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Delays in Occupational Therapy assessments

10 October, 2007

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Carál Ní Chuilín has expressed concern at the delays in seeing occupational therapists.

Figures published by the department today show that:

  • In almost 10 years (Dec 1997 to June 2007) the number of people waiting for assessment has decreased by 1%, from 7,638 at 31 December 1997 to 7,542 at 30 June 2007.
  • There has been an increase in the referrals for assessment by community occupational therapists - up 18% on the corresponding figure at 30 June 2006.
  • 25% of priority cases are waiting at least one month for their assessment and 26% of all referral are not assessed for over 6 months.

Ms Ní Chuilín said:

"Whatever way you look at this these are very worrying figures. Michael McGimpsey needs to take a look at them and see how he can tackle these unacceptable delays in assessment by occupational therapists, particularly in priority cases.

"Behind each one of these cases is a human story about the need for services, supports or adaptations to people's homes to ensure they get the quality of life that there are fully entitled too.

"I don't know if the problems with the numbers of occupational therapists are impacting on these figures or if there is also a structural problem in how the referrals and assessments are managed but the current situation means that hundreds of people are living with misery." ENDS

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