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Minister must meet scoliosis groups - O' Reilly

16 August, 2016 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Health Louise O’Reilly TD has today called on the Minister for Health to meet with groups representing those affected by scoliosis

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“The waiting list times for scoliosis surgery in this State are at scandalous levels and urgent attention needs to be brought to bear on this issue. The fact remains that this is a degenerative and regressive diagnosis and as these patients wait on long lists, curvatures get worse, patients suffer further pain and their condition deteriorates. 

“145 patients were waiting less than 12 months for treatment, of whom 42 were waiting under three months. 47 were waiting between three and six months and 56 were waiting between six and 12 months. 23 patients were waiting between 12 and 15 months and 21 patients were waiting longer than 15 months. 

“Before the recess, Sinn Féin raised the issue of scoliosis waiting lists and the Minister’s inadequate response to these worsening times. Indeed, while highlighting the service pressures in Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin, which is the largest provider of scoliosis surgery for children and young people, the Minister noted that additional funding and staff were in place. However, the fact remains that a new theatre on the site is still only being commissioned and without the staff in place to open this theatre, there is little scope for increased capacity in the short term. All the while, patients are experiencing degeneration in their condition. 

“I have met with one of the scoliosis support and awareness groups and their greatest concern is the length of time that people are being forced to wait for corrective surgery. They are currently seeking a meeting with Minister Harris to discuss this and issues around recruitment of additional staff, increasing capacity and information and early detection. 

“It is important that the Minister meet all the groups concerned, particularly given the increased media and public attention on this issue and the absence of constructive engagement with them. Similarly, I would request that Minister Harris meets with his colleague in the North on this, Minister O’Neill, to ensure that full all-island cooperation is secured to maximise the number of surgeries taking place and to look at issues around resources.

“The template is there in relation to congenital heart surgeries and given the time pressures on this, I believe this is something that should be explored to the benefits of all scoliosis patients on the island.” ENDS

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