Wednesday 23 October 2019

500 children wait on medical equipment

Figures show 243 Cork and Kerry children have waited over six months for medical appliances; three have waited over a year for a wheelchair

Tadhg Evans

More than 500 children in Cork and Kerry are on a waiting list for medical equipment such as wheelchairs, specialised clothes, and bathing and showering equipment - and more than 70 children have been on the waiting list for over a year.

Cork Kerry Community Healthcare revealed these figures to Cork South Central Deputy Michael McGrath.

A total of 80 children are waiting for a wheelchair; 31 of these have been waiting for six months or more, and three have been on the waiting list for over a year. The number of children on the entire waiting list has jumped by more than 20 per cent in two months, Deputy McGrath explained, and almost 250 children have been waiting for six months or more for the equipment they need.

Cork Kerry Community Healthcare outlined that the total funding needed to clear the waiting list is less than €900,000.

Deputy McGrath described it as "very worrying" that the list has grown so much in the past two months, and has called on Minister for Health Simon Harris TD to examine the situation and take measures to reduce the amount of time children are waiting.

"This is a deeply distressing situation for these children and their families," Deputy McGrath said. "It is also unfair and cruel to expect young people to wait so long for basic equipment.  

"It is impacting on their every day lives and is most likely curtailing their independence.

"What is particularly worrying is the fact that the situation appears to be getting worse, not better, and as the budgetary pressures on the health service increase coming into the autumn and winter, I am gravely concerned that these waiting lists will deteriorate further."