Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith says a concerted effort must be made by the government and the HSE to reduce waiting lists for initial assessments.

New figures released to his Party reveal that there are 1,458 children and adults in Cavan and Monaghan waiting for an initial assessment for Speech & Language therapy and Occupational Therapy.  There are 509 children waiting over a year for a first time Occupational Therapy assessment.

Deputy Smith said, “Lengthy waiting lists have become a feature of our health service, but forcing children and adults to wait months on end for initial appointments could have seriously detrimental impacts on treatments and outcomes.  The fact that so many children are on the OT waiting list for over one year is very worrying.  This is a source of major stress and anxiety for their parents.

“Over the past seven years we have seen waiting lists rocket.  Despite successive health budgets, and declarations from the Health Minister of record budget allocations, waiting lists are getting longer, not shorter.

“People are sick and tired of hearing the government claim that money isn’t the problem in the health service. It’s an attempt to deflect from its failure to recruit and retain the staff needed to provide these basic services and therapies.

“When people, adults and children, receive delayed interventions, it negatively affects their quality of life, and potentially risks them not making a full recovery in some circumstances.

“We need the government to adopt a more strategic plan to address the challenges facing our health service, with a real focus on recruitment and retention.  The current plan is simply not working”, concluded Deputy Smith.