– Almost 16,000 children are waiting for ear, nose and throat outpatient consultation
– Children waiting between 15 – 27 months for an MRI scan
– 250 children are now waiting up to two years for life-changing orthopaedic surgery
Investigative research launched today by leading online parenting community, MummyPages.ie, highlights the full extent of how our health system is failing our children. Insights obtained by MummyPages from the Health Service Executive (HSE) through the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, highlights the thousands of families with children currently on waiting lists for life-changing diagnosis, treatment and surgery.
The request made by MummyPages highlights the number of children on hospital waiting lists in October last year, the same month where the Finance Minister allocated €13.175 billion to the Department of Health and HSE in the Finance Budget for 2016. Unfortunately not all classes of medical procedures and consultation were made available to MummyPages following their request, including Speech & Language, Autism, and Children’s Mental Health waiting lists.
Despite this we are shocked at the high numbers of children waiting for inpatient and outpatient consultations, treatments and surgery across the medical departments of neurology, otolaryngology (ENT), ophthalmology (Eye), urologist, orthopaedics and general surgery.
Number of Children on Waiting Lists as at 31st October 2015:
Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose & Throat) outpatient list:
• 14,420 children are waiting to see an ear, nose and throat specialist:
o 4,492 are waiting longer between 6-12mths
o 3,465 are waiting between 12-24mths
o 44 are waiting between 24-36mths
o 2 are waiting between 36-48mths
Paediatric Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose & Throat) outpatient list:
• 1,352 babies are waiting to see a paediatric ear, nose and throat specialist:
o 668 are waiting between 6-12mths
o 282 are waiting between 12-24mths
o 7 are waiting between 24-36mths for an appointment
Ophthalmology (Eye) outpatient list:
• 5,102 children are waiting to see an eye specialist (ophthalmologist):
o 1,495 are waiting between 6-12mths
o 565 are waiting between 12-24mths
o 5 are waiting between 24-36mths
Urology outpatient list:
• 2,792 mums have children on waiting lists to see an urologist:
o 772 are waiting between 6-12mths
o 571 are waiting between 12-24mths
o 5 are waiting between 24-36mths
• 1,110 children are on waiting lists to receive specialist orthopaedics treatment:
o 422 children are waiting for inpatient treatment by an orthopaedic consultant
o 47 babies are waiting for inpatient treatment by an orthopaedic consultant
o 624 children are waiting for outpatient consultations
In addition, according to a recent published report a further 250 young adolescents suffering from scoliosis are currently on waiting lists for corrective surgery. This critical surgery is urgently required as their continue curvature of their spine damages internal organs and the quality of life in the future. Worryingly, Ireland only has half the number of orthopaedic surgeons needed to meet the growing demand for surgeries and limited theatre capacity to complete the operations.
Neurology outpatient list:
The demand for children’s MRI services outweighs the capacity by almost 200%. Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin (OLCHC) has the capacity to schedule 1,934 scans per year however the department receives an average of 3,600 MRI referrals per year or 74 per week. Yet the only 39 MRI consultations can be filled by OLCHC each week.
Patients awaiting a MRI scan are classified as either urgent or routine, with urgent cases seen quickly while patients classified as routine can expect to experience waiting times of between 15-27mths.
Commenting on the report Laura Haugh, spokesperson for MummyPages.ie said:
“It’s time for our mums to vote with their feet. With just five days to GE16, we want to hear what the political parties are going to do to solve the shocking hospital waiting periods experienced by our most vulnerable sector of society, our children. Our MummyPages research highlights the full extent of the ‘waiting list’ crisis facing thousands of families whose lives have effectively been put on hold until they receive the diagnosis or treatment they need.”
“The build of our badly needed National Children’s Hospital has been poorly planned from the outset and we support the Connolly site for better access and potential development. Our health system is in crisis, it needs more money and resources, but most importantly it needs a Minister with a steady and strategic vision who can deliver meaningful change, to those who need it most, quickly.”
“We are urging our mums to question the candidates looking for their vote this Friday, as to how they plan to address this issue. A parent is a child’s best advocate and at MummyPages we want the next incoming Government to hear our voices instead of having to expose the shocking realities of the huge number of children on waiting lists, and petition for sense when it comes to the Connolly site for the new National Children’s Hospital and to make the Meningitis B vaccine available for free to all children.”