Currently, more than 100.000 children in Ireland are waiting for hospital treatment
These are shocking figures.
According to the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA), there are currently more than 100,000 children across Ireland are waiting for hospital treatment – and almost 40,000 of these have been on lists longer than a year.
What is worse, this figure still does not represent the full picture as it does not include children waiting for hospital diagnostics such as MRI scans or radiology.
According to RTE, almost 20,000 children are now waiting longer than a year to see a Consultant in the three Dublin children’s hospitals, a figure that is an almost five-fold increase in long waiters over the past six years.
The latest NTPF figures are only the second time that the Outpatient Waiting List has been separated into adult and child lists.
It shows that the largest child outpatient waiting lists were in the following specialties ENT (Otolaryngology) - 17,893, Paediatrics - 13,065, Dermatology - 8,735, Ophthalmology - 6,851, Orthopaedics - 6,536.
The reason, according to IHCA, is a desperate shortage of hospital consultants across all paediatric specialities – something which is resulting in children being restricted from accessing high-quality medical care and contributing massively to now record-long waiting lists.
"The early years in a child’s life are critically important to their lifelong health and development," says IHCA President Professor Alan Irvine.
"With more than 100,000 children waiting for hospital treatment, our health service is failing our youngest patients during these essential, formative years by making them wait for essential treatment and care. This is solvable by filling the 1 in 5 permanent hospital consultant posts that are currently unfilled and appointing significant additional consultants."
Several initiatives are under consideration with the HSE, the statement also read, to invest in specific clinical initiatives to improve access to care.
However, Children's Health Ireland are keen to apologise to patients and families who are experiencing long wait times, but also added that the current impact of the cyberattack is also playing a part in the backlog.