Children’s Hospital Group publishes Scoliosis 10 Point Action Plan 2018/2019 to further reduce waiting times through the development of a sustainable and equitable service.
The Children’s Hospital Group (CHG) today published its Scoliosis 10 Point Action Plan for 2018/2019. This plan, which was co-designed with the three advocacy groups – Scoliosis Advocacy Network Group (SANG), Scoliosis Support and Awareness Ireland and Scoliosis Ireland, sets out how the additional funding provided by the HSE to support children with scoliosis will be invested.
A series of prioritised measures were introduced in May 2017 to address the lengthy waiting times experienced by children and young people with scoliosis. The cumulative impact of these measures is now starting to deliver results with a consistent reduction in waiting times being recorded. By building on the structures put in place in 2017 and leveraging the additional funds allocated for 2018, a longer-term strategy has been developed to further reduce waiting times and to support the development of a sustainable and equitable service.
Since the allocation of additional HSE funding of €9.3m in 2018, the CHG has implemented prioritised actions from the Scoliosis 10 Point Action Plan ensuring that children, young people and families are central to the service redesign initiatives. The co-design process of the Action Plan also included engagement with children and young people who experienced scoliosis treatment and services. This was facilitated by the Ombudsman for Children’s Office.
Across the CHG, it is projected that a total of 447 surgical procedures will be performed in 2018, compared with 371 in 2017 across four hospitals and outsourcing patients. This increase in surgical activity has led to recent noticeable reductions at the end of June 2018 in the overall numbers of children waiting for scoliosis surgery from 307 to 206 (a 33% reduction) and the number waiting over 4 months for surgery reduced from 59 in January 2018 across 3 the hospitals to 28 at the end of June 2018 (a 53% reduction). The waiting lists for Outpatient access for scoliosis assessment at OLCH, Crumlin has also reduced from 369 to 272 (a 30% reduction) since May 2018 to the end of June. These results are welcomed and demonstrate that the strategies are delivering results. A continued focused effort will ensure that the trend continues in the right direction in the years ahead. The new funded initiatives from the prioritised action plan include:
- The appointment of 20 new people to posts across multiple disciplines to support paediatric orthopaedic services implement prioritised actions from the 10 Point Action Plan leading to improved clinical pathways for scoliosis assessment and treatment.
- Recruitment of two general Paediatric Orthopaedic surgeons which will allow the spinal surgeons to focus on scoliosis cases (expected to be appointed by year end).
- Additional MRI capacity in OLCH, Crumlin and the independent sector to speed up pre-operation decision making and reduce waiting times for access to surgery.
- Enhanced Multi-Disciplinary Teams in OLCH, Crumlin and Temple Street CUH, which will facilitate a more holistic patient and family centred approached to care for this patient group.
These initiatives and developments have meant that the use of overseas services has reduced in 2018 as activity and capacity has increased within the Children’s Hospital Group and Cappagh Hospital.
Brian O’Mahony, Chief Executive, Irish Hemophilia Society and Independent Chair of the Scoliosis Co-Design Group said: “I want to acknowledge the work of the members of the Scoliosis Co-Design Group for giving of their time and valuable experience. Their recommendations assisted in the designing of a contemporary, patient-centered approach. The impact of the Action Plan is now reflected both in how the services are planned and delivered and are leading to improvements in waiting times and care for scoliosis patients.”
Commenting on the publication of the Scoliosis 10 Point Action Plan 2018/2019, Eilísh Hardiman, Chief Executive, Children’s Hospital Group said: “I am pleased to confirm that progress continues to be made in 2018 to reduce the numbers and the length of time children and young people are waiting for scoliosis surgery. With investment received in 2018 for additional resources and the prioritised actions from the work of the Scoliosis Co-Design Group, our aim is to develop a long-term, integrated, equitable and sustainable paediatric orthopaedic service across the group that our children and young people and their families deserve. While progress has been made, we remain fully focused on our efforts to ensure that we secure further reductions in waiting times. I want to recognise the dedication of the teams in OLCH, Crumlin and in Temple Street whose efforts have led to the improvements we are reporting today and who will be central to the delivery of improvements over the years ahead.”