#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 17°C Saturday 31 July 2021

"Waiting times are not acceptable": Minister insists every effort being made to help children with scoliosis

Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher urged action on the issue, saying this situation “cannot continue”

The worsening curve in the back of Tommy Long, from Kilkenny, currently awaiting an appointment to reinsert a rod in his back.
The worsening curve in the back of Tommy Long, from Kilkenny, currently awaiting an appointment to reinsert a rod in his back.
Image: Michelle Long

A GOVERNMENT MINISTER has said that the long waiting times for children to access vital scoliosis surgery is “not acceptable”.

Speaking in the Dáil, Minister for Health Promotion Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy said that while “every effort is being made to ensure patients get their surgery”, the issue of staff recruitment, particularly nursing, posed a major challenge.

Fianna Fáil TD Billy Kelleher raised the issue, highlighting the plight of children who are forced to wait up to a year and a half for essential surgery for the degenerative spinal disease.

“This cannot be allowed to continue,” Kelleher said.

In response, Corcoran-Kennedy reiterated the funding commitments of almost €1 million this year to address the orthopaedic service needs at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.

She also pointed to the HSE’s Winter Initiative Plan, which will see €2 million spent on providing surgery to treat 39 adolescent patients on the Tallaght waiting list and an additional 15 paediatric patients by the end of this year.

While a new orthopaedic theatre in Crumlin was completed in June 2015, the opening has been delayed on several occasions.

“This new facility will provide for additional scoliosis activity in 2017,” she said. “But this is dependent on the recruitment of additional nurses.”

Every effort was being made to hire the required number of nurses, with Corcoran-Kennedy saying that “every recruitment route is being exhausted”, including hiring from abroad.

Kelleher criticised the recruitment process as “very slow” and said the issue needed to be “revisited urgently.”

Parents and advocacy groups have also urged the Government to take action on the issue.

Read: ‘They spend their childhoods on waiting lists’: The painful reality for children with scoliosis >

Read: ‘I fear it’s going to take a child to die before they act’ >

About the author:

Sean Murray

Read next: