Carthy calls on government to address waiting lists for Children’s Autism services and other supports
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has called on the government to address the lengthening waiting lists for children’s in need of Autism services and other supports.
Speaking in a Dáil exchange with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Carthy said that as the Covid emergency retreats it is imperative that government deliver the much needed supports that children deserve.
Deputy Carthy told the Tánaiste:
“This week, we learned from RTÉ that a seven-year-old girl with autism has been informed that she will have to wait until 2026 for an appointment with school-age support services. Such a timeframe is, unfortunately, not unique, although it is atypical for the HSE to be so blunt.
“I am aware of dozens of families in my constituency whose children are waiting years for assessments of need, autism services, child development supports, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and psychology services.
“In most cases, the only information that their families can get is that there are extensive waiting lists.
What will the Government do to ensure that, as we emerge from the pandemic, autism services and other services for our children do not just return to where they were, which was clearly not good enough, but become worthy services that can deliver the much-needed supports these children deserve?”
In his response the Tánaiste said:
“As the Deputy will be aware, the Government is developing our first autism-specific strategy. It will be an important step forward. Work on that is under way. I am sorry to hear about the individual cases that the Deputy raised, but the Minister of State, Deputy Rabbitte, who has responsibility for disability services, is taking a real interest in this matter and will do her best to improve matters over the coming years.”
Following the exchange, Deputy Carthy commented:
“Children in need of autism and other support services were already waiting unacceptable periods prior to the onset of the pandemic.
“Now we’re a further year behind, the waiting lists have grown, and we have a government that is talking about cutbacks in health expenditure.
“The government urgently need to provide an action plan which not only reduces this backlog in the coming months, but delivers these services on a permanent footing and in a timely manner into the future.”