I acknowledge that the current time to access occupational therapy services can be too long and that this may cause anxiety for parents and patients who are currently waiting to access services.
That is why the HSE will be prioritising investment in OT in 2019 to reduce waiting times and improve access to services. Across the country, 40 additional OT posts will be recruited by the end of the year, and there will be a focus on addressing those individuals who have been waiting over 52 weeks. In total, HSE’s National Service Plan estimates that over 350,000 primary care occupational therapy patients will be seen in 2019.
It is also anticipated that investment being undertaken locally will significantly improve access for occupational therapy first time assessment for young people in counties Cork and Kerry.
I understand that Cork Kerry Community Healthcare has put in place a Paediatric OT project in line with a National Occupational Therapy Review. This will focus on those waiting over one year for assessment or intervention. Six OTs and one administrative staff member have recently been recruited to support this process. Further, I am informed by the HSE that appointments for those children and young people who are have been waiting for a long period in the region have now commenced on a phased basis and that activity levels are projected to increase significantly by end Quarter 1 2019.