Midlands Regional Hospital, Tullamore
The waiting list for disability services in Offaly and Laois is 'a crisis' according to Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley.
The Laois TD said that, following a response to parliamentary questions to the Minister for Health, it is clear that the lack of services in occupational therapy and physiotherapy care is causing 'huge problems for parents and family' in Laois and Offaly.
According to the figures received by Deputy Stanley, long waiting lists exist for physiotherapy. The number of children waiting for services in Laois are 253 and 138 in Offaly, with 74 children in Laois waiting over a year.
The figures also reveal that 171 people in Offaly and Laois are waiting more than a year for Occupational Therapy while 862 people are waiting for a first assessment.
“There are long delays in assessing services across Laois and Offaly, and when they get these services, it may unfortunately only last four or five sessions," commented Deputy Stanley
“It’s clear from response’s I received from the Minister that there are huge delays in Laois and Offaly for therapy. Those between 18-64 years waiting for occupational therapy could be on a waiting list for 143 weeks, and those over 65 having up a 99 week wait. There are 171 people waiting more than a year. This is the second highest in the whole State, and the highest for those under 64 years. In total 862 people are waiting for a first assessment for occupational therapy across Laois and Offaly.
He added, "currently services are lacking and spread thinly. The lack of early intervention for the development of children and young adults can be detrimental, and can cause other serious health problems. I raised in the Dáil the need to ratify fully the provisions of the UN Convention on Rights of the Disabled and urged the government to do this as soon as possible.
"In Offaly there are 11,154 people suffering a disability. It is clear from the figures that our disability services are woefully inadequate and I am calling on the government to take action,” Deputy Stanley concluded.