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Waiting lists “far beyond” legal limits 


Health cuts are said to be having a disastrous effect on waiting lists in the Canary Islands. Latest statistics show patients are facing a lengthy delay for specialist appointments which are far above the permitted time-scale.

Appointments for “speciality care” take months to come through, with 180 days on average for psychiatry and 510 days for ophthalmology. For primary care, the waiting list is more than three months for a colonscopy and nine months in the case of ultrasound.

The situation for surgical waiting times is even worse. According to the College of Physicians, the average for cataract surgery is around 240 days and 250 days for a hip replacement. In some cases, waiting lists have even been closed.

Canary health law stet certain limits in 2006 to try and match supply and demand, giving for instance 90 days for hip replacement or cataract surgery.

The Medical Association claims that any patient asked to wait longer can demand answers or even go to a private clinic and reclaim the costs. Other priorities identified by the health laws for a maximum waiting period of 90 days include vasectomies, hysterectomies, benign skin tumours and ear-drum perforations. The association says the Canary Islands are exceeding the “red line” in many procedures.