Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has criticised the Minister with responsibility for Disabilities for failing to tackle the unacceptable delays in Assessment of Needs (AON) appointments for children with disabilities.
His criticism comes in the wake of new figures, which were provided to Fianna Fáil, and reveal that there are a total of 201 children in the HSE North West region whose applications are overdue for completion. 157 of these are waiting more than 3 months.
Deputy Brendan Smith explained, “The number of children with disabilities on the Assessment of Needs waiting list is continuing to increase – between March and May this year the number of children waiting for an appointment in the HSE North West area, which includes Cavan and Monaghan, has risen from 178 to 201. That’s a jump of almost 13%.
“When will Minister Finian McGrath wake up to the seriousness of this situation? Early intervention is essential in assessing the needs of children with disabilities, but the majority of children in this region are waiting more than 3 months for an assessment to be undertaken.
“While I don’t dispute Minister McGrath’s intentions, the fact of the matter is that the delays are only getting worse. The Minister needs to take a tougher line with his Fine Gael colleagues to ensure delivery on this very important issue. Currently, children with disabilities are being done a great disservice.
“Until children with disabilities receive their AON report, they are unable to receive the full therapeutic supports needed to enable them lead normal lives.
“I am calling on Minister McGrath to identify why assessments are not being completed on time and to allocated the necessary resources to ensure that these unacceptable waiting times are reduced,” concluded Deputy Brendan Smith.