Government and HSE ‘failing’ Cork children as 2,500 wait for occupational therapy

853 children are awaiting occupational therapy in the North Lee area
Government and HSE ‘failing’ Cork children as 2,500 wait for occupational therapy

The figures were released to Cork North Central TD Thomas Gould through a parliamentary question and show that 853 children are awaiting occupational therapy in the North Lee area — more than 200 of which have been waiting over two years.

MORE than 2,500 children aged up to 17 in Cork are awaiting occupational therapy.

In the North Lee area alone, there were a total of 122 children aged up to four years and 11 months waiting for the service, and a further 731 children aged between five years and 17 years and 11 months waiting.

The figures were released to Cork North Central TD Thomas Gould through a parliamentary question and show that 853 children are awaiting occupational therapy — more than 200 of which have been waiting over two years.

Mr Gould described the situation as “a crisis”.

“Further figures released showed that there are three funded occupational therapists roles in the North Lee area with 1.5 on maternity leave since June 2020 and the HSE aiming to recruit another 0.5.

“How is one person supposed to see 853 children,” Mr Gould asked.

“Even if all three roles were filled, it would mean each occupational therapist would be expected to see 284 children.

“This has gone beyond scandalous. Waiting years on end for vital treatment is destroying children’s lives.”

The figures released to Mr Gould show 304 children aged up to four years and 11 months are awaiting occupational therapy and 2,214 children aged between five and 17 and 11 months are awaiting the service in Cork.

In total in Cork, there were 132 children aged up to four years and 11 months waiting up to 12 weeks; 70 children waiting 12 to 26 weeks; 40 children waiting 26 to 39 weeks; 27 children waiting 39 to 52 weeks, and 35 children waiting over 52 weeks.

There were 708 children aged between five and 17 and 11 months waiting up to 12 weeks for occupational therapy; 345 children waiting 12 to 26 weeks; 320 children waiting 26 to 39 weeks; 159 children waiting 39 to 52 weeks, and 682 children waiting over 52 weeks for the service.

Cork Kerry Community Healthcare reconfigured children’s disability services to Children’s Disability Network Teams (CDNTs) under the Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People Programme (in April 2021, a significant change in the provision of services and supports for children from birth to aged 18 , in line with Sláintecare and the programme for government.

'CRYING OUT FOR SERVICES'

The CDNTs were established to provide services and support for all children with complex needs within a defined geographic area, which Deputy Gould said is “simply not happening”.

Mr Gould said that parents are “desperately crying out for services” and are “at their wit’s end”.

He added: “Children are getting no services, there’s no date for when services will be provided. If you’re a parent of a child who is not getting services, the anger and frustration that’s there because what’s happening is their children are falling further and further behind.”

He said the Government and the HSE are “failing children in Cork” and that these children and their families “deserve better”.

The HSE has been contacted by The Echo for comment.

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