Friday 21 September 2018

Ten-point plan to tackle scoliosis waiting lists will see 20 more staff hired

Darragh Cahill, from Kilkenny, with his mother Claire Cahill. Photo: Maxwell Photography
Darragh Cahill, from Kilkenny, with his mother Claire Cahill. Photo: Maxwell Photography

Eilish O’Regan

A new ten-point plan to tackle the ongoing waiting lists endured by children with scoliosis will see the hiring of twenty extra staff.

The plan unveiled this evening aims to further reduce the delays faced by children with the severe spinal condition.

The plan from the Children’s Hospital Group, drawn up with parents, will use the €9.3m additional funding allocation in 2018.

A total of 447 surgeries will be carried out this year compared to 371 in 2017.

The waiting lists have been reducing but 206 children are still on the list, of these 76 are on an 'active' list and 28 of these are waiting over four months.

The delays for an outpatient appointment are also still long but the waiting list has reduced from 369 to 272 between May and June

Key elements of the plan include the appointment of 20 more staff in various posts.

This is aimed at improving the children’s access to both assessment and treatment.

The plan is to recruit two general paediatric surgeons to allow two spinal surgeons to concentrate solely on operations for children with scoliosis at the end of the year.

The plan also promises that there will be more access to MRI scans for children in Our Lady’s Hospital Crumlin.

Commenting on the plan, Claire Cahill of ScolioNetwork representing families, said she was hopeful it will tackle the outstanding issues including outpatient waiting times.

But she stressed that the key is “delivery and implementation” of the plan.

It is understood parents got an informal commitment to bring down the wait for a specialist outpatient appointment in Crumlin from up to two to three years to six months by September.

They have made it clear they will be holding the hospital to account to deliver on this .

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