More than 82,000 children on outpatient waiting list

Figures show 37,000 children on list have gone 12 months without being seen

 More than 50,000 people are on the outpatient waiting list for the Mater hospital in Dublin. File photograph: Alan Betson

More than 50,000 people are on the outpatient waiting list for the Mater hospital in Dublin. File photograph: Alan Betson

 

At least 100,000 children are on a public waiting list for health appointments or procedures, new figures show.

There are 82,264 children on the outpatient waiting list and 7,698 waiting for an inpatient or daycase procedure, according to the figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund.

Another 5,000 children are on other public waiting lists, while another 8,000 awaiting scans are not recorded on an NTPF list, according to the Irish Hospital Consultants Association.

It said the health system was failing the most vulnerable in society due to the State’s inability to recruit and retain adequate numbers of consultants.

The NTPF has only recently begun publishing separate waiting list figures for children, which include young people waiting for appointments in the three Dublin children’s hospitals and those on the waiting lists of individual hospitals.

More than 37,000 children on the outpatient list have been waiting 12 months or more to be seen. More than 2,500 children have been waiting at least 12 months for an inpatient procedure.

The largest outpatient waiting lists for children are in ear, nose and throat; paediatrics and dermatology.

Overall, there was a marginal decrease in the outpatient and inpatient waiting lists, which had soared during the lockdown earlier this year. However, the figures for May run up only to the 13th of the month as hospitals were unable to file data to the NTPF after that date due to the cyberattack on the HSE’s IT systems.

A total of 630,270 people – including 548,000 adults – are on the outpatient waiting list.

This includes more than 50,000 patients at the Mater hospital in Dublin and 44,000 at University Hospital Galway.

Some 76,510 people – including 68,812 adults – are waiting for an inpatient procedure.

The IHCA said another 200 paediatricians and neonatologists were needed by 2028 to meet increased demand for treating children.

“The early years in a child’s life are critically important to their lifelong health and development,” IHCA president Prof Alan Irvine pointed out. “With more than 100,000 children waiting for hospital treatment, our health service is failing our youngest patients during these essential, formative years by making them wait for essential treatment and care.”

“This is solvable by filling the one in five permanent hospital consultant posts that are currently unfilled and appointing significant additional consultants.”