Over 18,000 children are awaiting therapies in the Cork Kerry region, according to figures released by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
Nationally, some 96,759 children are awaiting therapy across a broad range of therapies, whether that is assessment, initial therapy, or further therapy, while 18,331 children in the Cork Kerry region await therapy.
That figure does not take into account children who are awaiting therapies in specialised Children’s Disability Network Teams (CDNTs), of whom there are 2,848 awaiting initial assessment in Co Cork alone.
Of the 18,331 children awaiting therapy in the Cork Kerry region, by a significant margin, the largest number of children, 7,026, is awaiting speech and language therapy.
Of that number, 1,475 children are awaiting assessment, while 2,473 children are waiting for initial speech and language therapy, and 3,078 children are waiting for further therapy.
Nationally, 33,106 children are awaiting speech and language therapy, with 21% of those children living in the Cork Kerry region.
Of the 11,305 children waiting for other forms of therapy in the region, some 3,019 children are awaiting occupational therapy, with 2,757 children waiting for ophthalmological therapy.
There are 2,112 children awaiting psychological therapy in the Cork Kerry region, while 1,835 children who are deaf or hard of hearing are on waiting lists for audiological therapy.
Some 978 children are awaiting physiotherapy in the region, and 604 children await dietetic therapy.
The figures, which date to the end of September 2021, are the most recently available, and were released by the HSE to Cork East Labour TD Seán Sherlock following a parliamentary question.
Speaking to, Deputy Sherlock said it was clear that there are significant waiting lists for children and families across the Cork Kerry region.
“Over 7,000 children are awaiting some form of speech and language, whether that is assessment, initial therapy or further therapy.
“Each number is a child and family awaiting intervention, we need to be mindful of that and not lose sight of it, even with such large waiting lists,” Mr Sherlock said.
“The metrics show the different waiting times being experienced by families, and we know speed is of the essence in order to mitigate further complications for the child concerned.
“We’ve seen monies allocated and yet we are still faced with high numbers. We must know where the blockages are and what is needed by front line workers to treat children swiftly,” Deputy Sherlock said.
The figures were supplied to Mr Sherlock by Bernard O’Regan, head of operations of the HSE’s Disability Services, Community Operations.
Mr O’Regan noted there is a difference between primary operations and the CDNTs, noting that the figures supplied relate to primary operations handled by the HSE.
“CDNT is for complex cases and is handled by the likes of Enable Ireland,” Mr O’Regan said.