02 Oct 2022

Less than a fifth of assessment of needs for Laois children meet legal timeframe

Stanley says less than a fifth of assessment of needs for Laois children meet legal timeframe

Deputy Stanley highlighting the issue outside Leinster House


Laois Offaly Waiting Lists for ‘Assessment of needs’ are ‘spiralling out of control’, as fewer than a fifth of assessment of needs applications meet the legal timeframe,  it has been claimed. 

Laois TD Brian Stanley(SF) spoke of one constituent who is “watching her child suffer” and may now be forced to go private, something he claimed many parents have to borrow for. 

He insisted that the current situation regarding assessment of children for autism, psychological services and learning difficulties, has to be addressed.

Speaking in the Dail this week he said: “In Laois-Offaly, according to figures supplied by the HSE, just 17% of assessments of need applications were completed within the legal timeframe of six months. Overall, in CHO 8, the figure is 16%. These are shockingly poor outcomes.”

Speaking of one constituent, he said: “She is a single parent working full-time. She has a six-year-old girl with a learning disability. She is paying a mortgage and needs a car to travel to work at the other end of the county. She is paying privately for physiotherapy and occupational therapy for her daughter. Her child has been referred for an autism assessment and the mother said she just cannot afford much more and is watching her child suffer.

That child will now most likely be forced to go private to get the assessment she needs, which will cost more than €1,000. Many parents are borrowing the money for these assessments. The Minister of State, Deputy Butler, hears of such cases and I hear of them. That is the reality on the ground.’’

Deputy Stanley is seeking “a roadmap to be produced which would ensure that all children will receive a comprehensive assessment of need within the timeframes set down in the Disability Act, not a makey-up assessment that just clears a waiting list, after which a further assessment is required.”

He also wants to see a plan established to recruit adequate numbers of health and social care professionals to deliver services in line with best practices.

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