Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Dara Calleary has described as scandalous the fact that more than 500 children in the county are waiting for Occupational Therapy appointments.  New information released to the Mayo Deputy reveals that there are 532 children on Early Intervention and Primary Care waiting lists for Occupational Therapy.  More than 300 of these are waiting more than one year for an appointment, while just under 100 are on the list for over two years.

Deputy Calleary said, “The length of waiting lists for children’s Occupational Therapy services is astounding.  It is deeply worrying that children are being left on waiting lists for months on end because of the Government’s failure to get to grips with problems in our health service.  Occupational Therapy is an essential rehabilitation process for children who may have suffered an accident or injury or who are living with a disability.

“Occupational Therapy has the potential to radically enhance young people’s lives, allowing them to integrate fully in society and undertake all the tasks and jobs that they need to live their daily lives.  The fact that the waiting lists are so long in Co. Mayo for assessment and intervention for Occupational Therapy is very disturbing.

“Early intervention is extremely important in ensuring the best possible outcomes for children and there is obviously a large demand for services in the Mayo region, however I am extremely worried at the length of time that children are spending on these waiting lists.  They are not conducive to best practice and need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

“I am calling on the Health Minister to establish a special taskforce to alleviate the serious backlogs in this area.  I know there have been problems with recruitment of staff but the current situation is completely unacceptable.  I have also written to the Children’s Ombudsman to highlight my concerns.

“Children should not be left bearing the brunt of this Government’s failure to get to grips with the dysfunction in our health service and the Minister must act without delay to bring these lengthy waiting lists under control”.