HSE NEWS: HSE may face hundreds of cases over special needs assessment delays

The HSE may face hundreds of legal actions over delays in carrying out special needs assessments of children with a range of conditions including autism, the High Court has heard.

The delays in carrying out the multidisciplinary assessments extend for periods up to two years and the reasons appear to include an insufficient number of psychologists.

Under the Disability Act 2005, an assessment must be commenced within three months of an application being received, and completed within a further three months from date of commencement. If not completed within that time, the reasons why must be set out, as must a time frame for completion.

Solicitor Gareth Noble, whose firm KOD Lyons Solicitors represents several plaintiffs suing over the delays, said the assessments are an important gateway for accessing services for children. Some parents frustrated by the delays had arranged private assessments for their children but the HSE is refusing to recognise those because they are not multidisciplinary assessments, he added

There is also just one complaints officer nationwide to handle hundreds of complaints by parents over the delays, he added.

Several delay cases listed before Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Tuesday for case management were adjourned to give the HSE more time to file opposition papers.

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SOURCE: IRISH TIMES

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