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More staff and more capacity to reduce waiting times for children with scoliosis

The Children’s Hospital Group says the progress made for these children needs to be continued.

Waiting times have reduced in the past year at Our Lady's.
Waiting times have reduced in the past year at Our Lady's.
Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL Group (CHG) has published a ten-point plan this evening it says will help to cut waiting times for children with scoliosis for this year and next.

The issue around waiting lists for children with the condition came to prominence in recent years, with capacity issues at Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin meaning many were left many months for necessary surgery.

The action plan was devised alongside parents of children with scoliosis, the Children’s Hospital Group said.

CHG said that since measures began in May 2017 and a significant investment to develop services for paediatric orthopaedics in the 2018 HSE Service Plan, the number of children on waiting lists has already reduced.

The number of patients waiting more than four months for spinal fusion procedures decreased from 37 on 1 June 2017 to 20 on the same date this year.

It projects that 447 surgical procedures will take place this year, up from 371 in 2017.

In the past year, the number of children on waiting lists has decreased by 33% and elements of the plan aim to reduce that further, the group said.

The plan includes the appointment of 20 new staff members to posts across multiple disciplines to support paediatric orthopaedic services.

Two general paediatric orthopaedic surgeons will also be recruited by the end of the year to allow spinal surgeons to focus on scoliosis cases.

Additional MRI capacity is also planned for Our Lady’s in Crumlin to speed up the pre-operation decision-making and reduce waiting times for access to surgery.

The group – which is behind the new children’s hospital being built on the grounds of St James’s Hospital in Dublin – added that the improvements made and planned in future has reduced the need to send children abroad for essential treatment this year.

CHG chief executive Eilísh Hardiman said: “With investment received in 2018 for additional resources and the prioritised actions from the work of the Scoliosis Co-Design Group, our aim is to develop a long-term, integrated, equitable and sustainable paediatric orthopaedic service across the group that our children and young people and their families deserve.”

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Sean Murray

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