Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has strongly criticised the Government after figures released show that there are 1,370 children in the CHO7 area waiting on a first time assessment for Occupational Therapy, 851 of whom have been waiting for more than a year.

Teachta Crowe called on the Government to produce an immediate plan to eliminate the backlog and ensure that no child should ever be waiting so long in the future.

Teachta Crowe said:

“Occupational Therapy supports children to reach their maximum level of independence and autonomy. It allows them to live life to the fullest. Early intervention is key for a child to help them reach their developmental milestones. That is if the child can get even an assessment or access to therapy.

“In our own area of CHO7, there are 1,370 children currently waiting on their first assessment for occupational therapy. 851 of them are waiting for more than a year. The longer a child is forced to wait, the more serious the need for therapy becomes.

“No Government can justify leaving children on a waiting list for that long just to be assessed. There are then further delays in accessing therapies. We need a uniformed service, so therapy is provided by need, not on where you live.

“I am constantly contacted by parents desperate for their children to receive the treatment that they need to reach their developmental milestones. Too many are forced to spend money they don’t have on private assessments because no parent can bear to see their child suffer.

“I am calling for an immediate plan from Government to ensure that children can access occupational therapy supports and how they intend to eliminate the backlog and ensure that no child waits anything like a year for assessments.”