Dáil debates

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions


12:20 pm

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Deputy. On behalf of the Government, I reiterate that reducing the scoliosis waiting list and the spinal surgery waiting list is a priority for Government. It is important to say the HSE's service plan for 2022 has not yet been approved or published. The HSE is aware of the level of priority the Government, and indeed all parties, attach to this issue. The Minister for Health will shortly bring the service plan to Government for approval. The plan will include very significant investment in 2022 to increase scoliosis surgery capacity at Cappagh Kids, Temple Street and Crumlin hospitals.

The HSE has received a number of specific proposals from Children's Health Ireland on scoliosis and will be in a position to fund these proposals. The full details will be confirmed in the service plan when it is published. The Minister recently met scoliosis clinicians and patient advocates to discuss this with them, and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Michael McGrath, wished me to re-emphasise that he is allocating €22.2 billion next year for health. That is the largest budget for health in the history of the State. It is probably 50% greater than it was only a few years ago. However, as I have learned in trying to deal with that issue, both as Minister for Health and as Taoiseach, it is not just about money. The money will be allocated for these developments in these three hospitals but as we will all find out, it is not just a matter of money. Sadly, it is much more complicated than that.


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