The HSE recognises that the waiting times for completing Assessments of Need are excessive in many parts of the country and this is can be a source of distress for many parents and families. Several initiatives have been undertaken to address these waiting times. The HSE has advised that in the case of Cavan and Monaghan a number of Assessments of Need are currently being outsourced to private assessors and this has led to a significant improvement in addressing the backlog.
As the Deputy may be aware, the HSE is actively progressing its reconfiguration of children’s disability services into geographically based teams under the Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People programme . The objective of this programme is to provide one clear referral pathway for all children irrespective of their disability, where they live or the school they attend.
Children’s Disability Network Managers, who will lead these teams, are central to this successful reconfiguration of services. A large number of these managers are currently in post and the remaining vacancies were advertised late last year. Interviews for these posts were held recently and it is hoped that all of these Network Managers will be in post shortly.
In addition, the HSE are also working actively to reduce waiting times through the development of a standardised assessment process.
Funding for an additional 100 therapy posts for children’s disability services was secured as part of Budget 2019. Detailed planning in relation to the location and breakdown of the posts is underway and is expected to be completed shortly. These additional posts, along with the reconfiguration of services and other innovative approaches will have a significant positive impact on waiting times for Assessment of Need and therapy service delivery.