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Hospitals slammed as 230 children wait year for ops

Two of the country's best-known children's hospitals have been accused of neglecting their patients by not cutting waiting times for operations.

Management at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children have been accused of not co-operating with the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF).

There are currently 230 children waiting more than 12 months for surgery, with the majority of these attending Crumlin and Temple Street Children's hospital.

Pat O'Byrne, head of the (NTPF) said that the level of co-operation with Crumlin, in particular, was not good enough. He said: "We're not happy with the level of engagement Crumlin hospital has with the NTPF. It's patchy to say the least."

In addition to those waiting for over a year, 1,174 children have been waiting on surgery for six months or more, and a further 1,340 waiting for more than three months.

Fianna Fail Cork South Central TD Michael McGrath told a meeting of the Dail's Public accounts Committee: "What we are dealing with here is professional negligence on the behalf of hospital management who are not cooperating fully with the NTPF."

Pat O'Byrne from the NTPF, went on to say that children waiting for long periods at Crumlin and Temple Street could have been treated within weeks under the NTPF.

"I'm not saying for one minute we can deal with every problem, but we can deal with a number of those problems," he said.

Mr O'Byrne said he was unhappy with the performance of four hospitals -- Crumlin, Temple Street, Tullamore General Hospital and Tallaght Hospital.

Crumlin Hospital issued a statement yesterday which said that they had been given a quota of 450 patient treatment slots and all had been used.

"Our Lady's Children's Hospital, remains fully committed to working with the HSE and NTPF to assist in reducing waiting lists for 2010," it said.

Temple Street said that it had co-operated fully with the NTPF, that they had been limited to 200 patient referrals and this quota had been used.

Tallaght Hospital claimed that it had an "excellent relationship" with the NTPF and had met its quota last year.

"In two quarters, the hospital was stopped from referring any further patients as it would have resulted in the hospital exceeding its quota" it said.

At the meeting of the Public Accounts Committee, the Department of Health also admitted that it had no idea how many patients were on the list for outpatient treatment.