Monday, 29 March 2021
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I raise today the issue of the continuing problems families in south Kildare are having in accessing specialist treatment for their loved ones. On the back of prolonged delays with regard to assessment of need for families in the area, the HSE decided to redeploy a number of staff to this much-needed resource but this has resulted in unacceptable delays for families whose children were dependent on and seeing these specialists or, in the case of some of the families with whom I am dealing, whose children have moved along the age groups and are waiting on specialist therapy. It is my understanding that the local disability team was told to backfill the positions left by the redeployment of staff involved in carrying out assessments of need by the HSE. As this was only supposed to be a 12-week redeployment, the team looked for agency staff. There were none available as most had been scooped up to deal with the backlog in respect of assessments of need, the greater part of this backlog involving cases in Dublin.
I ask the Leader to raise this issue with the Minister. I would really appreciate that. I will finish my contribution today by reading a short extract regarding the day-to-day experiences of one of the families with whom I am dealing. It refers to a lady called Samantha Kenny and her daughter, Ava, who are from my home town of Athy:
Ava has such high dependency needs, she depends on a combination of equipment and her parents for every aspect of her every day life. Currently as it stands with Ava transitioning from early intervention to school age without an assigned team, she is at risk of being left behind. Without therapists Ava will not have someone to fit and adjust a chair for in home use, which means as a family she will have no safe way to be included within the home in family life. The same can be said for her wheelchair which means she will not have a way to attend school, travel in the family van or even just go for a walk in the garden. She also has a stander which lowers her risk of osteoporosis. As she has grown so much over the last year and with limited access to therapists due to covid, personal reasons and the redeployment, she has outgrown her equipment and faces transitioning with no assigned therapists to monitor, adjust and fit any future equipment. The staff do their best with the resources they have but still we feel very much that we may fall through the gaps as that is what has happened in the past.
I ask the Leader to bring this issue up with the Minister.