Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Ceisteanna (295)

Jan O'Sullivan


295. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health the waiting times for scoliosis operations; the steps taken to reduce waiting times for these operations; if there has been an increase in the number of consultants dealing with patients with scoliosis and future plans to reduce waiting lists for children with scoliosis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11598/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I sincerely regret that children can experience a long waiting time for treatment for scoliosis. I am conscious of the burden that this places on them and their families.

The long-term strategy to develop sustainable scoliosis services from 2018 and into 2019 is a priority for me and for the HSE. Children's Health Ireland (CHI) advises that the impact of investment, and the implementation of the Scoliosis 10 Point Action Plan, is now starting to deliver results with a consistent reduction in waiting times being recorded.

Children's Health Ireland (CHI) also advises that the total number of surgeries performed in 2018 was 418 compared with 371 in 2017. This represents an increase in activity of 12% against 2017 and an increase in activity of almost 87% compared to 2016 when 224 procedures were carried out.

Furthermore, the number of patients on the waiting list for scoliosis related surgeries as of 01 March 2019 is 158, of which 87 are waiting for spinal fusion (see table). This is a reduction of 22 or 12% since Jan 2018

Since the beginning of 2018, there has been a 51% reduction in the number of children waiting over 4 months for surgery (from 74 at the start of 2018 to 36 as of 01 March 2019).

In addition, CHI advises that an additional 60 posts have been approved for 2018 and 2019, and in this context, it is currently recruiting two additional general orthopaedic consultants which will further reduce waiting times for children for an orthopaedic outpatient appointment.

More broadly, all patient referrals to the orthopaedic spinal service at CHI are reviewed and clinically prioritised by a consultant. These patients are seen in order of clinical priority. Most patients are seen within 12 months.

An additional 800 OPD appointments were given to patients in CHI at Crumlin in 2018 compared to 2017 which led to a 31% reduction in the overall orthopaedic outpatient waiting list.

Finally, the CHI will continue to work to reduce waiting times for children and young people attending orthopaedic and scoliosis services.

The following document provides details of the number of scoliosis surgeries performed to date this year along with the number of patients on waiting lists clinically deemed as requiring surgery as at 01 March 2019.

Total surgeries (inc. single & multiple stages) performed as of 1 March 2019

Week ending 01/03/2019

CHI at Crumlin

CHI at Temple Street

Cappagh Hospital


Number of Spinal Fusion YTD





No. of Other Spinal Procedures YTD










Total No. of patients on waiting lists clinically deemed as requiring surgery as of 1 March 2019

Number of patients on waiting list waiting for scoliosis related surgeries. Includes active, pre-admit and planned procedures (excluding suspensions*)


Number waiting for other spinal procedures

CHI at Crumlin



CHI at Temple Street



Cappagh Hospital






*suspensions are patients temporarily unavailable due to clinical or family reason