A Galway TD has called for an immediate plan from the Government for children to access speech and language therapy.
Figures received by Mairéad Farrell TD state that 41,055 children are currently waiting on some form of treatment.
Of these, 14,288 children are waiting on an initial assessment, 9,365 children waiting on initial therapy, and a staggering 17,402 children are waiting on further therapy.
“To have 41,055 children waiting on some form of treatment is unacceptable,” said Deputy Farrell.
“14,288 of these children are waiting on initial assessment nationally. Other figures show another 9,365 children waiting on initial therapy and a staggering 17,402 children waiting on further therapy.
“The figures are very worrying in Galway, which has 1,214 children waiting on initial assessment, 739 children waiting on initial therapy and 2,079 children waiting on further therapy.”
Mairéad Farrell TD said that early intervention is critical to a child’s development and said that a 6-year-old child could be waiting 2 years to get an initial assessment.
“The then 8-year-old child could they be waiting a further two years just get some initial speech and language therapy,” she said.
“Finally, according to the figures, they could be 10 or 11 before they receive the vital further treatment that they need. This is absolutely unacceptable.
“Children are being moved from list to list and not getting the appropriate treatment at the appropriate time. This is having a severe impact on their development and is curtailing children’s future growth.”
The Sinn Féin TD added that Covid cannot not be used as an excuse for the Government’s abandonment of children’s needs.
“In some areas, physiotherapists, occupational and speech and language therapists were redeployed as Covid swabbers and contact tracers, resulting in a complete loss in services.
“It would have made more sense to use non-frontline staff, or one of the more than 60,000 people who volunteered for ‘Ireland’s Call’ to work as Covid swabbers and contact tracers.”