Walsh welcomes €6.89m to tackle ‘Assessment of Needs’ waiting lists 

Fine Gael MEP, Maria Walsh, has welcomed additional funding aimed at addressing the backlog for families of children with disabilities awaiting Assessment of Needs (AONs). Walsh, representing Midlands-North-West, emphasised the importance of this funding in supporting community healthcare organisations.

MEP Walsh said: “This funding boost is great news for the Midlands-North-West. With rising numbers of families requiring AONs around the country, it’s crucial we do everything possible to provide assessments”.

Walsh highlighted that the €6.89 million in funding will facilitate 2,500 private assessments nationwide over the next six months, commencing in the coming days. This funding is in addition to the existing HSE core funding of €5 million, which aims to complete 1,800 AONs in 2024.

“No family in Midlands-North-West or elsewhere should have to wait excessively long periods of time for the needs of their child to be assessed. The quicker the assessment takes place, the sooner the family can access the right services. This new funding will prioritise the families who have been waiting longest,” Walsh promised. She also confirmed that parents would not be expected to pay any initial costs, as the HSE will reimburse these private clinics directly.

“The Special Committee on Children, Education and Disability, which was recently set up and where the decision was made to proceed with this initiative, is looking at many ways to further improve disability services, such as recruiting more specialists to contribute towards nationwide Children’s Disability Network Teams to provide important therapies to children,” Walsh explained.