Earlier this month, we reported that a number of surgeries at Temple Street Children’s Hospital were postponed due to a lack of beds, and the impact is clear to see in the story of Alanna Conroy.


The 13-year-old, from Wexford, has Down syndrome and severe scoliosis (a curvature of the spine), and she has been waiting 20 months for a surgical procedure that her family hopes will change her life.


Geared up and ready to go in for the six-hour procedure, during which two titanium bars were to be inserted into her back, and Alanna received the call she never expected – her surgery had been cancelled at the last minute.


Speaking to the Irish Times, mum Janet recalled the moment she got the call: “The woman said she was sorry to tell me that Alanna’s operation would have to be cancelled. I challenged it and said I wanted a concrete reason and she said that within the last 24 hours they had a lot of admissions.”



As it turned out, a spike in admissions of babies with respiratory problems led to a lack of beds, meaning that Alanna’s procedure had to be rescheduled.


Addressing the deep-rooted issue here – the lack of appropriate Government funding and support for Irish hospitals - Alanna’s surgeon expressed his frustration to the Irish Independent.


Prof Damien McCormack said: “I am very saddened that urgent elective surgical patients, and especially children with pain and deformity, are allowed to suffer in this way. What will it take for society to realise that the public health service is dying on the vine?”


It will be interesting to see if An Taoiseach will have a response.