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Parents protest over scoliosis surgery delays

Parents who say their children are being “let down” because of delays over surgery for scoliosis and other orthopaedic conditions have protested outside Leinster House and said a taskforce to tackle the problem must be statutory.

Their demonstration took place ahead of a motion being tabled by Sinn Féin in the Dáil which demanded immediate Government action on services for children awaiting surgery.

The party’s health spokesperson David Cullinane condemned “the lack of engagement and consultation” with children and their families and he warned that trust has broken down.

He described how children are “waiting in agony for years on end” for essential surgery.

Tabling an amendment, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly acknowledged that there have been ongoing failings in these services but said increased investment has led to “a very significant and important increase” in the number of surgeries taking place.

He said the challenge now is to accelerate this.

PBP Solidarity TD Paul Murphy told the Dáil it was a national scandal that children with scoliosis are being “failed in a brutal way” by the State.

Some of the children at the protest today

Advocacy groups, largely made up of parents whose children are awaiting surgery, described their anguish as they continue to campaign for more timely care for their children.

They also reiterated the risks around delaying treatment for conditions like scoliosis.

Amanda O’Rourke said her son Hugh has been waiting over ten years for treatment. The 19-year-old described the impact it has had on his life both physically, because of the pain, and also on his mental health.

Eddie Brett carried a placard he made himself with the words “Stop the Pain”.

He said he wishes his friends could get the surgery they need so they are no longer in this situation where they are suffering.

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