Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said that current waiting times to see an occupational therapist across County Wicklow are of grave concern.
Teachta Brady said:
“In a reply to me, the HSE have confirmed that there were 1,022 people on waiting lists for occupational therapy in February this year.
“Despite, a considerable number of people across Wicklow on waiting lists, the average waiting times to see an occupational therapist in health centres across the County is alarming.
“Average waiting times to see an occupational therapist are 15 months in Wicklow town, 13 months in Bray, 12 months in both Greystones and Newtownmountkennedy, 6 months in Tinahely and 3 months in Arklow.
“These waiting times mean that people are being left suffering for months on end. An occupational therapy assessment is crucial as a first step in many instances, whether that be to secure a social welfare payment or to have works carried out in a person’s home.
“Nationally, children and young people between 5 and 18 years make up the largest cohort waiting for occupational therapy assessment. Indeed, 76% of those waiting more than 52 weeks for a first time occupational therapy assessment are in this age bracket.
“When it comes to children, the under-capacity of the public system means that parents are forced to spend hundreds of euro every month on private therapy if they want to see their child have any hope of realising their individual potential.
“This is unacceptable; Minister Harris needs to increase staffing and services to ensure these waiting lists are dealt with. Health centres across Wicklow must be resourced sufficiently and we need to have additional staff employed to ensure demand is met.”