Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability and Carers Pauline Tully TD has called on the Government to urgently address the backlog for assessment of needs, after it was confirmed that a backlog of approximately 4,000 has developed.
Teachta Tully said:
“I was alarmed to hear the Minister of State with responsibility for Disability, Anne Rabbitte, confirm in the Seanad last week that the current backlog for assessment of needs stands at just under 4,000.
“This is a massive increase from just 500 in the summer of 2021.
“Data from the HSE that there are a total of 2,720 applications overdue for completion and a further 1,254 applications overdue to commence second stage.
“68% of the applications overdue for completion are more than 3 months outside of the statutory deadline of 6 months and this does not include any assessments that have been put on hold.
“The Minister of State has serious questions to answer in relation to this matter. She needs to explain how this backlog has arisen and the measures that will be taken to address it.
“A survey from AsIAm in the summer of this year of parents of children with Autism stated that 80% were waiting for more than 1 year for an assessment of needs.
“On top of the issues in relation to waiting lists, I am informed that children are having difficulties in accessing supports as they are not receiving official diagnosis, which is often required to access these supports.
“I am calling on the Minister of State to urgently address the current waiting list for assessment of needs and ensure that the process is reformed so that all information required to ensure children can access supports is provided in a timely manner.”