Fianna Fáil has secured a special meeting of the Oireachtas Health Committee to discuss changes to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Assessment of Need for children with disabilities.

Representatives from the Psychological Society of Ireland, the Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland and advocacy group DCA Warriors will appear before the Committee this Wednesday to outline how these changes are impacting on the delivery of services.

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth has welcomed the move.

“I want to commend my colleague Margaret Murphy O’Mahony for pursuing this important issue.  It is having a serious impact on waiting lists in the Cavan-Monaghan region, with many children not being seen within the three month target time.  Parents are rightfully frustrated, and despite raising this issue time and time again with the Minister and the HSE, answers have not been forthcoming”, said Deputy Smyth.

“The delays in Cavan and Monaghan are further exacerbated by vacancies in the system.  We are still waiting for Assessment of Needs Officer to be appointed – a position which has been vacant since last September.

“The current situation cannot be allowed to continue – children are having their assessments, and therefore their care plans delayed – and there is no doubt that this is having an impact on their outcomes.  I have been calling for additional resources to be allocated to clear the backlog for some time.

“I am hopeful that the contributions on Wednesday will be the wake-up call that the Minister and the HSE need to act on this issue”.