Fianna Fáil Councillor David Costello who is a member of the Dublin and North East Regional Health Forum has expressed his anger over the delay in transitioning children from early intervention services to mainstream services in the HSE. In Dublin north city the current waiting time when moving from early intervention Speech and Language to main stream Speech and Language Therapy services is up to 9 months. For Physiotherapy the current waiting times for non-complex and musculoskeletal referrals which can be seen by the generic primary care team physiotherapists is approximately 12 weeks; waiting times for the more specialised interventions at network is up to 18 months depending on the clinical rating of priority, for Occupational Therapy the waiting time is 9 months and for Psychology the current waiting list is approximately 6 weeks.
Costello said: “This is simply unacceptable, the System needs to provide a continuous pathway for children with autism and other conditions requiring specialist interventions. Children who have significant gaps in their treatment or therapy can regress and are seriously disadvantaged by this situation. Talking to families on the ground I know that this delay can cause a phenomenal amount of stress for parents and the children. I have seen parents go without food for themselves to get enough money together to pay for private services to bridge this gap.”
“This is a National problem and the delay experienced by children is dependent on the area you live. In Cavan Monahan children are waiting up to 2.5 years for occupational Therapy services and up to 22 months for physiotherapy. We live in a republic that is based on equality. Our children deserve the best start to their treatment possible without gaps and not based on region or age.”
“We all agree that early intervention is key to getting these children off to the best start, however any delay in transition between services is counterproductive.”
“If Minister Varadkar wants to tackle one thing by the end of this term this should be it.”