Jennifer Murnane O'Connor, TD
Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow, Jennifer Murnane O’Connor, says new figures provided to her party from the HSE show that there has been a massive increase in the number of children waiting longer than three months for a first-time assessment of needs.
At the end of March, there were 5,083 children across the country overdue an assessment of needs appointment - an increase of 42% on the same time last year.
The Disability Act 2005 states that an assessment of need must begin within three months of a completed application being received. The assessment must be completed within a further three months.
Deputy Murnane O’Connor said: "Thankfully, the number of children waiting in Carlow and Kilkenny is lower than other neighbouring counties but 77 is still too many.
"The legislation is in place for a reason, no child should be waiting for an assessment of need.
"It’s reasonable to assume that the numbers waiting have soared over the past couple of months as lockdown restrictions were introduced. Massive jumps in waiting lists are becoming an all too familiar story."
She added: "There is no doubt that the restrictions put in place at the beginning of this pandemic were much needed. Our health sector was rightly prepared for a major surge in Covid-19 cases.
"Appointments were cancelled, diagnostics postponed, and people urged to stay away unless absolutely necessary.
"But we now need to find ways of safely getting operational again in order to protect and support the children on waiting lists. Without an assessment of needs these children are unable to access the care and supports they need. We can’t allow the lists to keep rising and we need to turbo charge our response to get the lists down again."