Govt must start delivering on disability promises – Brendan Smith

– 78% of children with disabilities waiting longer than statutory timeframe for Assessment of Need –

– 50% increase in number of children waiting longer than 12 months for Speech and Language assessment of or therapy – 

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Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith says this government is failing children with disabilities as waiting lists for early intervention and treatment plans continue to increase.

A new report from children’s charity Barnardos reveals that 78% of all children with disabilities are waiting longer than the statutory maximum three month wait for an assessment.

Deputy Brendan Smith said, “The figures contained in this report are truly shocking – it reveals the true state of our disability services, which are simply not able to keep up with the demand being placed on them.  Not only are the majority of children waiting over three months for an assessment, there has also been a 50% increase in the number of children waiting more than a year for an initial speech and language assessment or therapy appointment.

“I welcome the fact that additional money was allocated in the Budget for children’s disabilities services, however it’s delivery that’s the real problem.  The health budget has grown year on year under Fine Gael, but waiting lists have never been longer.  Minister Finian McGrath needs to get a grip on this crisis and ensure that disability services are properly managed.

“It’s unacceptable that children with disabilities are missing out on vital treatments, services and supports that are crucial to improving their quality of life.

“This government needs to start following up its announcements with concrete measures on the ground.  Children’s health and well-being are at stake here and the delays, which are plaguing our health system must be addressed as a matter of priority”.

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