THIS man, who suffers from debilitating bouts of migraine headaches, will have to wait 18 months for treatment at Beaumont Hospital.
Joe Hedderman, from Ballymun, couldn’t believe his eyes when he received an appointment for the end of November 2013.
The 35-year-old has suffered from severe migraines for more than a year and was referred to the Migraine Clinic in Beaumont Hospital by his doctor.
He recently received his hospital appointment, which has left him speechless.
“I thought it was a misprint and it should have been November 2012, not 2013,” he told Northside People.
“I even called the hospital to double check and was absolutely gobsmacked when they confirmed it was November of next year. It’s an absolute joke.”
Mr Hedderman is worried that the migraines could be a sign of something more serious.
“I’m 35–years-old and suddenly I’ve just started to suffer from migraines having never had one before last year,” he stated.
“I’m worried that it could be something else. I just want answers and help but I’ll have to wait almost a year and a half for that.”
Mr Hedderman’s quality of life has suffered dramatically since he began to experience the migraines, which he now gets several times a week.
“They can last anything from an hour to a whole day,” he explained.
At their worst, he cannot see or tolerate any direct sunlight.
“Sometimes I get them when I’m out and about,” he added. “There’s nothing I can do apart from try to get back to the car and sit there until it passes. Other times I basically have to go to bed for the rest of the day.”
Local Sinn Fein representative Noeleen Reilly described the length of the waiting time for treatment at Beaumont Hospital as “astonishing”.
“Stories like this show that further cuts to health services must be stopped or else patient care will face an even deeper crisis,” she stated.
“Hospitals on the Northside of the city have faced serious cuts under this Fine Gael/Labour Government.
“Funding for the Mater Hospital was cut by eight per cent for 2012 while funding for Beaumont Hospital has been slashed by nine per cent.
“These cuts are having a tremendous impact on patients at a time when an increasing number of people are using the health services.
“The Government’s austerity agenda is not working and it is damaging our health services.”
She added: “The direct result of these cuts is ordinary citizens waiting longer for necessary treatment.”
A spokesperson for Beaumont Hospital said the task of reducing waiting times was “a big challenge in the context of limited financial resources and increasing demands on services generally”.
“We have recently initiated a major project to improve appointment times with the support of the Department of Health’s SDU (Special Delivery Unit) which we expect will improve results for patients,” the spokesperson told Northside People.
“In the meantime it is important that patients are assured that every case is thoroughly assessed by the consultant team and priority in appointments is given to urgent cases."