Concern over lack of early intervention teams

Friday 07 February 2014 10.39
Last year, a total of 7,870 children were waiting for occupational therapy nationally
Last year, a total of 7,870 children were waiting for occupational therapy nationally

Figures released by the Health Service Executive indicate there are no early intervention teams in the Dublin region and parts of Cork for children in need of speech, language, occupational and physio therapies.

The figures were provided in response to a parliamentary question tabled by the Fianna Fáil spokesperson on disability, mental health and special needs, Colm Keaveney.

Up to the end of September 2013, there were 58 early intervention teams across all four HSE regions, dealing with almost 6,400 children requiring disability services.

The figures indicate that 11 areas had no early intervention teams at all with no service in Dublin, large parts of Cork, Kerry and Wicklow.

Last year, a total of 7,870 children were waiting for occupational therapy nationally of which 2,090 were waiting more than 12 months.

The HSE said it has introduced initiatives to address waiting lists and that its budget for disability services this year was broadly in line with 2013 with a targeted investment of €14m, including the provision of 80 additional therapy staff.

Mr Keaveney said the figures showed glaring gaps in crucial early treatment for children with disabilities.