Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North, Frank O’Rourke has said it is unacceptable that 3,664 children and adolescents are waiting for primary care services in Kildare and West Wicklow.

He was commenting as information compiled by Fianna Fáil paints a shocking picture of 90,000 children waiting for primary care treatments across the country. New information from the HSE also shows that 117,000 children across the country are waiting for hospital treatment.

Deputy O’Rourke said the Occupational Therapy list for Kildare – West Wicklow was particularly bad with 917 children waiting, including 614 who have been waiting for more than one year for an assessment.

He said, “The primary care lists which we have refer to vital treatment which greatly aides a child’s growth and development. That there are 3,664 children waiting for psychology, audiology, ophthalmology, dietetics, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, is simply unacceptable.

“Research has shown that when children receive delayed interventions, it negatively affects their quality of life, and increases their risk of not making progress or a full recovery in some circumstances. They are quite literally deteriorating and regressing as they wait.

“In recent weeks, a number of families have contacted me to say that even though they cannot afford it, they are trying to source private services for their children. They are putting themselves into debt in order to get treatment for their child, but for many they still have to wait months because services are so stretched.

“Access to basic healthcare should not be this difficult, parents should not have to fight so hard for it,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.