Order of Business – 26th October 2016
“I wish to raise the issue of children with arthritis waiting for appointments. The number of children waiting more than 18 months to see an expert in juvenile arthritis has increased from 22 to 110 between January and the end of August this year. That is a 400% increase in the number of children and teenagers waiting at least 18 months. Figures released up to the end of August reveal that a total of 565 children are still waiting to be seen by one of only two specialists in this area. If left untreated, juvenile arthritis can quickly lead to permanent joint damage, muscle wastage and the deformity, not to mention the trauma a child and his or her family experience as a result. With this condition, it is vital that children are seen as soon as possible by a rheumatologist. Irreparable damage can be caused to joints while this waiting continues, in addition to damage of an emotional nature.
Two consultants are based in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin, and they provide care to more than 1,200 children aged between three and 16 suffering with this condition. Ireland has only two paediatric rheumatology consultants and we are ranked as having one of the lowest number of paediatric rheumatologists in Europe. I join Arthritis Ireland in calling on the Minister for Health, Deputy Harris, to appoint a third consultant to this area. Allowing children to continue to suffer is simply not acceptable. I plead with the Leader to bring this matter to the attention of the Minister, Deputy Harris.”