Cut €2.4m bill by hiring stem cell specialist

Daniel is pictured with his parents Brian and Caroline

By Elaine Keogh

Children who have to go to the UK for specialist stem cell treatment could instead have the service provided at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin if the HSE employed the relevant consultant.

That's according to one of the country's leading children's doctors, who said it is a 'no-brainer' for the HSE to employ a consultant to treat these children in Dublin instead of them going to the UK at a cost of approximately €200,000 per child.

Two children from Northern Ireland have already been treated at the hospital, which saved the families the inconvenience of travelling to the UK while also generating income from the NHS for the HSE.

The HSE confirmed that since 2012 the treatment abroad scheme (TAS) has paid for 26 children with sickle cell disease, Hurler's Syndrome, and immuno-deficiency problems to be treated in the UK at a total cost of €2.4m. It said 12 of them received stem cell treatments.

Brian Rogan brings his son Daniel (6) from their home in Strabane, Tyrone, to have his care in Crumlin hospital and said the care is "first class".

"We would like other parents and children from Northern Ireland to come up to Dublin, to know they don't have to go to England," he said.


Professor Owen Smith, consultant in childhood cancer at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Dublin, said to provide the additional doctor would allow the HSE to generate income by treating children like Daniel.

Prof Smith has given a business plan to the HSE outlining the benefits of it employing a consultant paediatric haematologist.

The HSE said: "Our Lady's Hospital Crumlin has submitted a proposal to support stem cell transplantation."