More than 40 children in Cork and Kerry are waiting more than six months for wheelchairs or wheelchair equipment.
Figures from the HSE show that more than 200 children in the two counties are waiting up to six months for various pieces of health equipment and appliances including wheelchairs, shower equipment, hoists, buggies or helmets. A similar number, are waiting between six months and a year for such equipment.
The figures were released by the HSE to Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath. They show that 23 children are waiting up to six months for a wheelchair and 35 are waiting more than six months.
A further 14 are waiting up to six months for wheelchair equipment and 13 waiting more than six months.
Mr McGrath said: “Some of the figures contained in the information provided to me are truly shocking. There are 35 children in Cork and Kerry who are waiting up to a year for a wheelchair. Added to that are another 23 who have been on the list for up to six months. This is a desperate situation for these children and their families.
“Another device with a long waiting list is the CombiStim XP, which is a digital machine to help with the treatment of incontinence. The fact that children are being forced to wait up to 12 months for what should be a basic entitlement is a damning indictment of Fine Gael’s management of our health system.
“On the one hand, this government stands over huge cost overruns on the National Children’s Hospital, while at the same time failing to provide basic equipment to children with specific medical needs," Mr McGrath said.
Mallow teenager Liam Lynch came to national prominence in recent months when it emerged he was waiting months for a new wheelchair after outgrowing his old one.
At the time the HSE said that even once an application for funding for equipment is approved, there may be a "lead time" before manufacturers can deliver an order.
“We sincerely regret that the funding available to us for this type of equipment is limited, and does not meet demand. Because of the significant demands on the budget for equipment, not all applications can be approved immediately.”