May 6, 2021
Blind and visually impaired young people ignored for too long – Kathleen Funchion TD

Sinn Fein spokesperson for Children, Kathleen Funchion TD, has called on the HSE and Minister for Health to immediately invest in supports for visually impaired young people after it emerged that no figures are collected nationally on the number of children and young people that are blind or vision impaired in Ireland.

Speaking today, Teachta Funchion said:

“It is very disappointing to discover that the HSE do not collect national figures on young people (0-18) that are either blind or have a vision impairment diagnosis.

“It is vitally important in terms of guiding national planning, deployment of critical important Eye Clinic Liaison Officers, addressing early intervention and the development of programmes and targeted funding and supports that the HSE adequately understands the national picture. 

“Addressing the serious issues with long ophthalmology waiting lists was highlighted by the Irish Medical Organisation who recommended the number of ophthalmology consultant posts increase from 41 to 147.

“Whilst I recognise that local HSE CHO areas do hold statistics on service users that are blind or with a vision impairment in a local area, it is vitally important that at a national level the HSE knows this information.

“As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic it is really important that people with a disability are included in the recovery and given every opportunity to participate in their communities through targeted investment by Government.”

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