Action urgently needed on unacceptably long Occupational Therapy waiting lists for children – Munster

Figures received by Sinn Féin 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.

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster, has said that the figures are unacceptable and the government must rectify the situation immediately.

Community Health Organisation (CHO) 8, which comprises Louth, Meath, Offaly, Laois, Westmeath, and Longford has 3069 children on the waiting list, with 997 of those children waiting over a year.

Teachta Munster said:

“Occupational Therapy is vital 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.

“In CHO 8 there are 3069 children on the list, each one of them waiting for a first time assessment for occupational therapy.  997 of these children have waited over a year – it’s completely unacceptable.

“We need a uniform service, so therapy is provided by need not on where you live. At the moment there are significant differences waiting lists in different CHOs.

“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.”

Children in north Louth waiting 33 months for Psychology Services

Gerry Adams has criticised the Minister for Health for allowing a situation to persist in North Louth where 209 children are waiting for an appointment with HSE psychology services which may take up to 33 months

The Louth Sinn Féin TD said;

“I have been contacted by a number of families from the Dundalk area who have been advised to refer their children to the HSE’s psychology services in Barrack Street. Yet when they do this they are notified of an appointment date which could be years into the future. Often this initial appointment is not even with the child but is designed to give parents advice on how they can help their child at home.

“I spoke to one mother whose 5 year old child had accidentally seen an inappropriate video game at school. The child was obviously traumatised, he couldn’t be left in a room on his own day or night. That family needed help and advice at that time, but they couldn’t access it.

“The response to my parliamentary question indicates that there are 209 children on the waiting list for north Louth, many of them will be in acute need of psychological support.

“In the South of the county there are 175 children on the waiting list with a longest wait time of 10 months.10 months is too long for a vulnerable child to wait for help, but 33 months, almost 3 years, is an absolute disgrace.

“I have written to Simon Harris to ask him to recruit additional staff in primary care psychology in North Louth to eradicate this waiting list and provide more than a service which exists in name only.”

“I am also mindful of the stress which those working in this service are experiencing.  It is unfair to expect an understaffed and under resourced service to meet demand.  

“Unless more resources are targeted in this direction this government will continue to fail children and their families in Louth.”


Cllr Anne Campbell: Surgical Units a Necessity to Target Waiting Lists

Sinn Féin Councillor Anne Campbell and members of Watters Brothers Cumann once again held their monthly protest at the gates of the Louth Hospital on Friday.

Cllr Campbell said “we are here again this month to highlight the deliberate downgrading of essential services at Louth Hospital. I don’t think there is one family in Dundalk that isn’t affected by the crisis in the Health Service today and it really galls me to see this hospital operating here providing the scarcest of services.”

Louth Hospital currently has eight surgical beds which do routine procedures from 9am-4pm Monday-Friday.

Councillor Campbell and Sinn Féin are calling on these beds to be optimised and used

Cllrs Pearse McGeough, Anne Campbell & Ruairi Ó Murchú with other activists

24hours a day. Cllr Campbell said “this would necessitate the presence of a clinician which shouldn’t be too difficult to organise. Optimising these beds would help alleviate the pressure on Drogheda Hospital but more importantly it would start to target the spiralling waiting lists. There are currently 16,285 people on hospital waiting lists between Our Lady of Lourdes and Louth Hospital.”

“People of Dundalk and County Louth deserve better, they deserve to get the treatment they need rather than being treated as a statistic on a waiting list. This is people’s lives and the sooner the Government wake up and realise that, the better.”

Councillor Campbell also pointed out that despite promises from the Minister almost two years ago, the Minor Injuries Unit still do not accept minors (under 14’s) for treatment. “This date has been put back a number of times and the latest date is ‘September’. We are now into September so I am looking forward to seeing the service extended over the next few weeks as per the promises made.”

Waiting lists in OLOL grow as Government policy fails – Adams

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams today challenged the Taoiseach on the worsening crisis in our emergency departments. INMO figures for today reveal that there are 528 people awaiting admittance to a ward. One of the highest trolley numbers is Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda which has 41 citizens on trolleys.

Gerry Adams said:

“Despite all of the bluster and promises from the government, and claims of investment in our health system, those patients attending our emergency departments have been increasingly left on trolleys because of a lack of capacity within those departments.

One example of government failure is the admission by the Minister for Health in a PQ to my colleague Louise O’Reilly TD that the Government’s much heralded bed capacity review, which was announced in the Programme for Government, has not yet had its terms of reference set.

Critically, the National Treatment Purchase Fund figures for last month revealed a health service under serious pressure from increasing waiting lists. In October there were 535,000 citizens on the public hospital waiting lists. This is another record number.

There are 12,216 outpatients waiting for treatment in Our Lady of Lourdes. Almost 5,000 of these patients have been waiting for more than six months. There are also 1106 citizens waiting for inpatient day case treatment in OLOL. Of these 377 are waiting on general surgery and 205 have been waiting for more than six months.

It is obvious that Government inaction on the crisis in emergency departments and acute hospitals is resulting in worsening trolley and overcrowding figures.


Sinn Féin raises awareness of Housing Assistance Payment (HAP)

joanna-byrne-1Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne has raised the issue of public information about the Housing Assistance Payments with Louth Co Council officials.

Commenting after Monday’s Drogheda Municipal Districts meeting Cllr Byrne said
“With the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) being applied for by an increasing number of tenants in Louth and in particular the Drogheda area every month, I believed the Council were not being proactive enough in creating awareness in relation to the scheme. I wanted to know if applicants where aware that they are entitled to apply to the Local Authority’s transfer list with any time spent on the Local Authority’s Housing list taken into account?

“Removal from the council’s principle housing list is a condition of the HAP scheme as it deems your housing needs met, but the provision is in place as stated above to alternatively apply for the transfer list.

“I raised the question on this as once again I noticed an increase in the number of applicants for the HAP scheme but no increase on the transfer list to match. I was assured by the SEO for Housing that every applicant for the HAP scheme is made aware of the provision to apply to the Local Authority transfer list, but they just don’t report these HAP transfer figures in the monthly report along with the regular transfer applicant numbers”.

Cllr Byrne accepted this explanation for conflicting numbers but also said “Whereas the HAP scheme may work in the interim for rental payment assistance, but once a family has been accepted onto the scheme it is deemed to have had its housing needs met. This means that at the stroke of a pen, the family is struck off the housing list after years of waiting and is effectively back to square one come the end of their agreed HAP contract time has expired, be it two years or twenty. It is crucially important that these applicants know they can apply to the Local Authority Transfer list and have their length of time waiting on the principle housing list factored into consideration.”