April 5, 2024
Lack of transparency in scoliosis waiting lists of serious concern – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has questioned Children’s Health Ireland’s (CHI) decision to stop publishing scoliosis-related waiting lists since February.

CHI has committed to publishing monthly updates, there has been no waiting list published in two months while they were previously published every two weeks.
 
Teachta Cullinane has said that CHI should resume publishing their waiting list statistics every two weeks, and that the waiting list newsletter should clearly state both the number of children on waiting lists, and the number of children who are waiting longer than the Sláintecare wait time targets.

He added it should also identify the number of children who are waiting multiple years for surgery.
 
The Waterford TD said that it was unacceptable that, seven years on since Simon Harris made commitments to children with scoliosis, parents and advocates were still fighting for basic waiting list transparency.  

He added that he hoped Simon Harris would use the Fine Gael Ard Fheis to clearly set out his plan to meet the promise he made these children seven years ago, but that he had no confidence in his ability to deliver.
 
Teachta Cullinane said:
 
“It has been two months since Children’s Health Ireland last published an update on scoliosis waiting lists. This lack of transparency is seriously concerning. In February, it emerged that Children’s Health Ireland and patient advocates had a different understanding of the total number of children on lists, caused by the poor presentation of data by Children’s Health Ireland.
 
“Since then, instead of publishing a simple total number, Children’s Health Ireland has stopped publishing lists and has instead promised to publish data monthly.
 
“It does not take 2 months to add a total figure to the waiting lists. Children’s Health Ireland should resume publishing waiting lists without delay, and I have written to the CEO’s office asking for this to happen.
 
“The scoliosis waiting lists should continue to be published every two weeks, and the waiting list newsletter should clearly state the total number of children on lists. It should also state the number who are waiting longer than the Sláintecare target wait time, and the number who are waiting multiple years for surgery. There is no excuse for anything but full transparency.
 
“In general, there is a lack of transparency around waiting lists, including hidden lists and a lack of data collection on why people are removed from waiting lists.

“In the last 5 years, more than 400,000 people have been removed from waiting lists as part of a ‘validation’ process, but the HSE cannot say whether they were removed for duplication or for not responding to letters. This is why I have sponsored and will soon introduce legislation to improve transparency around waiting lists.
 
“It has been seven years since Simon Harris promised children with scoliosis that they would not wait longer than 4 months for surgery. To this day, many are still waiting years, and we still have to fight for waiting list transparency.

“It is simply unacceptable. I hope that Simon Harris will take the opportunity this weekend to set out his plan to meet that promise he made seven years ago, but I have no confidence in his ability to deliver.”

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