Labour councillor hits out at children left lingering on waiting lists in Limerick

Limerick Labour Party councillor Elena Secas.

AS MANY as 187 children in Limerick with a disability are currently waiting for their HSE Assessments of Need (AON) to be completed.

Commenting on the stark figures released to her party in a parliamentary question, Labour councillor Elena Secas deemed the statistic as deeply concerning.

“This is not just a number – these are real children with real families here in Limerick who are left in limbo. Assessments of needs are critical for families to properly plan for health and educational supports, and the current delays are simply unacceptable,” Cllr Secas hit out.

“Children in Limerick and throughout the country should not be left lingering on waiting lists … The lack of adequate planning and resources is evident, and it is the children and their families who suffer the consequences.”

The City East representative is now calling for renewed political urgency to tackle these waiting lists.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

“The Disability Act is very clear – the responsibility to carry out an assessment of children’s needs lies with the HSE. The children and their families cannot wait any longer. Government must act now to ensure every child receives the support they need and deserve.”

According to Irish Medical Organisation, Cllr Secas said, the reason for the significant waiting lists is that, in some specialities, the number of consultants employed is up to 50 per cent below the recommended levels.

The Labour councillor told the Limerick Post that, during her local elections campaign, she came across a distressed mother whose child has been waiting for vital specialised paediatric neurology services, which are not available in Limerick.

“The question is how can HSE and the government impose a recruitment embargo at a time when we need doctors and specialised services in our hospitals?

“When it comes to healthcare, it is the needs of each individual that are important and if we cannot meet those needs, which obviously we can’t given the huge waiting lists we have, then the recruitment embargo needs to end.”

According to the HSE, activity indicates that there has been an increase in the total number of applications “overdue for completion’”, which now stands at 9,924.

“Overall, it is estimated that there are approximately 15,000 applications ‘overdue for completion’ at this time. This includes AONs currently overdue and Preliminary Team Assessments that now require diagnostic assessment.”