Crowe calls Minister for Health to end Speech & Language supports delay
Sinn Féin Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has called on the Minister for Health Simon Harris to prioritise and address the long waiting list for children with profound needs in accessing speech and language supports. There is currently a 42 month delay in the Dublin South West area.
Deputy Crowe believes that the continued failure to fill key posts is the main factor in the delays and is calling for some of the new 100 therapy posts that have been allocated in last year’s budget to be allocated to the CHO7 area where the need clearly is, which includes his own constituency.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“The Minister for Health Simon Harris needs to prioritise and address the growing problem of access to speech and language supports for children in the Dublin South West area.
“It is absolutely appalling that a child with profound and complex needs now has to wait 42 months to get the attention of a team for its needs to be assessed and then hopefully addressed.
“There are currently 297 on that waiting list, with a further 80 awaiting screening, giving a total of 377 children awaiting multi-disciplinary services from the HSE in the Dublin South West School Age Team.
“In a reply I received from the HSE, they admit that there has been no movement in the waiting list in the last 11 months due to the volume of children that are transitioning from the Early Intervention Service, the capacity caseloads of team members, the delays in filling of vacancies and maternity leave positions and one can surmise that there are no replacements for staff out sick.
“There is currently no Team Manager, the Staff Grade Education Psychologist is vacant from December 14th, no Staff Grade Psychologist, no Staff Grade Occupational Therapist, and many other key positions remain to be filled.
“A significant increase in Health and Social Care professionals is required to adequately meet the demand of children in these areas.
“Clearly, additional resources are required to address the backlog as the School Age Team in Dublin South West is unable to meet the current and growing demand for help.
“The latest census would suggest that demand with an increase in population and the increasing prevalence of disability will increase, not decrease, in the time ahead.
“Families and parents are at their wits end with some having to meet the shortfall through private, and often costly, alternatives. This is not an option for the majority of people whose children are on this long list.
“The policy of early intervention is not working if children have to wait 42 months to get access to a Team and God knows how long the wait is for speech and language supports.
“I am calling on the Minister for Health and the HSE to allocate some of the new 100 therapy posts that have been agreed in last year’s budget to be allocated to the CHO7 where need is clearly evident.”