 to 12 months; and ear, nose and throat - 3 to 6 months.
Speaking to the Democrat, Cllr Sharkey said: “I am greatly concerned at the wait times for surgery in Louth County and Our Lady of Lourdes hospitals in Louth. They indicate that patients, after being referred by a GP and then assessed in an appointment at the hospitals and then face a long wait for the actual surgery to be carried out.
"In 2015 19,408 elective surgeries were carried out between the two hospitals and 10,534 were at Louth County Hospital in Dundalk.
This is in spite of regular cancellations of surgery due to unavailable beds and overcrowding.
"I meet sick people on a regular basis who are anxious about the long wait they have for their operations.
“After assessment, patients can wait 12 months for general surgery in Drogheda and nearly 15 months for ear nose throat or urology operations in that same hospital.
“It is extremely worrying that children also face long waits of a year for general and six months for ear nose throat operations.
“Paediatric operations are not carried out in Dundalk.
“Louth County Hospital in Dundalk, a hospital with no A&E or ICU since 2010, carries out more operations than the Lourdes and patients have a shorter wait time.
"Sick patients waiting for operations will inevitably get sicker and present themselves at A&E in Drogheda with acute needs.
“It is a false economy to leave patients on waiting lists. I am calling on any incoming government to make it a priority of the HSE to clear the waiting lists in our hospitals and ensure that all patients receive the care they need promptly.”