JDon’t leave them Behind are alarmed to see that new figures released by Michael Moynihan T.D have shown that 36,335 people are still awaiting a first time assessment for occupational therapy -including 20,996 children more than half whom have been waiting for over ayear.
These figures gathered by Michael Moynihan show long delays and expanding waiting lists for all other forms of therapy ,with children again the most impacted.
Nearly 17,000 children are awaiting their initial speech and language assessment at the end of 2020 with nearly 3,700 waiting at least a year or more .
The biggest waiting list was for physiotherapy with a remarkable 47,674 people in total awaiting an assessment as f the end of 2020
All of these HSE figure must be taken with a ” grain of salt ” as the HSE has admitted that in some areas they are not in a position to return data due to staff being redeployed to COVID 19 duties
How ironic this is as the principal reason for the increase in numbers and extension of these waiting lists is a direct result of the HSE’s policy of redeploying specialists to work on roles such as contact tracing and swabbing and removing these key staff from working in disability services .
This policy is causing huge damage to 1000s of people who require urgent assessments to ensure that they can avail of relevant services .
Don’t Leave Them Behind urged the Government to change this redeployment policy and increase the number of new recruits working on swabbing and contact tracing without any meaningful response from Government .
We now find that over 40,000 children across Ireland are waiting to access some form of speech and language therapy with over 14,000 awaiting an initial assessment -this is unacceptable and must be addressed.
Don’t Leave Them behind has long argued that Disability Services must be removed from the HSE would have little or no regard for people with disabilities and this Pandemic has clearly demonstrated that that our contention is quite correct.