Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health the number of patients under 18 years of age awaiting an operation for Scoliosis, the length of time they have spent on a waiting list; the number of these patients who have been listed as urgent, if there is a definite time period in place for when these operations will be carried out; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
REPLY (Minister Leo Varadkar)
Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin is the largest provider of scoliosis surgery for children and young people. Funding was allocated in 2015 for additional consultant posts including two consultant orthopaedic surgeons, anaesthetist and support staff at Crumlin while capital funding was also provided for a new theatre on site to expand theatre capacity further. The 2016 Service Plan specifically provides for support for the new theatre capacity and the continued development of paediatric scoliosis services to address ongoing capacity deficits.
In order to address waiting times in the interim, patients from Crumlin have been transferred to other hospitals where capacity is available and where that is clinically appropriate. These include Temple Street, Cappagh, Tallaght and the Blackrock Clinic.
External capacity has also been identified at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital at Stanmore in the UK. The HSE is continuing to work with the Children’s Hospital Group and the individual hospitals to identify all options to increase capacity further to improve access times for surgery.
As the specific issues raised are a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials will follow the matter up.