Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly Barry Cowen has criticised the Government for its failure to deliver additional resources for children waiting to access Occupational Therapy.
There are currently more than 900 children under the age of 18 in the Laois – Offaly area waiting for more than a year for occupational therapy assessment.
Deputy Cowen said, “Failure to provide occupational therapy for children in need of assistance can have a detrimental impact on their overall development. It’s simply unacceptable that over 900 children in the Laois – Offaly have been stuck on assessment waiting lists for over a year. It clearly shows that children are being denied access to services which they need to improve the quality of their lives.
“I have raised this issue with Minister for Health Simon Harris and have been informed that the current backlog is as a result of the reduction in the availability of Occupational Therapy resources. The decision by the previous Fine Gael Government to slash spending in the health service is continuing to have a detrimental impact on the delivery of frontline services.
“Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath gave a firm commitment to increase Occupational Therapy resources while at a meeting with local representatives in Offaly. This commitment remains unfulfilled. It’s deeply disappointing that Occupational Therapy services in Offaly remain chronically under-resourced, especially considering the fact that a local Government Deputy is currently a Junior Health Minister. It indicates that this issue simply isn’t a priority for the current Government.
“Fianna Fáil secured a commitment under the Confidence and Supply Arrangement to facilitate a minority Government for improved investment in healthcare. The Government needs to fulfil its side of the agreement by honouring this commitment. We need to see a big increase in Occupational Therapy resources. It’s simply unacceptable that 900 children are currently waiting over a year for Occupational Therapy assessment,” concluded Deputy Cowen.