Over 2,000 children under the age of five are on waiting list, help us change this
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Under the Disability Act, 2005, Assessment of Need applications should begin within 3 months of being received by the HSE and finished with all reports done within 6 months . Currently the wait to be assessed is 18+ months with no help or interventions available afterward.
Over 2,000 vulnerable children under the age of five are waiting to be assessed for occupational therapy, damning new figures reveal. In addition, nearly 850 people are now waiting over 18 months for speech and language treatment.
In total, some 8,580 people are in the queue to be seen by a specialist.
Waiting lists are most acute in Laois, Offaly, Carlow, Kilkenny and Roscommon, as well as parts of Dublin and Cork.
Out of approximately 8,580 patients nationally waiting for an initial speech and language therapy session, some 2,322 are based in Dublin.
HSE figures reveal 1,434 are located in Wexford, while 1,165 are waiting for treatment in Cork. Meanwhile, figures for those seeking an initial assessment with a speech and language therapist paint an equally bleak picture - with over 13,380 people countrywide languishing on waiting lists. Some 4,108 of these are based in the capital, with 433 in Limerick and 696 in Laois/Offaly.
A recent report by Inclusion Ireland finds that a child's access to speech and language therapy is greatly influenced by where they live.
Wexford and Donegal have more than 300 children - classified as having complex needs - for each speech and language therapist available.
This is in contrast to the areas designated as Cork South Lee and Wicklow, which have less than 100 such children for each specialist employed.
Inclusion Ireland has also discovered that this country is in breach of the recommended number of children who should be assigned to each therapist.
No health area in Ireland comes close to meeting the suggested therapist/child ratio. The national average is 162 children per therapist - but according to international research this figure should be between 30 and 65. In order for Ireland to meet international standards the number of speech and language therapists working in children's disability services would have to at least double from its current level of 283 to 565.
According to the report, another problem is that as many as 10% of speech and language therapy staff may be on leave, at any given time. This includes maternity leave, leave of absence, and illness leave.
New HSE figures also show the number of occupational therapists employed by the State has increased by 192 in the past five years. An additional 125 physiotherapists, 234 psychologists, and 69 speech and therapy specialists, were taken on over the same period. Overall, 619 extra staff are now employed in the disability sector to deal with children and adults requiring treatment in this area.
However despite the increase in staffing numbers, extensive waiting lists remain. Inclusion Ireland research shows some families are incurring a serious financial burden, by having to pay for services they cannot obtain through the public system.
The protest, named Enough is Enough will target key HSE buildings across the country where services should be provided and help should be given to children and their families. A national petition, supporting the need for change in the HSE, is being signed by families across Ireland. The HSE are failing our children miserably and even breaking the law but still, things don’t seem to be changing.
This petition aims to let the Government know that parents are unwilling to accept the lack of services any longer. Parents, family and friends will no longer stand for unanswered phone calls or unreturned messages. Families will no longer stand for psychologists, occupational therapists, child psychiatrists not being appointed to positions.
CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) around the country are failing our children, the list is endless. This has become the norm and this petition along with other aspects of the Enough is Enough campaign aims to change that.
“We’re going round in circles with the HSE” says Trina Murphy, Cork, whose son has Autism Spectrum Disorder. “We’ve been to the disability appeals officer twice, who has ordered the HSE to make funds available to assess our son but it still hasn’t happened. We’re more than 12 month waiting. We have had to invest in private assessments so that our son will have the resources he needs going to school. If we waited for the HSE he would start school in September with no support. We’re only one of thousands of families in this situation and paying for expensive private therapies while the HSE won’t even answer a phone call”
Marches are planned for Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Wexford, Kildare, Sligo, Donegal and Westmeath with more locations to be added. Anybody interested in joining the march or finding out more information can contact us through the national campaign facebook page www.facebook.com/ourvoicetheirfuture We are our children’s voices for their futures and we will be heard
This Nationwide Event is to highlight the extremely poor services that are currently provided by the HSE and subsequently OUR government. These Marches are for every Person/ Family in Ireland effected by outrageously long wait times for appointments, intervention and a general lack of services available to children and families with special needs.
~~ WE WANT THIS TO BE NOTICED
~~WE WANT THIS TO BE CHANGED
~~WE ARE FIGHTING FOR CHANGE AND NEED YOUR HELP!
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
The appalling treatment of children with disabilities by the HSE is to be highlighted in protest marches taking place in locations nationwide on Monday April 3rd at 10am.
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