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Huge midlands waiting list for access to child disability network teams says local TD


Local Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley says he has received figures showing there is a huge waiting list for Child Disability Network Teams CDNT’s in the Midlands.

According to the Laois TD, the figures show how there is ‘a staggering amount of children waiting for these services and it has now reached crisis point’.

Deputy Stanley said: “In the HSE region CHO 8 which takes in the 4 Midland counties and Louth/Meath, there are a total of 2747 children on waiting lists to access the CDNT teams and the services they provide.

“What is most concerning is 1611 of these children are deemed to have complex needs and will require a greater level of services and support.

“Parents who have children that may be on the Autism spectrum or have other conditions that need attention are being left waiting, due to the absence or lack of services provided.

“Long waiting lists in Laois / Offaly are a direct result of staff shortages in disciplines such as Speech and Language, Occupational services, Physiotherapy, Psychology etc.

“According to the latest figures available to us for the Region, in Psychology alone there is a 41% shortfall in staff with 36% vacancy in Occupational Therapy. Overall, in the CHO 8 region there is a staff vacancy rate of 30%.

“The staff vacancy levels in the 3 disability teams in Laois/ Offaly are at a shocking high level.

“The latest figures we have available to us show that the Portlaoise based CDNT, which covers most of Laois, has a 42% staff vacancy. The Portarlington / Edenderry area, which covers North Laois and North Offaly has a 35% shortfall in staff, while the Tullamore based team has a 17% shortfall.”

The Laois TD called on the government and the HSE to work together to address this issue.

He said: “This can only be addressed by proper workforce planning which needs to involve third level colleges with appropriate numbers of students being offered and taking up relevant courses.

“Government must also ensure that graduates are being offered an adequate number of permanent positions within the HSE to fill vacant posts.

“In our 2023 Budget proposals, Sinn Féin provided for extra funding to create extra places at third level colleges.

“We also made provision for extra training for Therapists and Psychologists etc, to fill these badly needed positions across the Child Disability Network Teams.

“It is also vital for the HSE to put in place proper planning with graduates being offered permanent contracts within the public health system.’’

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.