Unacceptable wait for occupational therapy

Willie O'Dea TD
Willie O’Dea TD

NEW figures obtained by Fianna Fáil show that there are 77 people over the age of 65 waiting for their first occupational therapy assessment in Limerick.

The figures, which date from August 2016 and are the latest available also reveal that there are 40 children aged between five and 18 waiting between three and six months for their first assessment in Limerick alone.

Limerick Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea believes that waiting lists for those seeking their first occupational therapy assessment is “completely unsatisfactory”.

“138 people over the age of 65 are waiting more than six months for their first assessment in the Mid-West. In Limerick alone, there are 77 people over the age of 65 seeking their first occupational therapy assessment,” Deputy O’Dea told the Limerick Post.

“Occupational therapy is crucial for enabling all age groups to go about their daily lives when faced with illness, injury or a disability. To have so many young people waiting over three months for an assessment for such fundamental therapy is simply inexcusable.”

He feels that any significant length of wait for initial assessment is simply unacceptable particularly for children.

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“Waiting for treatment couldprove very damaging and occupational therapy is critical for children with conditions such as cerebral palsy, dyspraxia and spina bifida.

“The Confidence and Supply Agreement between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael commits to improve services and increase supports for people with disabilities, particularly for early assessment and intervention for children with special needs. These figures underline the urgency of meeting this commitment,” he said.

by Alan Jacques