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Children’s Health Ireland Statement: Scoliosis

Children’s Health Ireland Statement: Scoliosis

June 29, 2023

All CHI locations

Service updates

Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) fully accepts the report published today, Thursday 29th June, by the Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO), ‘Scoliosis Treatment for Ivy: The effectiveness of the HSE multi-disciplinary planning process by Children’s Health Ireland at Temple Street in providing scoliosis treatment.’

CHI also wishes to acknowledge that the report gives an important voice to one of our patients, and we thank Ivy and her family for sharing their experience. CHI cannot comment further on this individual case, but arrangements have been made for the Clinical Directorate team to meet with Ivy and her family to discuss the learnings from the report.

CHI is fully committed to maintaining the highest possible levels of quality care, access to services, and open communications for the children and young people we care for. CHI developed 14 actions and new processes to improve communication and waiting list processes in light of this report. These actions have already been progressed to improve the quality of our service:

  • 72% of the actions in the OCO report have been completed within the planned timeframe
  • 3 actions are due for imminent completion within the coming weeks
  • 3 actions are not due to close until September/October

There are currently 29 patients in CHI at Temple Street awaiting spinal fusion surgery (June 2023 and excluding suspensions). CHI acknowledges that there are lengthy waiting times for some of these surgeries, and our Clinical Nurse Specialists are in direct contact with these 29 patients and families about their treatment plans. We are working to improve capacity through the implementation of the Scoliosis and Spina Bifida Action Plan. Further developments in 2023 to include additional beds and theatre capacity will significantly improve progress in waiting time targets.

“Openly communicating and engaging with patients and their families is an absolute priority for Children’s Health Ireland and is in the best interest of the children and young people we treat. Direct patient and family contact will remain the priority for our staff working with our Orthopaedic patients. Both CHI at Crumlin and CHI at Temple Street have dedicated contacts in place for parents and guardians, where they can reach Clinical Nurse Specialists who are known to our patients and families waiting for spinal surgery, and who can answer queries in relation to their child’s scoliosis care plan.
Chief Executive of Children’s Health Ireland, Eilísh Hardiman.

As an additional action, new patient information materials will be developed by CHI, as committed in the OCO’s report, by July 2023 to enhance awareness of points of contact for support within the Orthopaedic service and also to advise on steps to take if a parent or guardian is concerned about their child’s condition.


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