It will take two years to clear surgery backlog caused by Covid-19 - research

The backlog of surgeries that were cancelled due to the pandemic will take two years to clear.

The University of Birmingham estimates the Irish backlog to be 16,000, which includes cancer operations.

Researchers estimate less than 180 surgeries will be cleared every week when the suspension is fully lifted.

Dr Martin Daly, a former president of the Irish Medical Organisation, says health officials must urgently address the issue.

"I think the focus now must move from us learning to live with the coronavirus to trying to live a normal life and trying to get back to looking after people's health conditions other than the coronavirus.

"There is no doubt there is increasing concern among the medical profession about the backlog of cases both in clinics and in deferred surgery."

Dr Daly said the imperative now must be to try and use the space in the private hospitals and any other extra capacity there is to start doing surgeries that have been pushed for the last month.

"It is absolutely vital that people who have other health conditions are looked after as well."