Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth is warning of seriously delayed treatments for people with disabilities as waiting lists for assessments for a range of specialties.

Deputy Smyth explained, “I have been contacted by a number of GPs who have expressed deep frustration with the current system of assessment, and who are worried about outcomes for their patients.  They claim there are more than 600 children waiting in the Cavan-Monaghan area for an occupational therapy appointment.

“Some parents are now choosing to go private for these appointments because they have lost faith in the system and are worried that unless they pay to have their child seen, it could be months before they are assessed.  This is placing a huge financial burden on them, with many of them ill-able to afford the costs of private healthcare.

“While I recently welcomed the appointment of an Assessment of Needs Officer to Cavan-Monaghan Disability Services, the concerns being raised by these doctors cannot be ignored.  Last week, Fianna Fáil revealed the fact that there are almost one million people on waiting lists in our health service – this is scandalous.

“We are all aware that early intervention is essential.  Last month the HSE confirmed to me that a strategic plan to recruit additional staff for the Cavan-Monaghan Disability Services.  Progress must be made on this issue and I am calling on the Minister and the HSE to expedite these appointments in a bid to reduce these unacceptably long waiting lists”.