Northern Ireland

Leading surgeon calls for staff to get 'back to the operating table' to tackle waiting list crisis

Many planned surgeries were cancelled during the pandemic
Many planned surgeries were cancelled during the pandemic

HEATHCARE services must be reformed in Northern Ireland to tackle the "ever-growing backlog" of operations, a leading surgeon has warned.

Mark Taylor was speaking ahead of a visit by the president of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) of England, Professor Neil Mortensen, to hospitals which tried to find new ways of working during the pandemic.

Last month, a young orthopaedic surgeon in the north warned the lack of training opportunities during Covid - when so many operations were cancelled - could leave graduates "poorly prepared".

Mr Taylor, who is based at the Mater Hospital in Belfast and is the Northern Ireland Director at the RCS, has repeatedly called for more planned surgery to take place in 'Covid-light surgical hubs'.

"Services must be shaped to support the ever-growing backlog of surgery. We need to build up the resilience of the workforce in order to meet patients’ demands in the short and long term," he said.

"We are delighted to welcome Professor Mortensen to Northern Ireland. We look forward to introducing him to our dedicated healthcare teams and showing him how we have delivered patient care in the most difficult circumstances."

Prof Mortensen added: "From a surgical point of view, we want to support surgeons and members of the wider surgical team, to do what they do best – get back to the operating table and get more people off the waiting lists for good."