A TOTAL of 212 children and teenagers are waiting for occupational therapy (OT) services in West Cork with 25 having been on a list for over 12 months.
FF deputy Billy Kelleher described the situation as ‘unforgiveable’ after receiving a reply from the HSE and the Minister for Health on the OT waiting lists in the four local health offices in the county.
‘There are 2596 young Cork people waiting for some form of OT treatment with 45% of these waiting longer than a year for their treatment,’ he said.
‘Occupational Therapy helps children and young people to do the everyday things that they want to do and need to do when faced with illness, injury, and disability. Children living with Dyspraxia, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome or Spina Bifida benefit greatly from OT services.
‘It’s simply a scandal and one that is going to make life very difficult for these children and teenagers.’
Deputy Kelleher called for local private OTs to be brought in to help bring down waiting times in the short term, and longer term, additional OTs, and other health professionals, must be recruited in the Cork area.
The deputy added: ‘In other areas of the health service, such as mental health, Cork and Kerry, as a result of severe staff shortages, have some of the most shocking waiting lists in the country and the HSE doesn’t seem to have a plan to address them.’
In response, a HSE spokesperson said: ‘Cork Kerry Community Healthcare management are engaging with the National Primary Care Office with regards to securing once-off funding to address this historical waiting list and this engagement is nearing conclusion.’