POLITICS: Massive Occupational Therapy backlogs leave Cork children leave children waiting months and years for treatment – O’Keeffe

13 November 2017
By Elaine Murphy

1,173 children waiting longer than a year for treatment

Cork East TD, Kevin O’Keeffe has said that he is appalled at the number of children in Cork, approaching 3000, waiting inordinate periods to access basic occupational therapy services.

Kevin O’Keeffe TD

Deputy O’Keeffe was commenting after receiving a parliamentary reply from the HSE on behalf of the Minister for Health that shows that there are 2609 children waiting in County Cork for an OT service.“It is beyond disgraceful that 44%, or 1173, of these children are waiting longer than a year for access to treatment.

“These children have been identified as being in need of Occupational Therapy, and it’s beyond belief that some are waiting over a year to get the treatment they need.

“Occupational Therapy is an essential rehabilitation process for children who may have suffered an accident or injury or who are living with a disability.

“The HSE in their reply to me have stated that ‘while the current staffing resource available is meeting the current referral demands, this area had significantly lower staffing prior to 2015 resulting in a historical waiting list with over 2,500 waiting at the end of 2015.

“What’s clear now is that a special effort is needed to deal with the unacceptable number of children waiting for treatment.

“I am calling on the Health Minister to establish a special taskforce to alleviate the serious backlogs in this area. I know there have been problems with recruitment of staff but the current situation is completely unacceptable.

“Children should not be left bearing the brunt of this Government’s failure to get to grips with the dysfunction in our health service and the Minister must act without delay to bring these lengthy waiting lists under control,” concluded O’Keeffe.

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