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15 Aug 2022

'Scandalous' backlog of Offaly children waiting to see psychologist

'Scandalous huge backlog' Laois Offaly children waiting to see a psychologist Sinn Féin's Brian Stanley

More than 600 children in Offaly are waiting to be seen by psychologist according to Laois Offaly TD Brian Stanley who has demanded action be taken to reduce the list.

The Sinn Fein TD described it as a 'scandalous huge backlog' that must be addressed to prevent problems being created for the future in the lives of these children.

“The current waiting list is scandalous and totally unacceptable. A total of 1304 children are waiting for an appointment in Laois and Offaly, 682 of whom are in Laois and 622 in Offaly.

"The worst part of this is, that there are a staggering 801 children waiting more than one year to be seen and assessed for appropriate treatment and interventions. Laois has the highest figure, standing at 427 with 374 in Offaly.  

"With figures like this, we are storing up problems for the future. It is widely accepted that early assessments and intervention are critical in terms of a child’s overall development. Delayed interventions or lack of services at early and critical stages of a child’s development are missed opportunities and lead to other more complex issues in later life.

"While the Covid emergency may have added some to the waiting lists and delays in services, nonetheless it doesn’t explain the scandalous delays. It’s vitally important that the matter is addressed, and the necessary measures put in place," he said.

The Chairman of the Dáil Public Accounts Committee said he had raised the issue at ministerial level

"I have raised this with the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and HSE management and they inform me that there are just two fulltime HSE employed psychologists on Laois/Offaly and that this is supplemented with 2 temporary agency staff. A fulltime HSE psychologist is due to return to the service in Laois next year.

"I am very concerned about the current level of intervention and I intend to keep pressing for significant improvements in services,” he said. 

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