Figures released by the HSE to Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD regarding current waiting lists for physiotherapy, occupational therapy and psychology services in north County Dublin are a source of grave concern. The Dublin Fingal TD said that the current refusal by the HSE to add more services and staff to primary care centres is creating crisis in the health of local communities.
Deputy O’Reilly said:
“This is an issue that Sinn Féin has been highlighting continuously; in the Dáil, through parliamentary questions, and through representations to the HSE. My office is contacted weekly by people, especially parents, who have great difficulty getting appointments from the HSE with regards physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and psychology services.
“The refusal by the HSE to add more services and staff to primary care centres is creating crisis in the health of local communities. Indeed, in the current HSE service Plan, there are no plans to add any additional services to those already in existence in the area, nor will further staff be recruited to deal with these crippling lists. The new Primary Care centre in Balbriggan will open in a few weeks. In a town where the GPS are struggling to keep up with demand and more services are needed the HSE has advised me that there will be no additional staff; this is simply not good enough.
“Access to therapies and services is severely restricted when we consider the waiting lists that currently exist. What is striking about these lists not only are the numbers on the lists, but the length of time people are waiting.
“In respect of Psychology Services in Dublin North City and County, there are 968 people waiting 17-18 months approximately for treatment, 677 of which are 17 and under. Physiotherapy Services in the same area have 3,980 people waiting 59-65 weeks approximately for a first time assessment alone. The service under greatest pressure, however, is occupational therapy services, which has 3168 patients waiting for a first time assessment, 585 of which are waiting over a year. Indeed, 54% of those waiting for OT are over 65, which shows a callous disregard for the needs of our older population and who, without services and care are most likely to end up in the acute hospital system.
“Extensive waiting lists for assessment and treatment, coupled with a trend of people being forced to go to into the acute hospital system for treatment are indicative of a system that cannot cope with demand. This needs to be addressed urgently. And it can only be addressed with sufficient primary care resourcing.
“The Minister needs to increase staffing and services to ensure these waiting lists are dealt with. Primary care centres must be resourced sufficiently and we need additional staff employed to ensure demand is met.”
Note: Please see below the PQ in question
Re: PQ ref 1513/17 - waiting times for Occupational Therapy, Psychology and Physiotherapy - children and adult ‘To ask the Minister for Health the current waiting lists for physiotherapy, occupational therapy and psychology services in north County Dublin; if he will break this down further in terms of children and youth services and adult services, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.’
Dear Deputy O’Reilly,
I refer to your Parliamentary Question regarding the waiting times for Occupational Therapy, Psychology and Physiotherapy. Please see below response in respect of Dublin North City & County – Dublin North Central, Dublin North West and Dublin North areas:
Psychology Services, Dublin North City & County
Physiotherapy Services, Dublin North City & County
Occupational Therapy Services, Dublin North City & County (Dublin North Central)
No of patients waiting for a first time assessment at the end of December 2016