Vice President of the Irish Hospitals Consultants Association Dr. Gabrielle Colleran has stated that there are over 100,000 children on waiting lists and that the delays are having a serious impact on children’s development and overall outcomes.
Dr. Colleran stated that 106,000 children are awaiting treatment, assessment or diagnostic tests with 8,000 children awaiting CT’s, ultrasounds or MRIs.
She stated that this delay is causing a disruption in the diagnosis of autism, hearing loss and speech issues.
These disruptions can have a dramatic impact on a child’s development as well as how they are socialising and learning in schools.
Colleran said that there are “huge consequences across a lifespan if we let children down at this early stage”.
“We just have to do better”, she said while stating how one pre-teen who was referred to her with a neurological condition had been offered an appointment in 2035.
Shannon-based GP Dr. Yvonne Williams said that the government does not seem to have the will and the financial backing to fix the issue of children’s waiting lists.
She added that there was a lot of children who missed their development checks in the early stages of their lives, with the most vulnerable children being the ones who are most likely to have a delayed diagnosis.
Williams said, “It’s very hard to know if your three-year-old is ignoring you because they’re busy playing a game and they’re having fun, or whether there’s actually a problem there. Hearing is so crucial for speech and for development and for social skills that go with that.”