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Endoscopy crisis for children must be tackled urgently – Ó Caoláin

24 May, 2011 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has described as “shameful” the 12 to 18-month waiting list for endoscopy at Crumlin Children’s Hospital.

He said:

“It is shameful that young children are now facing a wait of between 12 and 18 months for endoscopy at Crumlin Children’s Hospital. This is a real crisis in gastroenterology services as children from across this State depend on Crumlin Hospital to carry out these vital tests.

“Children must endure up to a year and a half of illness, and in some cases severe pain and distress, before they even get a diagnosis. As a father of children who are Coeliac I know the pain and distress of infants with this condition and the anguish of parents, especially in the time before a diagnosis is obtained.

“There is no shortage of endoscopy equipment or of expertise to use it in this State. The problem is that much of it is concentrated in the private hospital sector – as witnessed by the fact that since January this year 40 gastroenterology patients were referred to the National Treatment Purchase Fund for treatment in private hospitals. These private treatments are carried out at greater expense than those in the public health system. Once again the criminal folly of the two-tier system is causing real hardship for patients and massive waste of public money that should be spent in the public system.

“Health Minister James Reilly must intervene to ensure that no child should have to wait for more than three months for an endoscopy.” ENDS

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