No child’s access to health care should be determined by how much money their parents have or where they live.
Barnardos is calling on the Government to urgently address the lengthy wait for some key essential health services experienced by thousands of children across the country.
Through Barnardos’ work with families we hear constantly from parents of children who are suffering while languishing on waiting lists. For these children childhood is on hold. Waiting for assessment and treatment often also means waiting to participate fully in school, waiting to develop confidence or waiting to build positive relationships with their peers. Tragically, oftentimes the longer a child waits for an intervention the less likely it is that treatment will be effective. This is particularly true for very young children whose physical, mental, social and emotional development happens at a speed not matched again in their lifetime. If children don’t receive the right treatment in time, damage is done. They won’t get another chance.
In May 2017 Barnardos released a report which highlighted worrying delays in children’s access to key health services and clear regional variations in the care that children receive. Building on this work, in December 2017 Barnardos reviewed recent waiting list data revealing the continuation of delays in Child and Adolescent Mental Health services and Speech and Language services, as well as widespread regional inconsistencies, meaning that where a child lives has a huge influence over the standard of care they receive.
In an effort to combat these long waits and to save their children from unnecessary harm, those who can afford it, end up having to pay for private consultation. We know from our research that children from low income families are far less likely to be in good health than their wealthier peers. A two-tier health system where parent’s ability to pay determines their child’s access to treatment deepens this divide and perpetuates disadvantage and inequality.
Join the Barnardos search. 1 in 7 children in Ireland are lost … lost to homelessness, lost to poverty, lost to neglect. It is up to us all to change this story. It is up to us all to tackle this injustice. Together let’s drive the change that is needed to give every child in Ireland a chance to reach their full potential, to ensure no child is lost.
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