Latest Laois News: ‘Out of Control’ Assessment of needs Waiting Lists in Laois says local TD
Laois Offaly Waiting Lists for ‘Assessment of needs’ are out of control – Deputy Stanley
Local Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley has said that the “current situation regarding assessment of children for autism, psychological services and learning difficulties, has to be addressed”.
Speaking in the Dáil this week the Deputy outlined the problem:
“Waiting lists for assessments of need for children across Laois-Offaly have been spiralling out of control for years. In Laois-Offaly, according to figures supplied by the HSE, just 17% of assessments of need applications were completed within the legal timeframe of six months. Overall, in CHO 8, the figure is 16%. These are shockingly poor outcomes.
A constituent of mine contacted me this week and told me, as she did again this morning, about her situation. She is a single parent working full-time. She has a six-year-old girl with a learning disability. She is paying a mortgage and needs a car to travel to work at the other end of the county. She is paying privately for physiotherapy and occupational therapy for her daughter. Her child has been referred for an autism assessment and the mother said she just cannot afford much more and is watching her child suffer. That child will now most likely be forced to go private to get the assessment she needs, which will cost more than €1,000. Many parents are borrowing the money for these assessments. The Minister of State, Deputy Butler, hears of such cases and I hear of them. That is the reality on the ground.’’
“Sinn Féin has committed to trying to put forward proposals to end the constant battle of trying to get children’s needs assessed. This evening we are putting forward our firm, constructive proposals. We are calling for a roadmap to be produced which would ensure that all children will receive a comprehensive assessment of need within the timeframes set down in the Disability Act, not a makey-up assessment that just clears a waiting list, after which a further assessment is required, as previous speakers have outlined.
Sinn Féin is also calling for a plan to be established – this is very important – to recruit and develop adequate numbers of health and social care professionals to deliver services in line with best practices. We need that pipeline, and we have amplified that issue here a number of times. ‘’
“That is a concrete proposal we are making. Our 2022 budget proposals include costings for more than 150 additional psychologists, 100 occupational therapists and 250 speech and language therapists. That is the least we can do to ensure that children are not left behind in their early years and that this intervention is made at that really important point in time in their lives”.