Long assessment lists for children with disabilities must be tackled – Smyth

Published on: 29 March 2018

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth has described as appalling, lengthy waiting lists for a first assessment for children with disabilities.  The latest figures from the HSE reveal that there are 128 children in Cavan and Monaghan on the list for an appointment – the highest in the HSE CHO1 area.

Deputy Smyth raised the issue in the Dáil this week.

“It is widely acknowledged that early intervention is key and critical to the success of any child facing a physical or intellectual disability, despite this there are 128 children across Cavan and Monaghan waiting for their first assessment under the Disability Act.  Even when they have had their first assessment, some parents are being told that they will have to then wait up to three years for specialised interventions such as occupational therapy and speech and language therapist.  This is staggering and a damning reflection of the dysfunction in our health service”, said Deputy Smyth.

“Parents are becoming increasingly frustrated with the delays in the system and children’s outcomes are being compromised.  The scale of the lists in Cavan and Monaghan is particularly worrying – it’s one of the highest outside of Dublin and Cork.

“This is World Autism Awareness Week.  I know from his visit to Cavan-Monaghan that Minister Finian McGrath’s heart is in the right place, but he needs to start tackling the serious problems that are affecting our disability and health services.  I am urging him, along with Minister Harris to seriously examine these figures and to secure the resources to reduce these lists so that people with disabilities, both children and adults, are given all the supports they need to live the fullest possible lives”.

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