Irish patients with scoliosis may travel to Germany
Surgeons from Germany are to travel to Our Lady's Hospital in Crumlin this week to assess young patients who are desperately in need of surgery to correct their scoliosis.
The children with the severe spinal condition, who have been waiting two years for surgery in some cases, will be assessed to determine whether they are fit enough to travel to St Franziskus Hospital in Munster, Germany.
Nearly 300 children are on the waiting list for surgery - but a target to have no child waiting more than four months by the end of the year for surgery can be met only if a large number of patients travel to hospitals in London and Germany.
Children are being mostly operated on in Crumlin and Temple Street, with some at the Mater and Cappagh hospitals.
However, the need to travel abroad has distressed many parents who feel it is a form of "emotional blackmail".
Claire Cahill, of the advocacy group Scolionetwork, which represents families, said: "The HSE appears unable to manage this crisis - its only answer is to outsource our children across Europe."