Dublin West Fianna Fáil TD, Jack Chambers has said that the Minister for Health must respond to the considerable delays being faced by children across the country in accessing essential Occupational Therapy services.
Deputy Chambers was commenting after receiving new information from the HSE which indicates that children, in particular those aged between five and 18 years, are left waiting for their first appointment with an occupational therapist.
He said, “Occupational Therapy is a crucial rehabilitation process for children who may have suffered an accident or injury or who are living with a disability.
“In other cases, parents may be concerned their child is showing delays in developing some skills but can find it difficult to identify if theirchild needs OT until a full evaluation is completed.
“Forcing children and their families to wait considerable lengths of time to have an assessment of their needs could pose serious issues for their development and quality of life in terms of early intervention.
“Many of these children will go on to struggle with poor motor skills while waiting inordinate periods of time to access OT services to improve their varying ability.
“It is highly plausible that by leaving these children without initial assessment, their symptoms are being exacerbated.
“This is in no way reasonable. No explanation can justify continually jeopardising the healthy growth and development of Irish children.
“Questions need to be asked as to why such high numbers of children are being unfairly treated by the HSE and this Fine Gael led Government.
“These backlogs cannot be accepted as standard and must be alleviated before even more children are left affected; this requires an urgent response from both the HSE and the Minister for Health.
“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,” concluded Chambers.