Spike in the number of children on hospital waiting lists as Flu season approaches
Consultants say paediatric hospitals already experiencing overcrowding and approaching peak levels
- Child inpatient and day case waiting lists have increased by 13% and 36% respectively since October 2022;
- As over 883,000 people on some form of NTPF waiting list, including 96,700 children;
- 264 admitted children treated on trolleys during October at the three Dublin paediatric hospitals; 2,800 children across the country treated on a trolley or chair so far in 2023;
- IHCA President Prof Rob Landers: “As Consultants, we need and want sustainable solutions to help alleviate the distress of those on unacceptable waiting lists and provide the care patients of all ages so desperately need.”
The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has today (10 November 2023) warned that waiting lists for child inpatient and day case treatment have significantly increased over the past year and could deteriorate further this winter due to expected severe overcrowding in our paediatric hospitals.
New analysis from the IHCA shows that over the past year the child inpatient and day case waiting lists combined have increased by 26% compared with a 1% increase in the waiting lists for adult inpatient and day case treatment.1
A further breakdown of the figures reveals that while the number of children awaiting inpatient treatment has increased by 13% compared with October 2022, the child day case waiting list has increased by a significant 36% over the same period:
|Case Type||Oct-22||Oct-23||% Change from Oct 2022|
|Adult Day cases||53,436||54,989||+3%|
|Adult Sub Total||72,131||73,116||+1%|
|Child Day cases||4,188||5,706||+36%|
|Child Sub Total||7,751||9,727||+26%|
It follows the release today of the latest National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures which confirm that 883,300 people were on some form of hospital waiting list at the end of October, of which 96,700 were children.
Consultants are concerned that a severe flu season or spike in respiratory illnesses such as RSV or Covid could see paediatric hospitals come under severe pressure due to emergency department overcrowding. This could in turn contribute to the cancellation of hundreds of hospital appointments and operations, pushing child waiting lists up even further in a continuing ‘vicious cycle’.
October saw 264 admitted children treated on trolleys at the three Dublin paediatric hospitals, including 14 at the Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) Tallaght, 110 at CHI Crumlin and 140 at CHI Temple Street.2 This is almost a third less than the 382 children treated on trolleys at the same three hospitals in October 2022, but the number is steadily climbing and is now at its highest level since May. Around 2,800 children across the country under the age of 16 have been treated on a trolley or chair so far in 2023.
Commenting on today’s waiting lists, IHCA President Prof Rob Landers, said:
“Thousands of children are not getting the care they need in a timely manner, which is resulting in the real possibility that they will suffer serious and lasting health and developmental issues that could have been reversed or mitigated against if only the hospital capacity existed to ensure they can be provided with the care they need on time.
“As Consultants, we need and want sustainable solutions to help alleviate the distress caused to those on unacceptable waiting lists and provide the care patients of all ages so desperately need. But we are not being given the opportunity to do so, with little reprieve in what is now a year-long overcrowding crisis.
“Without addressing the very obvious shortages of Consultants, hospital beds, theatres, diagnostic and other facilities the Government will not address the core problems facing our public hospitals and lengthening waiting lists.
“Regrettably, the Budget did not contain the required funding to build and open the 1,500 rapid build additional hospital beds or the four elective hospitals included in the Sláintecare Plan in 2017. We’re urging the Government to commit the promised €1 billion capital budget to open these 1,500 beds without delay.”
1. Latest NTFP data: https://www.ntpf.ie/home/nwld.htm.
2. Trolley Watch Analysis.
For Media Enquiries, Contact:
Niamh Kinsella | email@example.com | (087) 921 9711