The Children’s Ombudsman says the Government must deliver on its promises when it comes to children on waiting lists for Scoliosis treatments.
The issue was highlighted by RTÉ Investigates documentary Living on The List, and later by the appearance of Megan Halvey-Ryan on the Late Late Show.
A new report out today says the condition, in which a person’s spine has curved, has become a children’s rights issue in Ireland.
Dr Niall Muldoon said the current situation cannot continue and they have issued a series of recommendations.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the Ombudsman for Children’s Office report, ‘Waiting on Scoliosis treatment; A children’s rights issue’, he said: “Ongoing delays and the failure by Government to adequately address the issue of access to Scoliosis treatment is impacting on the rights of children and young people in Ireland.
“Every child in Ireland has a right to the highest attainable standard of health. At present that right is not being respected for children and young people with Scoliosis and crisis managing has not resolved the issue.
“Due to their age and stage of development, young people with Scoliosis are suffering severe physical and psychological effects as a result of the delays they experience. This should not be acceptable in Ireland 2017.
“The testimonies of three young people included in this report, make for powerful and chilling reading.”
‘The whole waiting process made me very sad all the time, I didn’t like leaving the house or looking in the mirror. I felt trapped in my own head, nobody else I knew looked like me’ – Jane
‘They had to move my organs to one side so that they could work on one part of my spine. They also had to cut away some of my ribs’ – Delilah
‘The lowest point of all for me was in August 2014. I was going into fifth year and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do my leaving cert’ – Harriet
Dr Muldoon continued: “No child with scoliosis should have to wait in excess of 4 months from when the need for surgery is clinically determined. This is in line with recent Government commitments and complies with international best practice.
“Long-term planning and strategic thinking is needed to address this issue. We need a clear picture of existing capacity and the availability of human, financial, and technical resources.
“Child-specific waiting lists should be published for all healthcare services in Ireland. Targets for maximum waiting times for out-patient appointments should be established, and reports which monitor these targets should be published quarterly.