Since my election in October 2011 campaigning for proper investment in educational supports for speech and language therapy plus related services has been a priority for me. Below is my latest question to Minister Reilly on the waiting lists for Dublin 15. I continue to put pressure on the government to invest in educational supports for all our children and commend the many brave parents / guardians who are fighting for their children to get the extra support they are entitled too.
* To ask the Minister for Health the number of children in the Dublin 15 area on waiting lists for speech and language therapy; the number that have been on the waiting list for 0-six months, six-12 months, 12-24 months and more than 24 months to receive the support they require; and the steps being taken to address the situation.
Patrick Nulty T.D.
Significant resources have been invested by this country in recent years in services for children with disabilities. The Government is committed to the provision and development of services for these children, having regard to available resources.
As the Deputy will be aware, the Health Service Executive is currently engaged in a national programme of reconfiguring therapy resources for children with disabilities, including autism, with a view to ensuring there is more equitable access to services for children, according to their individual needs. Established since 2010, the national re-configuration programme is based on the recommendations of the Report of the National Reference Group on Multidisciplinary Disability Services for Children aged 5-18.
A key objective of the HSE’s Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People Programme (0-18 years) is to ensure there is a clear pathway for all children to the services they need regardless of where they live, what school they go to or the nature of their disability or developmental delay. In practical terms this means that health professionals and parents will know exactly where a child should be referred and how to refer them. A fundamental principle underlying the Programme is that children should receive the health services they need as close to their home and school as possible. Some children may have their needs met by their local primary care services. An Early Intervention Team and a School Age Team will look after all children with more complex needs in a defined geographic network area, regardless of the nature of their disability. These Teams will be supported by specialist services in areas requiring a high level of expertise. The Programme supports the principle of providing access to mainstream education where appropriate while also recognising a continuing role for special schools.
The specific issue of waiting times for therapy services, including speech and language therapy, is an operational matter for the Health Service Executive. Accordingly I have arranged for this question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.
Mr. Patrick Nulty, TD
Dáil Éireann 11th February 2014
PQ 3889/14 SLT Services for Children – Dublin 15
To ask the Minister for Health the number of children in the Dublin 15 area on waiting lists for speech and language therapy; the number that have been on the waiting list for 0-six months, six-12 months, 12-24 months and more than 24 months to receive the support they require; and the steps being taken to address the situation – Patrick Nulty.
Dear Deputy Nulty
I refer to your recent Parliamentary Question in relation to Speech and Language Therapy Services for children in the Dublin 15 area.
The waiting list for Speech & Language Therapy Services has depleted significantly over the past year and with additional staffing from the primary care development posts, these figures will continue to improve. Additional Speech & Language Therapists have been assigned to the Dublin 15 caseload and also a new Speech & Language Therapy clinic commenced on 10th February 2014 in Hartstown Medical Centre which also serves the Dublin 15 area. The following is the current waitlists for children.
0-4 months = 131 0-4 month = 82
4-8 months = 90 4-8 months = 55
8-12 months = 134 8-12 months = 27
12-18 months = 81 12-18 months = 24
18-24 months = 22 18-24 months = 27
I trust this clarifies the matter.