There were 17% fewer emergency surgeries and 30% fewer elective surgeries performed during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report published by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) National Clinical Programme in Surgery (NCPS). The report outlines the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has had on surgical activity in Ireland in 2020 and 2021.
The most significant reduction in surgical discharges occurred in April and May 2020, dropping to 34.7% of 2019 average monthly volumes.
The report, which examines the impact of COVID-19 on surgical activity in Ireland, also details the impact of the pandemic on waiting lists, showing a 153% increase from April 2020 to April 2021 in the number of surgical patients waiting longer than 12 months for their procedures. The total surgical outpatient waiting list increased by 15%.
General surgery is the specialty that accounts for the highest number of patients on waiting lists (31,517 patients), followed by orthopaedics (10,393) and urology (9,797). As of April 2021, 27.1% of 76,949 cases on the waiting list for inpatient care, day cases and endoscopies were deemed urgent.
Patient access to urgent ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgery was significantly curtailed, resulting in over 100,000 patients now waiting for their first specialist appointment.