al of 162 chemotherapy appointments for children were cancelled during a three-month period this year.
Figures from the Health Service Executive also show that during the months of July, August and September, 198 other chemotherapy appointments were also cancelled.
During that same period – the last quarter of 2022 – a total of 48 dialysis appointments were cancelled. All of those were scheduled to take place at Cork University Hospital.
The HSE said that high attendance numbers in emergency departments can lead to the cancellation of scheduled care appointments.
Other unforeseen circumstances, such as infection outbreaks, can also lead to appointments being cancelled.
Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Health David Cullinane, who received the figures through parliamentary questions, said overcrowding is the main driver of cancellations.
“The fact that 162 chemotherapy appointments for children with cancer were cancelled in the last few months is a shameful indictment of the Government’s failure to invest in our children’s hospitals,” he said.
In urgent cases, appointments must be rescheduled within one week. In semi-urgent and non-urgent cases, they should be, where possible, rescheduled within three weeks.
The charity, Childhood Cancer Ireland, said that improvements are needed.
Its general manager Laura Cullinan said that “any delay, even for a few days, can cause a lot of distress and uncertainty for families”.