Waiting Lists

Barnardos is calling on the Government to immediately address the extensive waiting lists that exist in trying to access essential health assessments and treatments for children.

Getting access to medical assessments and treatment when a child needs them is crucial otherwise it really can impair their ability to grow and thrive. Too many of our children’s health, wellbeing and overall development is being compromised because of our insufficient health system.

Barnardos’ recent research together with national statistics has found worrying delays in children’s access to assessments and treatments; clear regional variations in the care that children receive; and many parents forced to pay privately for the assessments and treatments their children need, very often placing them and their families under huge financial and emotional strain as a result.

Barnardos focused on the areas of (1) speech and language (2) CAMHS and (3) assessment of need to determine extent of a disability and found:

  • A total of 10,201 children and young people aged 0-18 were on waiting lists for an initial speech and language assessment in February (HSE data).
  • There were 2,520 children and young people on waiting lists to be seen for their first mental assessment (CAMHS)  in February - an increase of over 44% since February 2016 (HSE data).
  • The average wait for an assessment of need to determine extent of a disability was 11 months – far longer than the 3 month deadline set out by legislation (HSE data).
  • There are huge regional differences in the services children have access to, and the times that they must wait (HSE data). Children in the Cork area are waiting far longer than others for speech and language treatment or an assessment with CAMHS. (HSE data)
  • Parents are forced to pay for private services to access the care their child requires so that their child’s condition does not get worse (Barnardos Waiting List Survey, 2017).
  • Children’s health is suffering because of the long delays for crucial health treatments (Barnardos Waiting List Survey, 2017).

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