Local Fianna Fáil TD, John Curran has said that the reluctance to recruit much needed Occupational Therapists is leaving children in Dublin West on waiting lists for critical therapy.

Earlier this year, figures obtained by the Deputy revealed that over 1,000 people in the Dublin HSE West area are waiting for a first assessment for occupational therapy. The largest cohorts of people waiting for assessment by an Occupational Therapist in the HSE Dublin West area are children and teenagers.

In further information received by the Deputy this week through parliamentary question the HSE has confirmed that they are in the process of recruiting just one full time position to get to grips with the number of children waiting the longest for first time assessment.

He commented, “The continued failure to recruit therapists to fulfil demands is giving rise to excessive waiting lists which is the root cause of the problem in our area.

“There appears to be a severe lack of urgency to recruit staff to deal with these delays which have occurred in the first instance because the appropriate staffing level was never reached.

“It is important to bear in mind too that this is just a waiting list for an initial assessment. Once this hurdle is overcome, there may then be further waiting lists to receive follow on treatment or support.

“Waiting such long periods of time for assessment and potential future treatment can have a detrimental impact on people’s quality of life and treatment outcomes, especially in the case of very young children when early intervention is most crucial.

“The problem can be easily fixed by hiring more therapists and ensuring services are adequately resourced. Tackling these waiting lists must be a priority in the 2018 HSE Service Plan,” concluded Deputy Curran.