Fianna Fail Children’s Spokesperson Anne Rabbitte has said she’s appalled by new information which reveals that more than 750 children are waiting over a year to see a consultant rheumatologist at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin.

The figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund show that there are 793 children, under the age of 16, waiting for a rheumatology outpatient appointment.  754 of these are waiting to see a consultant at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, with an average waiting time of 59 weeks.

Deputy Rabbitte said, “The waiting times for these children are truly shocking.  It’s appalling to think that we would allow a child remain in pain for over a year before seeing a consultant to have their condition addressed.  Rheumatological conditions are not only painful, many need to be treated quickly to ensure that they don’t deteriorate, as complications can arise the longer the illness is left untreated.  It is cruel to think that children could be left with serious conditions because of these treatment delays – and I am calling on the Health Minister to examine the current situation.

“The problems with the paediatric rheumatology service are symptomatic of bigger issues within waiting list system.  Over the past number of months, we have seen issues with scoliosis, tumours and spinal conditions exposed through the media and in the Dáil.  The figures released to me this month reveal that since 2014 the average national wait for children’s rheumatology services rise from 125 days to 169 days.

“We cannot continue to allow children languish on lists, waiting in pain for essential treatment, with the prospect of their condition worsening as a result of these excessive delays.  It is cruel and unfair.  This situation cannot continue and I am calling on the Health Minister and the Government to start delivering on the promises they have made to improve services for patients”.