Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty TD, has called upon the Health Minister to make good on his promises that no child would be waiting more than four months for spinal surgery, and for him to meet with the father of a child with scoliosis.
Donegal Deputy Doherty called on Minister Simon Harris to take action to provide for the 189 children who are waiting for spinal surgery and 3,850 patients who are waiting for a needs assessment.
Speaking during Leaders’ Questions this afternoon, Teachta Doherty said:
“Yesterday, RTÉ aired a piece that can only be described as shocking relating to the provision of assessments of need for children with a disability.
“Figures released by the HSE show that up to 3,850 children across the State – with a disability or a suspected disability – are overdue a needs assessment.
“Under the Disability Act 2005, any child suspected of having a disability is eligible to apply for a needs assessment to identify their health requirements.
“Such an assessment is legally required to be completed within six months of the date of application. Nearly 4,000 children are being denied that right. They are being failed by the health service.
“The parents of children in this situation are at their wits end. They are desperate to find out why their children exhibit symptoms and for a diagnoses so their children can access services. They are not the only children being failed by the health service Tánaiste.
“Others are being treated disgracefully as well. Sophia McGuinness, who is twelve years old, and has scoliosis and cerebral palsy, has been waiting for surgery for almost a year and a half.
“Sophia is one of more than fifty children who don’t feature on scoliosis waiting lists because they have had their surgery suspended.
“Children like Sophia are living in agony. Their parents are exhausted from battling the system. They are worn-out fighting for their children to access vital treatment.
“Last year Minister Harris offered apologies and made promises. He made a statement saying no child would be waiting more than four months for spinal surgery by the end of 2017.
“The government must do right by Sophia and the other 188 children who are waiting for spinal surgery and he must agree to meet with Sophia’s father to hear what it is like first hand for parents and children living in pain. He also must do right by the 3,850 patients who are waiting for a needs assessment.”