June 29, 2023
Ombudsman’s ‘Ivy’ Report lays bare painful reality of broken promises for children with scoliosis – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has said that the Ombudsman for Children’s report on the case of ‘Ivy’ has once again laid bare the painful reality of broken promises for children with scoliosis.

Teachta Cullinane said that the hurt and anguish caused to children with scoliosis is not only a result of a failure to treat their condition on time, but also of how the HSE has engaged and interacted with them and their families in times of distress.

The TD for Waterford also expressed concern at the latest delays with the new Children’s Hospital, which is essential for delivering additional protected capacity for surgeries for children such as ‘Ivy’.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“The Ombudsman for Children’s investigation of Ivy’s case has once again laid bare the painful reality of broken promises for children with scoliosis.

“Ivy was left waiting for five years for her scoliosis surgery, at a time when Ministers for Health were promising that no child would wait longer than four months.

“That promise was never followed through. Children are still waiting years for access to surgery.

“This is causing extreme distress, pain, hurt, and anguish to these children and to their families.

“This is made worse by cancellations and by how the HSE has engaged and interacted with them and their families in times of distress.

“There is no excuse for poor communication, which only adds to the devastation of a cancelled surgery. Children and their families need to be supported during that time, but time and again we hear stories of the exact opposite happening.

“All of this underlines the importance of the delivery of the new Children’s Hospital, which will substantially increase capacity for surgeries through its new operating theatres.

“But the new Children’s Hospital project has been plagued by delays, with shifting deadlines every few months. The latest indications are that the hospital will not be completed until May next year. This means it will not be open until at least November next year, or later if the May completion date is not met.

“This is all the more worrying given the urgent need for protected theatre capacity to deliver these life-changing surgeries for children.

“It is essential that the Government and Minister for Health take a more hands on approach to delivering this project.

“In the meantime, the priority must be delivering reductions in waiting times for scoliosis surgeries by supporting protected capacity and recovery facilities at locations such as Cappagh Orthopaedic Hospital.”

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