People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny recently tabled a Parliamentary Question asking the Minister for Health to clarify how many Speech and Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists are available to children with an Intellectual Disability in the Dublin Mid-West constituency.
Deputy Kenny also wished to know the number of children who are on the waiting list to see them, the current waiting period.In response, the Health Service Executive confirmed that there are currently just four Occupational Therapists in the post. Two additional therapists have been promised by 16th May 2016 and another in September 2016.
Deputy Kenny was also informed that 690 children are currently on the Occupational Therapy waiting lists with times of up to 18-24 months from the date of referral.
There are also currently just seven Speech & Language Therapists in post in the area with 363 children on the waiting list of up to 12-18 months from date of referral.
Responding to these figures, Deputy Kenny said that “these waiting list figures are pretty damning, particularly for families and children who need to access services that are absolutely vital. Early intervention is key for a child at a young age to access these services. A year and a half to two year waiting list will have a detrimental effect to that child’s ability to develop at that young age.”
“Time is of the essence and these waiting lists are simply not acceptable. There should be no more than a three month wait for Speech and Language therapy and we’ll be calling on the relevant Minister to address this issue. I aim to make this a very important political issue in the course of this Dail. It’s in everyone’s interests in Dublin Mid-West that these waiting times for these vital services are cut dramatically for early intervention.”