Dáil debates

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Hospital Waiting Lists: Motion [Private Members]


9:05 pm

Photo of Kathleen FunchionKathleen Funchion (Carlow-Kilkenny, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

As my party's spokesperson on children, I will focus my short time on children. We know there are 106,000 children waiting for an assessment, treatment or a diagnostic scan in a public hospital. The largest waiting lists are in ear, nose and throat and general paediatrics. I do, though, acknowledge the work the Minister of State, Deputy Rabbitte, has done on the assessments. I know that that is an area she has been working on. She herself acknowledges a lot of the difficulty. One example in my constituency is somebody who has been waiting three years for speech and language therapy. We all know about early intervention and it being key. At three years, it is hard even to know what to say to a parent in that situation. It is really important that the occupational and speech and language therapy and all the other therapies that are needed are followed through on. If that is what the Department will focus on now, I welcome that because it is really important.

Developmental checks are absolutely crucial for young children. Many of these appointments have been pushed out due to Covid and then the cyberattack. People feel like there is always something, and it is important we reflect that message tonight because people are really frustrated.

Doctors and consultants tell us routine procedures are being pushed further out and many children are not being seen until they are adults, which is a whole other issue.

In the time remaining, I want to raise an issue with the Minister of State, Deputy Butler, the details of which I will email to her. It relates to a nursing home in Ballyragget in County Kilkenny, where a patient has been approved for home care but cannot find a carer and, as a result, has been in the home since last February. This is an example of a person who could be moved on from nursing home care. The family wants the person home and approval has been given for a home care package. All that is needed is a person to provide the care. This situation will lead to waiting lists. I conclude by commending my colleague, Deputy Cullinane, on his work on the motion.


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