Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Disability, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has said that the 100 extra therapists promised in Budget 2019 are still not in place.

Thirteen months ago, the Government in its Budget 2019 announcements pledged 100 new therapy posts to address assessment of need waiting lists for children with disabilities. The commitment was repeated in the HSE Service Plan published in December.

Deputy Murphy O’Mahony said, “This isn’t surprising given how much the Government love to re-announce their plans. Figures I have received through parliamentary questions show that at the end of September 2019, just 22 of the pledged 100 posts were definitely in place, with preliminary analysis showing 43 in situ in October.

“On top of this, the most recent HSE Workforce report for September shows 19 fewer therapy posts in place compared to the end of 2018.

“This is yet another example of big promises but delayed delivery on the part of Government. For fewer than half the promised posts to be in place a year later is just not good enough.

“These posts are urgently required for assessment of need waiting lists for children with disabilities. These have started to rise again with figures showing that the number of overdue Assessments of Need under the Disability Act rose from 3,568 in March to 3,768 at the end of June this year.

“What is particularly annoying about these delays is that a year is a long time in a child’s life. 1,312 kids under 5 were waiting over a year for an occupational therapy assessment last August – that’s at least a fifth of their life to date. We can’t expect early intervention from a Government that is always late”, she concluded.