The number of children waiting for more than 12 months for assessment on disabilities has increased by 1,800, according to figures from the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The statistics show that in June of 2022 there were 8,033 children who had been waiting more than 12 months. By December the figure had risen to 9,836 - an increase of 22%.

The children are due to be assessed by children disability teams which have specialists in nursing, occupational therapy, psychology, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy.

Sinn Féin TD for Waterford and party spokesperson on health David Cullinane, who obtained the figures, said the HSE has been struggling with a lack of staff to assess children.

He added that the organisation has 70% of the staff that it needs in the area of disability services.

In a written response to Mr Cullinane, the HSE's Head of Operations for Disability Services Bernard O'Regan said the HSE is operating in a "very competitive global market for healthcare talent as there are significant shortages for qualified healthcare professionals across the globe."

He added: "Since 2019, more than 610 development posts have been allocated to children's disability services across the country.

"These posts have been assigned to teams based on a number of factors including the existing ratio of staff to the number of children with disabilities in each area."