Health | Delays in the provision of treatment for those with scoliosis and spina bifida
To ask the Minister for Health the action that has been taken to address the delays in provision of appropriate treatment for patients with scoliosis and spina bifida; if it is envisaged to make serious inroads on the number of persons on such waiting lists in the shortest possible time; when the appropriate initiatives are likely to become obvious; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
In February of this year I met with senior officials of Children’s Heath Ireland (CHI) and the HSE, as well as senior orthopaedic clinicians from Temple Street, Crumlin and Cappagh, to discuss the finalisation of proposals to increase orthopaedic activity at CHI. The plan proposes ambitious additional activity levels which will work to reduce the number of children waiting for spinal orthopaedic procedures (scoliosis and spina bifida) by year end.
This latest initiative is further evidence of this Government’s commitment to address the issues facing these children. Both current and capital funding has been provided in 2022 to support this initiative.
Both current and capital funding totalling €17.43 million has been approved for this initiative. The plan will result in an additional 67 spinal fusions and 28 spinal other procedures for children with Scoliosis, as well as an additional 141 procedures for children with Spina Bifida. The plan also allocates substantial paediatric orthopaedic procedures at Cappagh orthopaedic hospital, with 720 additional procedures planned for the year. By using the capacity provided by Cappagh for less complex orthopaedic patients, including routine scoliosis procedures, CHI can free up space in order that complex orthopaedic procedures, including scoliosis spinal fusions, can be carried out centrally at CHI sites. The impact of the plan has already been recorded with increased activity year to date. Year to date by the end of May 2022, 197 scoliosis procedures had been carried out, compared to 156 for the same period in 2019. The number of patients waiting longer than 6 months for a scoliosis procedure has also reduced to 79 by the end of May 2022, compared to 103 in August 2020.
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