New plan to reduce waiting times for children with scoliosis

Independent Clare TD Michael McNamara has expressed his support a plan announced to reduce treatment waiting times for children with scoliosis and spina bifida which he described as “long-overdue”.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said on Thursday he had approved a plan from Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) and Cappagh Orthopaedic Hospital that would see waiting times cut for children and teenagers in urgent need of orthopaedic surgery.

Deputy McNamara said the provision of healthcare services to children suffering from conditions such as scoliosis has been inadequate, but that he is optimistic the new plan will deliver significant improvements, having spoken to Dr Conor Green, an orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in the area and who was involved in the development of the plan.

“The plan will seek to reduce the number of scoliosis patients waiting more than four months from more than 90 at the moment to zero by the end of the year,” commented Deputy McNamara.

He continued, “In response to my most recent Parliamentary Question on the matter this week, Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) confirmed there are currently 24 children in counties Clare, Tipperary and Limerick awaiting spinal procedures in Children’s Health Ireland CHI. The approval of this plan will be very much welcomed by those on the waiting lists and their families as it seeks to ensure that no scoliosis patient is waiting over four months for a procedure by the end of 2022.”

“I am very glad that Minister Donnelly finally met the team from National Orthopaedic Hospital Cappagh, headed by Dr Conor Green, as I and many other urged. Credit is also due to Junior Minister Anne Rabbitte for pressing this issue within the Department,” concluded Deputy McNamara.