Hundreds of children wait over a year for psychological assessment with longest wait 1,310 days

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Almost 500 children and young people were awaiting a psychological assessment in the Western Trust at the end of May, with the longest wait over three and a half years.

Figures newly released by the Health Minister Robin Swann show 481 people were waiting for paediatric psychology and therapeutic LAC (Looked After Children) psychology assessments at May 31, 2022.

The vast majority of these children (368) had been waiting in excess of a year and the longest wait time was 1,310 days.

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The new figures were released to local Sinn Féin MLA Pádraig Delargy who had tabled an Assembly Question on the matter.

Mr. Delargy said there is an urgent need to fund mental health services and called for the immediate formation of an Executive to address the problem.

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“Right now, people are struggling with anxiety, depression, and mental ill-health.

“We need an Executive to be formed immediately and a three-year budget agreed which prioritises health and mental health to be delivered urgently so we can put the necessary funding and services in place,” remarked the Foyle MLA.

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According to the data released by the department, 33 children and young people in the Western Trust had been waiting for less than 13 weeks on May 31, 19 had been waiting between 13 and 26 weeks, 61 had been waiting between 26 and 52 weeks and 368 had been waiting for more than 52 weeks.

“The Department of Health needs to urgently review the disparity between Trusts and act immediately. Sinn Féin is committed to investing an additional billion pounds in our health service over the next three years to tackle waiting lists, recruit more doctors and nurses, to fund cancer and mental health services and help transform the health service,” said Mr. Delargy.