10 May 2019
By Elaine Murphy
Recent figures provided to Fianna Fáil Disability spokesperson, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony show that more than 100,000 are waiting for services in either speech and language therapy, occupational therapy or physiotherapy.
“These latest figures show that 103,244 people were on waiting lists in February this year. The data does not give the full extent of the picture – as the occupational therapy and physiotherapy figures only show the numbers waiting for assessment – not for actual therapy”, said Deputy Murphy O’Mahony.
“I am particularly concerned about the speech and language figures as they show a very big increase relative to January 2019. The numbers waiting for a first assessment went from 13,590 to 15,359 in a month. For initial therapy the numbers went from 7,499 to 8,151 and for further therapy from 13,350 to 14,796.
“As part of Budget 2019, the government announced the recruitment of 100 therapists this year. I have sought an update on these appointments and the best case scenario is that 50 will be in place by next September and it will take until the end of the year before all of them are filled.
“This is very disappointing as given the increases in waiting lists that we are seeing, these posts are urgently needed now”, concluded Deputy Murphy O’Mahony.
Overview of waiting lists (Feb 2019)
Speech and Language Therapy – Initial Assessment 15,359
Speech and Language Therapy – Initial Therapy 8,151
Speech and Language Therapy – Further Therapy 14,796
Occupational Therapy – Initial Assessment 31,377
Physiotherapy – Assessment 33,561