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Specialist waiting list year longer since virus arrived

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Waiting: Aisling McNiffe with her disabled son Jack

Waiting: Aisling McNiffe with her disabled son Jack

Waiting: Aisling McNiffe with her disabled son Jack

Kildare mum Aisling McNiffe  has warned that the waiting list to see a paediatric rheumatologist  has risen from three to four years since Covid-19 arrived in Ireland.

Ms McNiffe, of Ardclough, Straffan, said her son Jack (15), who has Down syndrome, is waiting for an MRI scan.

She said: ”The waiting list in Ireland to see a paediatric rheumatologist is four long years. It was three years pre-Covid-19.

“We have only two of these specialists serving the entire country. We should have at least six in a country this size.

“A private appointment is a wait of up to two years. This is particularly detrimental to children with Down Syndrome.”

Ms McNiffe said Jack suffers from a rare auto-inflammatory disease and chronic arthritis.

“He is under the care of paediatric rheumatology in Crumlin Children’s Hospital since he was one year of age,” she said.

“He is under 13 medical teams in total as he has complex medical issues sometimes more depending what’s going on at the time. He requires 24-hour care.

“He is a wheelchair user, he is tube fed around the clock and he is non-verbal. He has a severe intellectual disability.

"He has a heart condition which requires further open heart surgery, he has chronic lung disease which means he has frequent chest infections.

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"Despite all that he is a happy chap,” she said.

Ms McNiffe said they were waiting for a MRI scan to see how the latest biologic drug for Jack was working. “That was due in November just gone, hopefully he will be having it in early 2021.”

Children’s Hospital Ireland, in a recent response to James Lawless TD, said there was an active recruitment campaign for an additional rheumatology consultant.


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