Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy has highlighted the fact that there has been an almost 40% increase in the number of children waiting for specialist in-patient rehabilitation through the National Rehabilitation Hospital. Deputy Murphy has warned that children with acquired brain injuries and spinal injuries are being left waiting to access in-patient services through the National Rehabilitation Hospital as the service has been suspended since August 2018 with no resolution in sight.
The Fianna Fáil TD recently tabled a number of parliamentary questions with the Minister for Health in relation to the in-patient paediatric unit in the National Rehabilitation Hospital. “According to the PQ replies which I received the paediatric in-patient service at the National Rehabilitation Hospital has been suspended since August 13th, 2018 as the consultant paediatrician took unplanned leave and no cover is in place. There has been a serious knock on effect as the suspension of the in-patient service is impacting on the children who were in-patient at the time of suspension, those on the waiting list for admission and those children who are newly referred to the service and are awaiting assessment by a consultant paediatrician.
“It is alarming to see that the PQ revealed that since July 20th, 2018 the NRH has been unable to admit any new children to their in-patient service. There has been an increase of 38% in the numbers waiting when compared with waiting figures at the end of Q1 2018 when the service was fully operational. The PQ reply also reveals that in addition to those new patients waiting to access the service there are 116 children and young people with an acquired brain injury and approx. 50 children with a spinal injury who need the input of the NRH tertiary specialist in-patient and day service. Since the paediatric in-patient service was suspended there has been a loss of 200 bed days to date.
“These are some of the most vulnerable members of our society- children and young people with acquired brain injuries and spinal injuries are being left languishing on waiting lists due to the fact that the in-patient service has been suspended- I am calling on Minister Harris to address this issue as a matter of urgency as consultant paediatrician cover needs to be put in place in a bid to resume this vital service,” said Deputy Murphy.
The Fianna Fáil TD also highlighted the fact that since the National Policy and Strategy for the Provision of Neuro-Rehabilitation Services in Ireland 2011-2015 was published in 2011 there has been no investment in clinical services providing neuro-rehabilitation across the country which he noted was scandalous.
“According to the PQ reply I have received the only investment to date has been the appointment of a Programme Manager for the demonstration pilot project to enhance neuro-rehabilitation community services within the Community Healthcare Organisations who took up the position in September 2018. So we have the programme manager appointed but no investment in clinical services for neuro-rehabilitation which totally unacceptable,” concluded Deputy Murphy.