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26 Jan 2022

'Staggering' number of Longford children awaiting access to occupational  therapy

'Staggering' number of Longford  children awaiting access to occupational  therapy

Longford Westmeath Sinn Féin TD Sorca Clarke

Longford / Westmeath Sinn Féin TD Sorca Clarke has called for an immediate plan from Government for children to access occupational  therapy.  

Figures received by her colleague, Deputy Mark Ward, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health from the HSE have revealed that 18,303 children are currently waiting on a first time assessment for occupational therapy. 

Of these, 9,490 children are waiting over a year for this life changing therapy. 

Deputy Clarke said: “Occupational Therapy is  for  children with physical, psychological and social problems to enable them to live life to the fullest. This therapy will  support children to reach their maximum level of independence and autonomy. 

“We hear all the time that early intervention is key for a child to help them reach their developmental milestones. 

“Figures received in a recent Parliamentary Question response revealed that 18,303 children are currently waiting on a first time assessment for occupational therapy. 

“Of these, 9,490 children are waiting over a year for this life changing therapy. 

“There is also a postcode discrepancy in how quick you can access therapy.  There are 328 children on a waiting list  in CHO 3 which includes North Tipperary but if you go a couple of miles down the road to CHO 5 to South Tipperary there are 4339 children waiting for occupational therapy. 

“In my own constituency of Longford  Westmeath the figures show that in CHO8 a staggering 3,063 children are currently waiting on occupational therapy. 

“We need a uniform service, so therapy is provided by need not on where you live.  

“I am constantly contacted by parents desperate for their children to receive the treatment that they need to reach their developmental milestones. 

“I am calling on an immediate plan from Government to ensure that children can access occupational therapy supports.”  

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Over €2.5m in financial support has been allocated to eight Longford schools under the Summer Works Scheme, forming part of a near €6m investment in education, infrastructure and travel this week

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