Speaking today, Sinn Féin Children and Youth Affairs Spokesperson Kathleen Funchion TD has said the shocking new figures showing the most recent number of children languishing on waiting lists to see a consultant, was evidence that the Government has yet to make addressing paediatric consultant shortages a national priority.
Teachta Funchion said:
“We are beyond crisis point. The Irish Hospital Consultant’s Association (IHCA) has stated today that more than 47,000 children are currently waiting to see a paediatric consultant, an increase of nearly 15,000 since 2016. More than 19,000 children are waiting more than 12 months to see a specialist.
“While these figures are shocking, the numbers still do not represent the full picture of the crisis with many more children being hidden by the fact that the state does not maintain child-specific wait lists. This means the scale of the true crisis is not being recorded. It is scandalous that thousands of children remain hidden on waiting lists for urgent care across the HSE, all counted as adults.
“The Ombudsman for Children's report in 2017 on scoliosis titled ‘Waiting for Scoliosis Treatment; A Children’s Rights Issue’ recommended that child-specific wait lists and target wait times for the out-patient department for children be established. Why, in 2019, has this straightforward recommendation yet been implemented by the HSE? How can the HSE expect to address the crisis in a targeted way if they do not have the appropriate figure for children recorded and reported?
“Paediatric consultant shortages is the main reason behind these waiting lists. This needs to be addressed immediately as a national priority in light of these shocking new figures released by the IHCA.