Barry Cowen TD
It is 'unacceptable' that hundreds of children in Laois and Offaly are on waiting lists for occupational therapy, according to a Fianna Fáil TD
Barry Cowen criticised claims there are more than 900 children under the age of 18 in the Laois/Offaly area waiting for more than a year for occupational therapy assessment.
“Failure to provide occupational therapy for children in need of assistance can have a detrimental impact on their overall development.
"It’s simply unacceptable that over 900 children in the Laois/Offaly area have been stuck on assessment waiting lists for over a year. It clearly shows that children are being denied access to services which they need to improve the quality of their lives," he said
The TD said he has raised this issue with Minister for Health Simon Harris and have been informed that the current backlog is as a result of the reduction in the availability of Occupational Therapy resources.
He blamed "the previous Fine Gael Government's" decision to "slash spending" in the health service.
He said the Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath has not delivered on a commitment to increase Occupational Therapy resources while at a meeting with local representatives in Offaly.
"It’s deeply disappointing that Occupational Therapy services in Offaly remain chronically under-resourced, especially considering the fact that a local Government Deputy is currently a Junior Health Minister. It indicates that this issue simply isn’t a priority for the current Government," he said.
The Offaly TD said Fianna Fáil secured a commitment under the Confidence and Supply Arrangement to facilitate a minority Government for improved investment in healthcare. Dep Cowen said the Government needs to fulfill its side of the agreement by honouring this commitment.
"We need to see a big increase in Occupational Therapy resources. It’s simply unacceptable that 900 children are currently waiting over a year for Occupational Therapy assessment,” concluded Deputy Cowen.