Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue has criticised the delay in opening a new operating theatre for scoliosis patients at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.  Staff have yet to be appointed to the unit so that it can be fully functional.

Deputy McConalogue commented, “The Department of Health is well aware of the service issues in this country for children with scoliosis and despite funding being made available in 2015 to tackle the issue no real progress has been made.  There are currently over 200 children on the scoliosis waiting list with, more than half of them waiting more than one year.

“Many children with scoliosis can feel isolated from their friends and school mates as they cannot always take part in sports and may have to use special chairs and equipment.

“On the 21st January this year former Tánaiste Joan Burton gave an undertaking on the floor of the Dáil that the theatre would be operational in April 2016.  Four months later, in May, Minister Harris confirmed that the new theatre at Crumlin Hospital, which was built specifically to cater for the treatment of scoliosis, was complete and that the handover was expected in the coming weeks.

“Six months later the theatre is still not operational and children with scoliosis continue to suffer.  I questioned Minister Harris about the delay and he has cited theatre nursing vacancies as a significant challenge.

“It is simply unacceptable that a high-tech theatre, specifically dedicated for children with scoliosis should be sitting empty five months later.  I’m calling on Minister Harris to review the recruitment process for theatre nurses and ensure that staff are employed without delay.  It’s unfair that children are being left to suffer as a result of this recruitment fiasco,” concluded McConalogue.