New figures released to Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher show that 1,580 people have been waiting more than a year for commencement of therapy.
At the same time just 27 additional speech and language therapists have been recruited in 2015
“It is clear that the service is totally under resourced despite the 2015 HSE Service Plan pledging an additional 120 (whole time equivalent) staff in the disability area,” pointed out Deputy Kelleher.
He added: “Exposure to speech and language therapy can be of huge benefit to those who need it, but it needs to be done as soon as possible, especially where children are involved.”
According to the figures released to Deputy Kelleher, at the end of August this year 12,835 people were awaiting assessment. Another 8,363 are awaiting treatment. “Children of course dominate the waiting lists and it is troubling to think that they are not getting access to these services in a speedy manner.
“It is absolutely vital that a renewed recruitment drive is undertaken immediately in this important area. Early intervention can have life-long benefit,” said Deputy Kelleher.