A record 100,089 children are now on some form of National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) waiting list.
One in 12 children are now on some form of hospital waiting list across the country as consultant vacancies increase, according to the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA).
Meanwhile, an additional 8,300 children are awaiting diagnostic scans at three Dublin children’s hospitals not included in NTPF waiting lists.
Almost one in five consultant paediatric posts are vacant or filled on a temporary basis, according to the IHCA.
The association has called for stalled consultant contract talks to be reconvened with the replacement Independent Chair to address the consultant recruitment crisis and bring waiting lists down.
IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine: “For the first time, the monthly NTPF figures have recorded over 100,000 children on waiting lists for hospital care, with more than one in three of these children waiting longer than a year to be treated or assessed by a Consultant. This trend is worrying and is resulting in thousands of children not getting the care they need in a timely way, and the real possibility that they will suffer health and developmental issues that could have been reversed or mitigated against if only they were seen in time.”
The IHCA said the shortage of consultants due to the difficulty in filling permanent consultant posts and decade long capacity deficits are the root causes of the "unacceptably long child waiting lists", which totalled more than 100,000 for the first time at the end of March.
More than one in three (34,342) of these children are waiting longer than a year for treatment or assessment by a hospital consultant.
The warning from consultants comes as latest National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures released today reveal that there are a record 86,400 children on outpatient waiting lists, which is an increase of more than 4,200 (5 per cent) since April 2021 when the NTPF first started to break down its outpatient lists into separate Child and Adult data.
The largest child outpatient waiting lists are in the following key specialties:
- Paediatrics - 17,241
- Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) - 16,351
- Dermatology - 9,392
- Orthopaedics - 7,253
- Ophthalmology - 5,572