TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has strongly criticised the HSE for failing utterly to provide adequate levels of disability services for children in the area. There are 277 children under 6 years old on a waiting list for early intervention. Some of these children have been waiting almost their whole lives. In a HSE response to Teachta Crowe they acknowledged the problem but offered no hope that they were going to provide more resources to deal with the problem, saying that the team operates on 62% of the resources it should be.
Teachta Crowe said: “I am astonished by the HSE’s response to my questions on resources for children with disabilities in the area. “There are currently 277 children on the waiting list for intake to the early 0-6 years team. “On average, the team has been operating with approximately 62% of the allocated resource. They have been working without a single physiotherapist for over a year. “When asked why the waiting lists for even an assessment continue to grow, the answer was ‘The DSW EIT have not to date been engaged in conducting Assessments of Need and to do without so addressing the current capacity would further reduce their capacity to provide therapeutic intervention and result in an increase in waiting times.’
“We are not assessing children for special needs because we can’t even come close to providing services for those who have been assessed. That is simply not good enough. “We are abandoning children in dire need of disability services at an early age so that they have the best chance of accessing education and leading the same lives as their peers. “Dublin South West has one of the highest application rats in the state for these services. I’m not saying that, the HSE are. They recognise the problem but are doing nothing to solve it. “These services need resources and a full complement of staff. Nothing else is going to solve this problem.”