Crumlin children’s hospital defends decision to continue some virtual consultations

Children's Health Ireland (CHI) at Crumlin is continuing some virtual and telephone appointments. Photo: Getty

Eilish O'Regan

Crumlin children’s hospital in Dublin is continuing to offer some virtual rather than face-to-face clinics despite the diminished threat from Covid-19, it was confirmed yesterday.

A number of parents have questioned why the virtual consultations are being offered.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said Crumlin offers virtual or telephone appointments to suitable patients in line with best practice, which enables patients and their parents throughout the country to have a clinical consultation without the need to travel to the hospital.

“This is particularly beneficial for some children with special needs, where sometimes the travel to a hospital can be stressful and offering a virtual and/or telephone appointment where suitable can reduce this stress,” the spokeswoman said.

“Virtual clinics were in place in Crumlin pre-Covid-19. They were expanded during Covid-19 and were hugely beneficial in seeing patients.

“These virtual clinics continue to operate in line with best practice for suitable patients.

“If a parent feels a virtual or telephone appointment – or any appointment – is not suitable for their child, they are welcome to contact the hospital to request a face-to-face consultation and this will be assessed.”

Meanwhile, in the week March 19 to 25, there were 1,286 PCR-confirmed cases of Covid-19, an increase of 69.2pc over the previous week.

The highest numbers were in the 35 to 44 age group. PCR testing has been greatly reduced since last Thursday, with the closure of community testing centres. There were also 2,760 positive antigen tests reported – up 48.1pc.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) said the widespread access to testing in the community, and the ability to self-refer, was unique to Covid-19 and the pandemic response.

As the Covid-19 community testing centres close, testing will from now on be more in line with other respiratory viruses such as flu and RSV.