The national waiting list for speech and language therapists is leaving parents of children who require treatment with no option but to ‘go private’, with such sessions priced at €50 for 40 minutes and €100 for an hour.
That’s the contention of general election candidate Una Dunphy (PBP – AAA), who maintained that the health service isn’t making adequate provision for early intervention for as many as 46,000 young children with speech and language difficulties.
“We come across many parents who are worried sick by the failure of the State to provide the necessary resources for early intervention,” said Ms Dunphy.
“The waiting list for speech and language therapists is so long that parents are being forced to go private – at great cost to themselves.”
She added: “International research suggests that the case load for a speech and language therapist should lie somewhere between 30 and 65 cases. In Ireland, however, the case load of Speech and Language therapists is way above this. It amounts to an average of 162 cases per therapist.”
Una Dunphy said these statistics added further evidence of the “two tier system” that remains in play in terms of health care provision.
‘Like every other aspect of our health service this under-provision helps to support a two tier system. Worried parents will tend to go private rather than wait for months and years to obtain an evaluation and the cost of these private sessions amount to about €50 for a 40 minute session or €100 for an hour.”
She continued: “A decent government would have doubled the number of speech and language therapists to cut waiting lists and would make early evaluation and intervention a priority. But this government cares more about the lifestyle of bondholders and bankers. That is why they sacrifice the most vulnerable on their altar of greed.”