Children's waiting lists double


The number of sick children waiting more than two years for a first visit to consultant outpatients clinic at Dublin's Crumlin Hospital has doubled since the end of last year, new figures reveal.

The hospital says it is taking action to deal with long waits for sick children to see a consultant, which it says 'are always an area of concern'.

Latest outpatient waiting list stats show that the number of children waiting over two years for an outpatient appointment at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin in December stood at 645, but this had increased to 1,201 by the end of June.

The figures show that overall, the number of children waiting between two to three years for an appointment at the Dublin children's hospital rose from 579 to 1,132 since December, while the number waiting over four years for an appointment rose from four to 10 in that period.

The numbers waiting three to four years dropped only slightly in the first six months of this year, from 62 to 59, according to the statistics.

A specialty breakdown of the statistics from the Department of Health's National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF), show that some child patients with heart problems have been waiting over two years for a consultant appointment at Crumlin.

At the end of June there were 61 paediatric cardiology patients waiting between two to three years to see a consultant at Crumlin, while two patients were waiting between three and four years.

A total of 360 child patients are currently waiting over two years for an ophthalmology appointment at the Dublin hospital, while 253 are waiting between two and four years for an orthopaedic appointment and six are waiting over four years to see an orthopaedic consultant.

The figures show that 228 child patients are waiting between two and three years for an ENT outpatient appointment.

The 10 patients waiting over four years for an appointment are in the specialties of orthopaedics and infectious diseases, the figures show.

Just under 16,000 child patients are on outpatient waiting lists at Crumlin at present.

A hospital spokesperson said long waits in any area were always a cause for concern, and all referrals to outpatients were reviewed and prioritised on the basis of clinical data provided.

Crumlin says it has been working with the HSE and the Department's Special Delivery Unit to look at options to schedule its long waiters for appointments.

Waiting lists were being reviewed and every family on a list was being contacted and their needs assessed and validated by consultants. Appointments were being offered where capacity was available, a hospital spokesperson said.

This exercise was scheduled to be completed by the end of this this month, according to Crumlin.

The spokesperson said there had been extensive validation of waiting lists, which had resulted in the removal of 21% of the names on the list - 'this is not reflected in the (NTPF) figures published for June 2013 as the exercise is ongoing.'

Crumlin said of the 10 patients listed as waiting four years and more for an outpatient appointment, five had since been seen and the remainder have had appointments scheduled within the next three months.

NTPF figures show there are now just under 370,000 adults and children on outpatient waiting lists at hospitals nationally.

[Posted: Fri 19/07/2013]


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