Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described the latest waiting list times for routine audiology services in South Tipperary as completely unacceptable and deeply frustrating. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the HSE confirmed to him that there is now a 24 month wait for children and adults seeking to access the audiology services in the Community Care Centre, Western Road, Clonmel:
“The fact that children and adults have to wait two years to access the most basic services demonstrates the utter shambles that is the current HSE policy.
We have to remember that it is six years since the publication of the 2011 National Audiology Review Report and almost eight years since The National Audiology Review Group was convened in 2009.
Just what on earth has been going on in that time to try and address the systemic failures that are leading to these kinds of waiting times?
The HSE Report explicitly acknowledged the vital role that early intervention plays with respect to hearing loss and access to audiology services, and yet the capacity to deliver on that kind of intervention has not materialised.
This will lead to long term physical and social problems for many children and adults who do not have two years to wait before they can be seen.
I am told that only two further permanent staff grade audiologists have been approved for the entire South-East area. That is insulting to say the least, especially in light of the HSE recognition that demand for the services has significantly increased.
We need to considerably raise our game with respect to recruitment opportunities and to do everything possible to attract audiology graduates to the service. As it is, like so many others in their profession, they are leaving due to unavailable positions and an excessively pressurised work environment,” concluded Deputy McGrath.