An additional eight posts have been appointed and six are currently being recruited by the HSE to help tackle long waiting times for children with special needs who require treatment from South County
R e c e n t figures released from a parliamentary question showed that families from Lucan and Clondalkin with special needs children are left waiting longer periods than in neighbouring Dublin South West, Kildare West/Wicklow and Dublin South Central.
Responding to the figures, a spokesperson from the HSE said: “The number of referrals for assessment of need and treatment under the Disability Act 2005 are substantially higher in Dublin West than in the other areas within CH07 due to the demographics of that area.
“In order to address the level of referrals being received by Dublin West, an additional eight posts across the various clinical disciplines were appointed in late 2015.
“An additional six posts are currently being recruited for appointment during 2016. “Accordingly it is
envisaged that waiting times for assessment and treatment will reduce significantly in 2016.
“Naturally, the HSE aspires to providing a consistent standard of service across all areas and this service improvement will contribute towards this goal,” said the spokesperson.
At Rosse Court Resource Centre, Lucan there are currently 51 children waiting to access the Early Bird Programme; 203 children waiting for speech and language therapy; 231 children waiting for occupational therapy and 173 children waiting for psychological support.
At the Beechpark Service, Tallaght, there are currently 50 children waiting to access the Early Bird Programme; and 37 pre-school age children and 72 school age children waiting to access Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Psychology.
According to the HSE, the length of time children can be waiting to access these programmes range from
up to 18 months for the Early Bird Programme, up to 23 months for speech and language therapy, up to 24 months for occupational therapy and up to 18 months for psychology support.
Cllr Eoin O Broin (SF) described this revelation as “shocking”.
He said: “Across the country waiting times are unacceptably high. However, from information received from the HSE it appears that the problem in Dublin Mid-West is particularly acute.
“ When compared with neighbouring HSE areas the number of children on the waiting lists in Dublin Mid- West in higher and the average length of time they are waiting for these crucial services is significantly longer.
“The problem is that Rosses Court Resource Centre, as with all such service providers, simply do not have the staff resources to meet the need in the local community,” he said.