14 December 2015
By Tom Collins
Figures released to Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath (who is based in Carrigaline, Co Cork) show that the HSE is failing to carry out assessments of the needs of children with possible special needs
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork South Central Michael McGrath said: “Under the Disability Act 2005, the HSE is obliged to complete assessments of the needs of eligible applicants six months, but the average duration of the process nationally is eleven months.
“In the Cork area, at the of June 2015, 659 assessments of children with possible special needs had not been completed within the statutory period. It appears the HSE only has the capacity to complete about a third of these essential assessments for children who need them.
“Figures released to me show that the HSE in Cork received over 1,600 applications in an 18-month period but only completed about a third of that number of assessments.
“I am gravely concerned about the figures in the Cork South Lee area in particular, where only 159 assessments were completed in a period where over 600 applications were received. It is a scandal that the HSE has put in place only a quarter of the required capacity of special needs assessments for children.
“An assessment of the needs of a child is the first step to ensuring that they can access the essential services they are entitled to. Any delay in having a child assessed results in vital intervention time being lost. The Minister for Health needs to urgently intervene to ensure that children receive their statutory rights and are assessed in line with the Disability Act.”