Updated: 05/05/17 : 11:48:21
Printable Version   Bookmark and Share Share This

national

Children sent overseas as life-saving machines are available in Ireland

Thirty children with respiratory and heart defects have been sent abroad for life-saving treatment over the past five years, despite the technology being available in Ireland.

Figures obtained by RTÉ’s Morning Ireland show the Health Service Executive spent nearly €6m getting what is known as ECMO treatment for children in Sweden and the UK.

An ECMO machine provides life-saving treatment for children with heart and respiratory problems.

Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, has three of the machines, which are currently being used for children with heart problems.

However, children with respiratory defects are sent abroad for treatment.

The hospital said it is not funded by the HSE to provide ECMO treatment to children with respiratory illnesses.

It said a business case for the possible commencement of the treatment is being drawn up and will be submitted to the HSE for possible funding.

In a statement, the HSE said there are no plans at present to provide funding for this treatment.

The HSE said a 2012 external review of paediatric critical care in Ireland "recommended as a priority the development of Paediatric Critical Care Retrieval service for the transport of critically ill children from hospitals outside of Dublin to either Our Lady's Childrens' Hospital or Childrens' University Hospital in advance of the repatriation of respiratory ECMO services."

RTÉ