Over 47,000 children waiting to see a specialist doctor in Ireland 4 weeks ago

Over 47,000 children waiting to see a specialist doctor in Ireland

Over 47,000 children are currently on waiting lists to see specialist doctors in Ireland.

New figures released by the Children's Health Ireland Hospital Group (CHI) show that the number of children waiting to see a specialist has risen by 46 percent since June 2016.

The data also showed that 19,000 children are waiting over 12 months to see a paediatrician and 5,000 are waiting to see a heart specialist.

Consultant paediatrician at Temple Street Children’s Hospital Dr Alf Nicholson said that long waiting lists have a "significant" impact on patients' lives.

“It is very unacceptable to have a waiting time of anything other than three to six months, at most, for a young child or infant to see a specialist," he said.

"Sadly, at the moment our wait times are well above that, and that is very distressing to be a part of.

“It is solvable if we bring in new specialists. Specialists that should already be a part the health service system."

According to the Irish Hospital Consultants' Association (IHCA), more paediatric consultants are desperately needed to tackle the length of waiting lists in Ireland.

At the moment, one in five permanent consultant HSE posts are vacant or filled by temporary appointments.

The ICHA's new #CARECANTWAIT campaign is working to highlight the lack of specialists available in Ireland's health service and the considerable impact this has on patients' lives.