Almost 9,000 children are waiting for healthcare in the CHO2 area which covers counties Galway, Mayo and Roscommon, according to Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy.
Fianna Fáil’s health spokesperson Deputy Stephen Donnelly recently secured information from the HSE which shows that nationally 117,000 children were waiting for hospital treatment.
The information on primary care adds another 90,000 children to existing lists, bringing the total to 214,737 nationally. One in four of these children are waiting more than a year.
“A breakdown of those figures shows that there are a total of 8,627 children waiting in the CHO2 area for primary care appointments," Dep Murphy said this week. "The biggest problem area is ophthalmology as there are 3,486 children waiting for treatment in the CHO2 area, with some 2,292 of those children from Co Galway and 750 from Co Roscommon. Some 1,706 children in the CHO2 area are waiting for a first-time assessment in occupational therapy with 600 of those children from Co Roscommon and 136 from Co Galway.
"Other major problem areas are speech and language as we have some 772 children waiting for further therapy in Co Galway, with 386 children waiting for initial assessment in speech and language in Co Galway and 41 in Co Roscommon," he added. "There are 213 children waiting for initial therapy in speech and language in Co Galway and 137 in Co Roscommon.”
The Fianna Fáil TD went on to highlight the fact that in counties Roscommon and Galway there are also 563 children waiting for treatment in audiology, 497 children waiting for treatment in psychology, and 265 children waiting for treatment in dietetics.
Many children are waiting for years, often for primary care supports such as speech and language, and others for critical operations for conditions such as scoliosis.
Deputy Murphy continued: “More and more parents have been highlighting the inability to get care for their children. This includes very sick children in need of urgent surgery. It includes special needs children in urgent need of therapeutic supports like speech and language and occupational therapy. It includes children waiting for psychology, for diagnostic scans, and much more.
“The Fianna Fáil PQ reveals how shocking the full picture really is — 215,000 children are waiting. Many are in pain, many are deteriorating while they wait. This is a damning indictment of this Government’s failures in healthcare.”
Deputy Murphy said that the figures did not reveal the full extent of the problem as many hospitals do not report waiting lists for different age groups, diagnostics waiting lists are not reported by age, and the figures do not include a huge number of children waiting for oral health preventative interventions in primary schools.