Laois children facing unacceptable waits for psychologists

Laois children facing unacceptable waits for psychologists

1304 Children in Laois/Offaly waiting to be seen by Psychologist- Stanley

Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley is “calling for action to be taken to address the huge backlog of children to be seen by a psychologist in Laois and Offaly.

Deputy Stanley says “The current waiting list is scandalous and totally unacceptable. A total of 1304 children are waiting for an appointment in the two counties, 682 of whom are in Laois and 622 in Offaly.

The worst part of this is, that there are a staggering 801 children waiting more than one year to be seen and assessed for appropriate treatment and interventions. Laois has the highest figure, standing at 427 with 374 in Offaly.  

With figures like this we are storing up problems for the future. It is widely accepted that early assessments and intervention are critical in terms of a child’s overall development. Delayed interventions or lack of services at early and critical stages of a child’s development are missed opportunities and lead to other more complex issues in later life.

While the Covid Emergency may have added some to the waiting lists and delays in services, nonetheless it doesn’t explain the scandalous delays. It’s vitally important that the matter is addressed, and the necessary measures put in place.

Our children are suffering while having to wait too long to access psychological services

I have raised this with the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and HSE management and they inform me that there are just two fulltime HSE employed psychologists on Laois/Offaly and that this is supplemented with 2 temporary agency staff. A fulltime HSE psychologist is due to return to the service in Laois next year.

I am very concerned about the current level of intervention and I intend to keep pressing for significant improvements in services”.