Children with scoliosis waiting over two years for operations

Young people affected by the curvature of the spine are developing breathing difficulties and stomach problems while waiting for surgery,

Newstalk, scoliosis, children, operations, surgery, hospital, HSE, health service

File photo: Crumlin Children's Hospital

Children with spinal curvatures known as scoliosis are being forced to wait for over two years for surgery

There are currently 180 children waiting for treatment at Crumlin Children's Hospital, but the hospital can only cope with 58 cases a year.

The HSE's Service Plan for 2016 outlines a commitment to double the number of pediatric scoliosis operations currently being carried out in the State. 

While that development is being welcomed, it still will not clear all of the delays - and authorities admit the targets are aspirational rather than hard and fast.

Scoliosis is a progressive condition, so it is important that the child is treated as quickly as possible.

Parents of affected children believe the difficulties they face in securing treatment are being compounded by the fact that a general election is coming and health authorities do not know who the next Minister for Health will be. 

Newstalk Breakfast reporter Kieran Cuddihy has been speaking to people on that waiting list.

Sufferers speak

Molly Nolan (14), a second year student at the De la Salle in Bagnelstown, Co Carlow, was diagnosed after she was in a car accident in October of 2013 - she has been on the waiting list since then.

Her condition is now advanced enough to effect her breath.

Five planned surgeries have been cancelled.

Molly's parents have now secured private treatment for her, and she will get her operation in March of next year. In Ireland there is no option for children younger than 14, and with scoliosis, to go private.

She told Newstalk.com that other young people tease her about the shape of her back: 

Molly's Mother Avril says it is a frustrating process: 

Michelle Long's son Tommy (10), from Kilkenny, was diagnosed from birth.

One of the rods inserted into Tommy's back as part of his treatment fell out of place last May. He has now been waiting seven months for corrective surgery.

His operation has been cancelled twice. 

His lungs are now compressed and his eating is affected also:

Carmel Culhane lives in Newcastle West in Limerick with Jamie (10), who was diagnosed about 14 months ago.

He was put on an urgent list for surgery, but is still waiting to be seen.

He has developed a 70 degree curvature of the spine in that time period.

His mother realised something was wrong when she noticed that his shoulder blade was protruding after a shower.

Carmel says her son is now a quieter person, and she is worried about his mental health:

Darragh Cahill (6) suffers laboured breathing, pain in his back and legs, and vomits after meals because his stomach is being squeezed. He sleeps in his parents' bed most night.

Mum Clare spoke to Newstalk Breakfast: