Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Disability, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony TD has said that progress and action must be delivered in Budget 2019 on reducing the scandalous delays facing children with disabilities as they try to secure an Assessment of Need

Deputy Murphy O’Mahony was commenting as new figures released to her show that the number of overdue assessments has now increased to 4,042.

“Without an Assessment of Needs, children with disabilities cannot access basic services such as speech and language therapy, or obtain SNA support while in school

“Last week, reports that 3,850 children were waiting generated considerable concern and debate. The fact that there has been an increase of almost 200 overdue assessments underscores the urgent need to take action on the matter on Budget Day.

“The rules are clear – an assessment of need should be concluded within six months of the initial application but this is getting rarer and rarer due to a lack of staff and resources.

“Close to 1,600 of the overdue assessments are from the Cork region alone. Children in the city and county seem to suffer disproportionately in terms of access to disability and mental health services. For example, of the 745 children waiting a year plus for initial speech and language therapy, 226 of them are in Cork. Similarly almost two thirds of long waiters for a CAMHS appointment are in Cork and Kerry.

“There clearly are major issues and blockages in the system. It is crucial that, come Budget Day, we hear concrete plans to reduce the stress and alleviate the suffering of so many children and their families who desperately need assessments to ensure that they get the services and treatments they need,” concluded Murphy O’Mahony.