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Tánaiste must intervene to prevent semi-closure of Crumlin Children's Hospital - Ó Caoláin

10 November, 2005

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Health and Children Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD has described as “scandalous” the news that from tomorrow (11 November) the orthopaedic surgical team at Crumlin Children’s Hospital will not be taking any further referrals from GPs and will likely cancel outpatient clinics in the near future. He said the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children must take ultimate responsibility for the inadequate numbers of consultant surgeons in the Hospital which has led to this situation.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, “This afternoon, in common with other Health spokespersons in the Dáil, I received a faxed copy of a letter from the four consultant orthopaedic surgeons in Crumlin Children’s Hospital stating that they are no longer in a position to make any appointments for new paediatric referrals from General Practitioners from 11 November onwards. No permanent replacement has been appointed for one of the four surgeons who is a locum and whose term of employment comes to an end next March. Waiting times for appointments with the consultants are such that patients referred today will not get to see a consultant until April 2006 or afterwards.

“The surgeons state that the fourth consultant has not been hired ‘despite our numerous representations’. They also state that they will most likely be cancelling outpatient clinics in the near future. The appointment of a fourth permanent consultant post has been required by the Hospital for the past five years.

“I understand that the three permanent orthopaedic consultants and one locum working in Crumlin at present each see up to 100 children at their weekly clinics. They are able to spend only a few minutes with each patient and his or her parents. All four also do clinics at Tallaght Hospital.

“This is a scandalous situation for which the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children must bear ultimate responsibility. How has such a situation been allowed to develop? This represents the partial closure of the main Children’s Hospital in the country. The Tánaiste must intervene immediately to prevent this and to ensure that Crumlin Children’s Hospital is fully staffed and resourced.” ENDS

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