Oncology patients still wait too long, even after head resigns

The reason for the long-term lack of beds and postponed surgeries is mostly missing medical staff.

The National Oncology Institute, stock photo.The National Oncology Institute, stock photo. (Source: TASR)

Patients in the National Oncology Institute (NOÚ) in Bratislava still wait longer for surgeries, the Sme daily writes on April 18. The facility, unique in Slovakia, allegedly lacks medical staff, especially nurses.

Not even the resignation of the Institute’s head, MP for the ruling Smer party, Jozef Valocký, has improved the situation. Valocký leaves NOÚ as of April 30, and he announced it at the beginning of the month.

What is behind the situation?

The worst-hit wards are anaesthesiology and intensive medicine, which needed space for seven patients on April 16 but only had a bed for one. A doctor who wished to remain anonymous told Sme that one of the patients came to him crying, saying that she can already feel the tumour – after weeks of her surgery being postponed. However, the acute and intensive medicine ward has no free bed: instead of the seven needed beds, it just has a single spot for an oncology patient. The doctor opined that the biggest reason behind this lamentable situation is the lack of staff, especially nurses. Last year alone, 15 doctors and 25 nurses left the Institute, according to the doctor. Unlike doctors, the nurses have not been replaced.

Thus, the waiting periods were extended from four (or six, at the most) to seven weeks.

After Sme sent questions to the NOÚ, the management started investigating who among employees leaked the problem to media, instead of trying to solve the dire situation.

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