Just four new nurses for Crumlin as sick children wait for ops
Just four additional nurses have been recruited to Our Lady's Hospital in Crumlin - as dozens of children in need of spinal surgery wait for operations.
These nurses are due to take up duty in April.
However, even if the nurses are deployed to the hospital's state-of-the-art operating theatre - which has not been able to function properly for nearly a year due to lack of staff - it will still be idle for some days of the week.
There will still not be enough staff to utilise the facility and make significant inroads into the waiting list of children who suffer scoliosis.
It will be months yet before another 16 nurses, recruited in an international recruitment campaign, take up duty in the hospital.
The plight of children and adolescents suffering from scoliosis and forced to endure delays of more than 18 months was depicted on the RTÉ Investigates: Living on the List programme.
It emerged that an ultra- modern theatre was only used for one to two surgeries a week due to the lack of nurses.
Crumlin orthopaedic surgeon Pat Kiely has revealed how the theatre was unused for much of the week.
The four additional nurses could result in the theatre being used for three to four days, as opposed to two days.
This would allow more children to undergo operations and medical procedures.
Health Minister Simon Harris, who is under pressure to tackle the waiting list crisis, said he wants 194 scoliosis patients operated on this year and the waiting time brought down to four months.
A spokeswoman for the hospital was unavailable yesterday to clarify why parents had been told by the HSE as late as Monday that no improvement would be possible until July.
The Department of Health said the minister had requested an action plan from the HSE and the hospital to address the waiting lists for children with scoliosis.
It said: "The new theatre at Crumlin has been in use since November 2016 to train staff in the new equipment. An action plan for scoliosis is also being drawn up."
The Scoliosis Advocacy Network, representing families of children with the condition, have welcomed the announcement, but they are remaining cautious about the promise until improvement is shown.