Local Fianna Fáil TD John Curran has called on the Health Service Executive to intervene to address rocketing waiting lists for Occupational Therapy appointments in Dublin West.

Figures recently released to Fianna Fáil show that almost 30,000 people nationally are waiting for a first assessment for occupational therapy; over 1,000 of these are in the Dublin HSE West area.

Commenting on the figures he said, “Occupational therapy is an essential service that assists those living with an injury or disability to go about their everyday lives.

“Over half of those on the waiting list are aged under 17 and quite disturbingly, 188 of these children are waiting more than a year. It is inexcusable that so many young people have been waiting so long for an assessment in our area for such critical therapy.

“Another disquieting aspect of these figures is the number people aged over 65 that have been waiting long periods. Almost 400 elderly people across Dublin West are waiting for a first assessment.

He added, “We need to bear in mind too that this is just a waiting list for an assessment. Once this hurdle is overcome, there may then be a further waiting list for actual therapy.

“Waiting such long periods of time for assessment can have a detrimental impact on people’s quality of life and treatment outcomes, especially in the case of very young children when early intervention is crucial.

“Tackling these waiting lists must be a priority in the 2018 HSE Service Plan,” concluded Deputy Curran.