Cork has highest waiting list for child psychology services

The Cork figures account for more than a quarter (27%) of the national waiting list total, which stood at around 7,200 as of February 28.
Cork has highest waiting list for child psychology services

South Lee had the largest waiting list in Cork, with 791 children awaiting psychology services in the area.

CORK has the highest waiting list for child psychology services in the country, with 1,936 children aged up to 18 in Cork on lists at the end of February this year.

Almost 800 of these had been waiting over a year for services. The Cork figures account for more than a quarter (27%) of the national waiting list total, which stood at around 7,200 as of February 28.

South Lee had the largest waiting list in Cork, with 791 children awaiting psychology services in the area.

The figures were obtained by Cork TD Seán Sherlock (Lab) who called for children awaiting psychology services to be sent to areas with shorter waiting times. Speaking to The Echo, Mr Sherlock said: “There’s a failure of oversight and a failure of accountability.

“Where you have spare capacity, there shouldn’t be a reason why files can’t be transferred to other parts of the country, where there is capacity, and imaginative solutions found to provide therapy.

“We need to be sitting down with the third level institutions and finding solutions to get more psychologists and psychiatrists into the system,” he added.

“We can’t have a situation where children do not have access to the service that they are entitled to.

“We’re seeing massive system failures for families.” Cork Kerry Community Healthcare was contacted for comment.

In its response to Mr Sherlock, the HSE said that it “acknowledges the challenges in meeting the demand for children’s disability services and is acutely conscious of how this impacts on children and their families”.

The health service also pointed to the Children’s Disability Network Teams (CDNTs), 91 of which were established last year to provide services and supports for all children with complex needs within a defined geographic area.

CDNTs are teams of health and social care professionals, including nursing, occupational therapy, psychology, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, social work and others.

HSE STATEMENT

“The team will work closely together in a family centred model, focusing on the child’s and family’s own priorities,” a HSE spokesperson said.

“Every child with complex needs will have access to a team, regardless of the nature of their disability, where they live, or the school they attend.

“Children and their families will have access to the full range of services and supports of the CDNT according to their individual needs,” they added.

“This includes universal, targeted and specialist supports, such as individual therapeutic intervention and access to specialist consultation and assessment when needed.

“Supports will be provided as is feasible in the child’s natural environments - their home, school and community.”

The HSE added that it acknowledges that this programme change has been challenging for some stakeholders but that the overall aim is to provide a family centred approach.

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