The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has expressed “continuing concern” at what it calls an “excessive number” of children waiting for an appointment to be treated or assessed in public hospitals.
The warning from Consultants comes as the latest National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures released today reveal that 895,700 people were on some form of hospital waiting list at the end of July, including almost 100,800 children and young people.
“The monthly NTPF figures have recorded over 100,000 children on waiting lists for hospital care for the fifth consecutive month, with one in five of these children waiting longer than a year to be treated or assessed in public hospitals,” said IHCA President Professor Robert Landers.
“This is resulting in thousands of children not getting the care they need in a timely way, and the real possibility that they will suffer serious and lasting health and developmental issues that could have been reversed or mitigated against if only they were seen in time.”
Professor Landers went on to describe the situation as “wholly unacceptable.”
“Every single number is an individual child or young person who could be experiencing pain, and a family that may be suffering psychological distress at not knowing when their child will be able to receive treatment,” he said.
“This is a wholly unacceptable situation. Young patients and their parents should not have to fight for care.
“As Consultants, we need and want sustainable solutions to help alleviate this distress and provide the care these children so desperately need. However, we have unresolved hospital capacity deficits and Consultant vacancies that is not being addressed urgently enough. These twin deficits must be addressed by the Government in October’s Budget.”
Gript recently asked Taoiseach Leo Varadkar about years-long wait times for child scoliosis procedures, which his government previously said would be solved by 2017. That video can be viewed below.
"I don't want to comment on individual cases": After a brief interruption about sheepdogs, Leo Varadkar says whether he takes responsibility for children waiting years for scoliosis surgery – a problem that then-Health Minister Simon Harris said would be fixed by 2017.#gript pic.twitter.com/yTOvTKTdOW
— gript (@griptmedia) July 14, 2023