Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described as completely unacceptable the combined waiting lists for access to an initial Speech and Language Assessment and Speech and Language Therapy for County Tipperary. Deputy McGrath was speaking after figures revealed to him by the HSE revealed that 324 adults and children in North Tipperary are awaiting initial assessments while the number for South Tipperary is 274 adults and children:
“This is an ongoing crisis within the Speech and Language sector that has not been adequately addressed despite commitments to resolve the issue given in the 2016 HSE Service Plan.
The numbers are extremely stark right across all nine of the CHO (Community Healthcare Organisation’s) areas.
They show that 21, 953 adults and children are waiting for initial assessments and speech and language therapy nationally.
When it comes to accessing therapy in Tipperary there is a significant gap between the north and the south of the county.
99 adults and children are waiting for therapy in North Tipperary while the number in South Tipperary is 313.
When these numbers for assessment and therapy are combined just for Tipperary alone, it brings the total to over a thousand who are waiting either for an assessment or for follow up therapy.
The Minister and the HSE need to urgently clarify why it is taking so long to fill the 83 approved and funded Speech and Language Therapist posts.
The parents of these children in particular are often at their wits end trying source a proper diagnosis, especially since we know that any gap in addressing or identifying possible deafness for example can have profound and life altering consequences,” concluded Deputy McGrath.