Services for children with disabilities must be improved – Brendan Smith TD

Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith has called for support services for children with disabilities to be improved.  

The Cavan Monaghan TD said a robust recruitment campaign for healthcare posts in his locality is needed to address the long delays being faced by families trying to gain access to supports for children with disabilities.  

He raised the matter with the Disability Minister Anne Rabbitte in the Dáil on Tuesday.  

“Unfortunately, there are long delays in Cavan-Monaghan for children with additional needs or disabilities obtaining therapies such as occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and physiotherapy,” Deputy Smith said.  

“We all know the importance of having early interventions to support a child with specific health needs, but, unfortunately, this is not happening sufficiently.  

“There are particular difficulties in getting clinicians to take up these posts in areas like counties Cavan and Monaghan. We need a robust international recruitment campaign for therapists.  

“Equally, a shorter process must be undertaken in validating the qualifications of people who trained abroad.  

“In the longer term, we must train more people in our own colleges and these professional positions must become attractive as careers. Recruitment and retention of such clinicians are essential to ensure that adequate services are provided for children with a disability, regardless of where they live.”  

Minister Rabbitte in response said she is examining ways of increasing the attractiveness of recruitment into those various clinician posts, examining how apprenticeship models could be put in place and how incentives could be created to attract people from abroad.  

“We are looking at all these measures in the round and, hopefully, this will be part of the PDS roadmap that will be launched in the next number of days,” Minister Rabbitte added.