Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has described as “totally unacceptable” the fact that 128 children across the two counties are waiting for a first assessment from the HSE under the Disability Act 2005.
He also expressed concern at the high numbers waiting in Cavan and Monaghan, compared to neighbouring counties – in fact over 70% of children waiting in the HSE North West Region, which includes Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim, were in the two counties.
Deputy Smith commented, “I am extremely worried about the high number of children with disabilities being forced to wait for a first assessment with the HSE. We are all too aware of the importance of early intervention and here we have a situation where there are 128 children waiting for a first assessment.
“The latest figures from the HSE reveal that there are 178 children waiting across its North West region – that fact that 128 of these are in Cavan and Monaghan raises serious questions about delays in assessments across the two counties.
“The 2005 Disability Act provides for an assessment for any child born on or after 1st June 2002, who is suspected of having a disability. They have a right to an assessment of their health and education needs, an assessment report; and a statement of the services they will receive. They are also entitled to make a complaint if they are not happy with any element of the process.
“The number of children waiting for an assessment is completely unacceptable. I have repeatedly called on the Minister for Disabilities to allocate the necessary resources to ensure that our local disability services can cater for the demand that is being placed on them. Assessment must be made a priority – any delays result in children not receiving the services they need at the appropriate time – and this must be urgently addressed”, concluded Deputy Smith.