*Scandal as Children in Cavan Monaghan waiting 2.5years for disability assessment*
Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy has described as ‘scandalous’ the confirmation he received this week from the HSE that children in Cavan Monaghan are now waiting 2.5years for an appointment to meet an ‘Assessment of Needs’ officer to be assessed for disability supports requirements. The waiting times have been growing substantially since 2013 when there was a zero waiting time. Matt Carthy welcomed the fact that an Assessment of Needs Officer has been appointed but said that clearly additional resources are required.
Matt Carthy said:
“It is widely recognised that early intervention is of critical importance when it comes to improving outcomes for children with a learning disability. However, despite the recognition of such a need, the HSE is failing to ensure that children receive the earliest possible intervention to provide them with the support they require.
“Under the 2005 Disability Act, assessments of children’s needs must be started within three months of the application and must be completed without undue delay; if there is a delay in completing the assessment the
HSE has a duty to inform applicants giving a reason for the delay and the given timescale for completion.
“I welcome the fact that, after much delay, an Assessment of Need Officer for Cavan and Monaghan was appointed in May. However, the figures I received this week show a scandalous waiting time of 2.5years currently for children to be assessed. That clearly points to a need for additional resources to be put in place.
“The figures point to a massive failure for which the Fine Gael government in office with Fianna Fáil support, must take full responsibility. According to the figures I received from the HSE this week, there was zero waiting time in 2013. This increased to 6 months in 2014, 1 year in 2015, 1.5 years in 2016 and 2 years in 2017. The fact that waiting times now stand at 2.5 years point to a growing systemic failure that is causing real anxiety among the families affected.
“No family should be in a situation where they are waiting for two and half years for their child to have their needs assessed. My office is working with several parents who have been told that their children need support but that this support cannot provided until an assessment has been carried out.
“This is an issue that needs to be urgently addressed as the numbers of children being presented for assessment is rising. I will be again writing to the Minister urging for additional resources to be put in place to resolve this scandalous situation” Matt Carthy concluded.