Dáil debates

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Hospital Waiting Lists: Motion [Private Members]


8:35 pm

Photo of Carol NolanCarol Nolan (Laois-Offaly, Independent) | Oireachtas source

The impact of Covid-19 on the delivery of health services in this State has been catastrophic but we know there were issues with waiting lists long before the pandemic. We know that the waiting lists across nearly all medical specialties have increased significantly and that it will be years before we can finally determine the sheer magnitude of the crisis that has been created in non-Covid-related areas, such as cancer, coronary and paediatric care. Not only that, in my constituency of Laois-Offaly, thousands of adults and children remain on lengthy and unacceptable waiting lists for occupational therapy and speech and language therapy. I accept and welcome the fact that there was a recent decision to allocate increased funding for the assessment of need process, especially given how bad the backlog of cases is in Laois-Offaly. However, we currently have at least 1,118 children waiting for speech therapy and we also have 159 children waiting in excess of 12 months for occupational therapy. That is to say nothing of the waiting lists for dental treatment. The current orthodontic waiting list in Laois-Offaly is unacceptable. I am aware of too many children and teenagers who are waiting on a list for at least six or seven years. It is unacceptable. The waiting lists must be tackled, once and for all.


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