New data shows 15,167 ‘hidden’ children waiting for treatment at acute hospitals across West and North-West regions
- 117,000 children nationally now waiting for hospital care.
- Hospital consultants call for data on the number of children waiting to be published, separate from adult figures.
- IHCA President Dr. Donal O’Hanlon: “That over 15,000 children, equivalent to the entire population of Castlebar, are waiting for hospital care across the Saolta University Health Care Group’s acute public hospitals, is hugely worrying.
- “The fact that this information is not published on a regular basis does not make the agonising wait for children and their families any less real or less damaging for the children whose healthy development is on hold”.
The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has today (6 December 2019) called for “full transparency” on the numbers of children waiting to access treatment in the Saolta University Health Care Group’s public hospitals in Galway, Roscommon, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal.
The call comes after newly published data revealed that there are now 15,167 children waiting for hospital care at hospitals of the Saolta University Health Care Group.
The data was released by the HSE to Fianna Fáil’s Health Spokesperson, Deputy Stephen Donnelly recently.
According to the IHCA the data reveals the ‘full extent of the problem’ which children and their families are experiencing across the West and North-West region in accessing timely hospital care.
Currently, data on the number of children waiting for care at the Children’s Hospital Group, encompassing Dublin’s Crumlin, Temple Street and Tallaght Hospitals, is published each month. The most recent figures (to end October) showed over 60,000 children waiting for care at these three hospitals.
However, acute public hospitals across Ireland, such as University Hospital Galway or Letterkenny University Hospital, do not publish stand-alone data on the number of children waiting to access their services. Rather, the monthly data published on the number of patients waiting at hospitals such as these does not distinguish between adults and children.
Nationally, excluding the Children’s Hospital Group, there are a further 57,000 children waiting in Ireland’s regions to access public hospital treatment, with over 15,000 of these on Saolta University Health Care Group’s waiting lists.
Adding together both the Children’s Hospitals and regional hospitals, there is now a total of 117,000 children waiting for hospital care.
Yet this figure still does not represent the full picture. It does not include children waiting for hospitals diagnostics such as MRI scans or radiology. The HSE does not currently capture this data.
According to IHCA President, Dr. Donal O’Hanlon:
“The early years in a child’s life are both short and critically important to their lifelong health and development. Our health service is failing them during these essential, formative years.
That over 15,000 children, equivalent to the entire population of Castlebar, are now waiting for hospital care across the region’s acute public hospitals, is hugely worrying. The figure also excludes the hundreds of additional children from the wider West and North-West regions waiting for care at Children’s Hospitals in Dublin.
The fact that this information is not published on a regular basis does not make the agonising wait for children and their families any less real or less damaging for the children whose healthy development is on hold.
The solution lies in addressing our acute public hospital bed shortages and the ongoing consultant recruitment crisis which are both adding to the long waiting lists faced by our children.
Minister Harris must now commit to publishing data each month on the number of children waiting for hospital care. We cannot meaningful address the impact of tens of thousands of children waiting for care unless there is transparency on the full extent of the problem”.
For information contact:
Amanda Glancy, PR360, 01 6371777/ 087 277 3108 email@example.com
Barry Murphy, PR360, 01 637 1777/ 087 2669878 firstname.lastname@example.org