Thursday 22 February 2018

Scoliosis theatre 'to open in April and 194 spinal procedures to be carried out this year' - Heath Minister

Simon Harris: Aware crisis is taking place on his watch. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Simon Harris: Aware crisis is taking place on his watch. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A long-awaited theatre for treating children with scoliosis is to be open at Crumlin Children’s Hospital, Health Minister Simon Harris has said.

The minister has told the Dáil this evening that 194 spinal procedures will be carried out this year.

As the Government faced a major backlash over the scandal of hospital waiting lists, Mr Harris said he would be “unapologetically targeting” certain illnesses with the longest waiting lists like scoliosis and orthopaedics.

He said the documentary aired by RTÉ on waiting lists “really brought home was the genuine pain and suffering of patients who are waiting too long for treatment and the impact this has on their lives and indeed the lives of their families”.

Much of the focus has been on three young people featured in the programme who are suffering from scoliosis.

Mr Harris met with the CEO of Crumlin’s Children’s Hospital and the CEO of the Children’s Hospital Group today to discuss the situation.

“From April the new theatre that was built and put in place for the purpose of scoliosis will open. This will see 194 spinal procedures carried out in Crumlin, significantly more than last year,” he said.

"This will see significant reductions in waiting lists for scoliosis and waiting times for scoliosis.”

Mr Harris promised that by June an additional orthopaedic post will be filled in Crumlin.

“So we are responding to what we saw last night,” he said, adding that they would outsource some operations if necessary to ensure children are treated within the recommended timelines.

The minister said that by October nobody should be waiting for a hospital procedure longer than 15 months.

A review has also been ordered into hospital waiting lists after it was revealed that 49,000 patients were effectively hidden from the official figures.

Mr Harris said the same model has been in place for publishing figures since 2002.

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