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12th Mar 2024

Worrying rise in the number of children on surgical waiting lists in Ireland

Jody Coffey


David Cullinane TD is calling on the Minister for Health for reduced hospital wait times for children

There has been a rise in the number of children on surgical waiting lists in Ireland, according to new National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) data.

According to the data, the number of children waiting for surgeries and other procedures has increased from 9010 to 9853 since February 2023, and the number waiting longer than the target of 12 weeks has increased from 6345 (70 per cent) to 7126 (72 per cent).

This means that 800 more children are waiting longer than 12 weeks for a procedure compared to last year, an increase of nine per cent.

Following the publication of hospital waiting list data for February 2024, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, is now calling on the Minister for Health to put a specific focus on reducing wait times for children who are waiting for procedures in 2024.

In a statement, Cullinane stressed that timely surgery is paramount for childhood development.

“Surgical waiting lists for children are growing, which is a concerning trend,” he says.

“The Government and Minister for Health’s incompetence around the Children’s Hospital is having a direct effect on these waiting lists.

“Existing Children’s Hospitals cannot expand, and resources have not been put into the major regional hospitals to take strain off of the major Dublin-based Children’s Hospitals.”

Cullinane has called on Minister Stephen Donnelly to ensure that patients – adults and children – are getting care on the basis of need, particularly children as he expressed concern of their development.

“I am calling on the Minister to put a specific focus on children’s surgical waiting lists this year to bring them down in line with surgical lists for adults, which have been reducing slowly.

“The health service needs a multi annual plan to sustainably reduce waiting lists and if I was Minister for Health, I would work tirelessly to increase capacity, retain and train more workers, and build a national health service that can see and treat patients in a timely fashion.”