4,000 Dublin children await speech & language tests, 3,000 await treatment – Donohoe

3rd October, 2010

Children’s hope of treatment depends on where they live

Fine Gael Dublin Central Senator Paschal Donohoe today (Sunday) released new figures showing a backlog of almost 4,000 Dublin children awaiting assessment for speech & language therapy for up to two years. The same figures, obtained from the HSE, reveal that over 3,000 children are on waiting lists for treatment in the capital as well as huge disparities in the numbers between different Dublin regions. (See link below for detailed figures.)

“At the end of 2009, there were 3,820 children awaiting assessment in Dublin while at the end of July this year the figure was 3,827. These numbers are showing a persistent backlog of thousands of children on waiting lists for assessment and treatment by speech & language services.

“The majority of children are waiting between 0 and 4 months for assessment (1,810) or treatment (2,007) but there are large numbers of children waiting longer, for example:
• 1,394 children are waiting between 4 months and 1 year for assessment.
• 623 children are waiting between 1 year and 2 years for assessment.
• 833 are waiting between 4 months an 1 year for treatment.
• 332 are waiting between 1 year and 2 years for treatment.

“This kind of therapy is most effective if it begins as early as possible so these children are being let down by long waiting times. Furthermore, the figures show a huge disparity between different Dublin areas:
• In Dublin South and South East no children are waiting more than 8 months for assessment
• In Dublin North no children are waiting more than a year
• But in Dublin South West & West, 635 and 554 children respectively are waiting between 4 months and 2 years.

“Dublin South in particular shows a serious improvement in its waiting lists when its position at the end of 2009 is compared to its position at the end of July this year. Clearly we need to look at other areas and find out if we can apply those successes to the areas where there are now chronic problems. Children’s hope of treatment must not depend on where they live.”


The figures relating to children’s waiting lists are on page 5 and 6.