PRESS RELEASE: Minister for Health must urgently address growing waiting lists for Occupational Therapy services

Today as we meet for our Annual Conference our Chairperson Mary McGrath calls on the Minster for Health to meet with AOTI representatives to discuss our concerns

9th October 2020

The Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland (AOTI) is very concerned about the growing waiting lists nationally for Occupational Therapy services and in particular the figures released recently by the HSE that show over 21,000 children under the age of 17 are waiting for a first Occupational Therapy assessment.

This waiting list problem is being compounded by the continuing redeployment of occupational therapists in HSE primary care, disability and community mental health services, as well as the HSE panel system of recruitment which AOTI has previously highlighted as not fit for purpose.

Mary McGrath, AOTI Chairperson said, “the historic chronic under-staffing and under-resourcing of HSE Occupational Therapy services has been highlighted and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Redeployment of occupational therapists to COVID testing and contact tracing takes a vital resource away from services that were already struggling to meet demands”.

McGrath continued, “we know from statements Stephen Donnelly, Minister for Health, made in recent years that he understands the value of Occupational Therapy and the need to improve access to the range of essential services our profession provides to the public. We are keen to work with the Minister and the Department to support them to find solutions to problems such as the unacceptably long waiting times for the public to access Occupational Therapy assessment and intervention”.

AOTI has written to the Minister for Health calling on him to meet with us as a matter of urgency to discuss our members’ concerns about Occupational Therapy waiting lists, redeployment of occupational therapists and the HSE model of recruitment of occupational therapists.

The AOTI national conference is taking place online today Friday 9th October.

END

 

For more information please contact

Odhrán Allen at cso@aoti.ie

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