WATCH: Patrick Costello TD calls for a review of the SOP for Assessment of Need for Disabled Children

Minister Ann Rabbitte was present for questioning at this weeks meeting of the Children’s Committee and Patrick Costello TD stated the need for review of SOP, reallocation of clinical staff and the asked for an update on the ratification of the United Nations Convention for Rights for People with Disabilities.

Full Speech Transcript:

One thing I’m just looking at is while the numbers in relation to the backlog of assessment of need are coming down quite dramatically, which on the face of it is very a good thing, these would be assessments that are being caught up with under the terms of the new standard operating procedures and as we have seen in previous weeks, the standard operating procedures just aren’t up to scratch.

They aren’t actually providing a quality assessment and they themselves would appear to be a breach of the Disability Act in themselves. So I would ask the Minister if she will commit to reviewing them because it would seem as if we’re playing with smoke and mirrors here in reducing the backlog of assessment of needs on the face of it but really we’re not actually meeting the needs of the young people who are  being assessed.

I do have a couple of other things that I’ll try and quickly move through. One of the things that’s been raised with me by constituents who asked me to raise them specifically with you when they heard you were coming in, was about the availability of therapists.  

So one of the issues is obviously a lot of frontline staff have moved onto COVID tracing – when will they be coming back to be able to do their frontline work? My constituents were asking you do you feel that it is acceptable that these people are being moved from therapeutic services to COVID tracing when there is a backlog of therapeutic services? Part of this is also are we making the best use of the clinicians?

We’ll have a senior psychologist doing a parenting course that could equally be delivered by say a social worker or social care worker on a multi-disciplinary team whereas the social worker or social care worker couldn’t do the same work the senior psychologist can. So are we making the best use of them?

Tying in with all of this is a frustration from the parents who are talking to me about a lack of consistency. Quite often when they go for services there is a completely new person and the lack of consistency we all know can be a problem for a variety of reasons – I dont think I need to go into that.

One last question; Are we looking at ratifying and following through on the Optional Protocol for the United Nations Convention for Rights for People with Disabilities? I’ll leave it there. Thank you.