MORE than 10,000 people are waiting on essential therapies and assessments in Cork, it has been revealed.
New Health Service Executive (HSE) figures show that more than 100,000 people across Ireland are waiting for services in either speech and language therapy, occupational therapy or physiotherapy.
Among these are 4,353 awaiting an initial Occupational Therapy assessment in Cork, along with a further 2,151 awaiting a physiotherapy assessment.
Meanwhile, 1,079 are waiting for an initial Speech and Language assessment, 1,347 are awaiting initial therapy and just over 2,000 are waiting for further therapy in the same field in Cork.
The figures, obtained by Fianna Fáil, only provide part of the picture, according to Cork TD and Fianna Fáil Disability spokesperson, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony.
“These latest figures show that 103,244 people were on waiting lists in February this year.
“The data does not give the full extent of the picture as the occupational therapy and physiotherapy figures only show the numbers waiting for assessment not for actual therapy,” she explained.
Deputy Murphy O’Mahony said she is “particularly concerned” at the fact that the number of people waiting for speech and language services is rising.
The number of people awaiting an initial assessment rose from 13,590 to 15,359 in a month, while waiting lists for initial therapy and further therapy also saw increases of around 1,000 people.
As part of Budget 2019, the government announced the recruitment of 100 therapists this year, including six in the Cork/Kerry region.
“I have sought an update on these appointments and the best case scenario is that 50 will be in place by next September and it will take until the end of the year before all of them are filled,” said Deputy Murphy O’Mahony.
“This is very disappointing as, given the increases in waiting lists that we are seeing, these posts are urgently needed now,” she added.