Deputy Pearse Doheerty
Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has criticised the lengthy waiting times for under-18s for audiology services in Donegal.
His criticism comes following the release of figures from the HSE, which show that there are currently over 800 children on the audiology waiting list - 110 of whom have been waiting over twelve months for an appointment.
Describing the figures as "deeply concerning" Deputy Doherty said: "The HSE Community Audiology Service was established to provide a comprehensive audiology service for infants, children as well as eligible adults and medical card holders and offers hearing assessment, diagnostic and habilitative services, hearing aid fitting and follow-up care to patients."
He added: "However, following concerns from Constituents surrounding the delays facing patients awaiting an appointment from the Service, I decided to raise the issue of waiting times with the Minister in the Dáil last month for service users here in Donegal.
“The HSE has now provided me with a full breakdown of those waiting list figures and it’s evident from the data that children and all those under the age 18 years of age face some of the longest waiting times here in the county for audiology services,” he said.
“While there are currently 819 children in Donegal on the community audiology waiting list, 110 of these have been waiting for over a year now for an appointment which, for them and their families, is deeply concerning. "Early intervention is key in cases involving young people as problems relating to hearing loss or hearing impairment in children can have a detrimental impact on their development and educational attainment if not properly treated,” he added.