As part of Children’s Health Ireland’s (CHI) paediatric orthopaedic service, most scoliosis cases are treated at Crumlin and Temple Street, with Crumlin providing specialised multi-disciplinary treatment for the most complex patients. The National Orthopaedic Hospital at Cappagh provides additional capacity for the treatment of less complex orthopaedic patients, including routine scoliosis procedures. By using the capacity provided by Cappagh, CHI can free up space in order that complex orthopaedic procedures, including scoliosis spinal fusions, can be carried out centrally at CHI sites.
More specifically, additional theatre capacity at the National Orthopaedic Hospital Cappagh commenced on the 26 April 2021 for daycase surgery. CHI have advised the Department of Health that this should result in a positive impact in reducing long waiting times for general orthopaedics in addition to consequential capacity gains for scoliosis patients. In 2022 CHI are planning to undertake a range of inpatient, daycase and outpatient orthopaedic appointments in Cappagh.
Funding proposals submitted to the HSE by Children’s Health Ireland to increase capacity and activity for both orthopaedic and scoliosis patients are considered under the HSE National Service Plan 2022 and under the HSE Capital Plan. Improving access to scheduled care capacity remains a priority for me and my Department as we work to finalise next year’s Service Plan.
Improving waiting times for hospital appointments and procedures remains a commitment of this Government. For 2022 an additional allocation of €250 million, comprised of €200 million to the HSE and €50 million to the National Treatment Purchase Fund has been provided in respect of work to reduce hospital and community waiting lists. The €250 million will be used to fund additional activity in both the public and private sectors. The €50 million additional funding provided to the NTPF brings its total allocation for 2022 to €150 million, and as a consequence there will be a budget of €350 million available to support vital initiatives to improve access to acute hospitals and community health services.
In addition, my Department, the HSE and the NTPF are also working on a Multi Annual Waiting List Plan to bring waiting lists in line with Sláintecare targets over the coming years. This process will be overseen by a Ministerial Taskforce, chaired by the Secretary General of my Department and includes representatives from the HSE and National Treatment Purchase Fund. The plan will be informed by the lessons learned from the successful Vaccine Taskforce.