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Health | Scoliosis surgery accessibility and accommodation programmes

To ask the Minister for Health the extent to which patients seeking a scoliosis surgery have been accommodated in the past twelve months; the degree to which it is now proposed to accelerate the programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Earlier this year Minister Donnelly approved an ambitious plan from Children’s Health Ireland to reduce the number of children waiting for spinal orthopaedic procedures (scoliosis/spina bifida) by the year end. More than €17 million of current and capital funding is being provided to implement the plan.

This funding is being used to provide additional theatre access at Temple Street and Crumlin, as well as diagnostic MRI capacity.

The funding will also be used to enable further activity and paediatric theatre lists at Cappagh Hospital, or Cappagh Kids. This will free up space for CHI to undertake more complex cases.

The plan has already shown increased activity.  As of the end of September, 395 scoliosis procedures had been carried out, compared to 253 for the same period last year, a 51% increase.

Children’s Health Ireland and Cappagh Kids continue to work to explore new innovative ways of working and develop initiatives to support additional orthopaedic and scoliosis activity.

Budget 2023 provides significant funding to prioritise substantial capacity and reform actions, including alternative care pathways as well as a continued focus on the specific priority areas of scoliosis and spina bifida.

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