Wednesday, 18 December 2019
Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation
Given all the Taoiseach said on Leaders' Questions, I am sure he must be aware of the case of Eoin Ward, who has been on a waiting list for four years for a scoliosis operation. His mother was on "Prime Time" last night. It was probably the last place she wanted to be because her son's operation was postponed again. It had to be deferred last week because of a shortage of intensive care nurses at the time. I hope the operation will take place soon. Eoin has 94% curvature and, at 16 years of age, is in great pain. This should give the Taoiseach cause for thought and reflection before he just reels off statistics and figures about the health service. The boy's mother, Catriona, said that the pressure on the nurses in Temple Street is ridiculous, as is the number of hours they are expected to work. I refer in particular to the pressures emanating from the emergency departments in the children's hospital.
Deputy Donnelly produced figures that were presented by the Department and the HSE in regard to children's waiting times across the board, including for therapies and a range of specialties. They are quite shocking and represent a damning indictment of Government policy. That is why the HSE service plan is very worrying in terms of additional capacity in 2020. It seems to me from the remarks of the CEO and the actual plan itself that, in terms of home help hours, children services and so on, 2020 is going to be an extremely difficult year for the health services. We need a debate in the House as soon as we come back after Christmas, on 15 January, if we come back. The service plan should be number one on the agenda, in addition to what it entails for the health service and for children like Eoin Ward in 2020.