A KILDARE mother is being forced to spend money she has saved for Christmas to have her daughter assessed by a private psychologist after being told by the HSE that they would be waiting 30 months for a public appointment.
“That’s two-and-a-half years to just get on the list to be seen,” said the mother.
“I’m at my wits’ end. I don’t know if I can carry any more. I’m mentally fatigued…my GP has complained…but I can ‘t even get someone to tell me how to help her,” she said.
The married mother of two began noticing signs of anxiety in her 7 year old daughter a few months ago, but discovered that there was no child psychologist in Kildare town since the last office holder went on maternity leave.
“She was referred by my GP. She was ticking boxes for ASD [autism spectrum disorder],” explained the mother.
She brought her to another psychologist in her home town of Newbridge –which was “very helpful” – but was stopped from going any further because “I’m not in the catchment area”.
“It’s 8Km. ( from Kildare to Newbridge) I run it every Sunday morning. It’s only six or seven minutes in the car”.
“What am I supposed to do? Leave my husband and move back in with my mother to get her seen?” she asked.
“I’d sleep on the streets if it would help,” she offered.
The woman then explained that she had got a date to see an occupational therapist in Kildare for December . “Due to backlogs that appointment was only for leaflets”
“No disrespect, but I can do that,” she said.
She then got a letter from the HSE that told her the wait to be get an appointment was “30 months”, and that the wait in Kildare town for a child psychologist was “until they hire one”.
“I’m not being funny, but we’ve had to borrow money to see a private child psychologist, because my child won’t go outside the door,” she said.
“Her school found me one in Naas. It’s €400 for the initial assessment, and we have to pay for all future consultations,” she continued.
“€400 is basically my Santy shopping,” said the mum, who has other children.
“My daughter is regressing, I don’t know where to turn. Debt is the only possibility. We’re going from stress to heartbreak,” she said.
“I’ve seen these sort of stories on the Internet, but you just scroll on. It’s not until you’re in it…,” she tailed off.
“In a way we’re lucky. My husband is breaking his arse, but there are some out there who don’t even have that support or option,” she explained.
“School has been helpful. They found that lady in Naas,” she said.
“We have that appointment next Friday. It’s €400 for a two-hour assessment. It can’t come quick enough,” said the mum.
“It was Hallowe’en last night and she spent the night on the bed crying. She doesn’t want to be like this. She’s 7. She shouldn’t have a care in the world. She used to go out and play, now she doesn’t leave the house. She’s missing out on things a child should be doing,” said the mother.
“I just want to see her laugh and play. I don’t care if she’s diagnosed [with ASD], but I need some help from professionals. What I’m doing at the moment doesn’t feel like it’s enough, but I won’t give up,” said the mum.
Local TD Fiona O’Loughlin has lashed out at the Minister for Health over lack of resources to provide a replacement psychologist for the Kildare Town area sooner than 2020.
“I am shocked that no replacement has yet been found to fill the vacant space in Kildare Town. There are so many children waiting for assessments and each week that number continues to rise.”
“Parents have contacted me frustration over the delays in the service and huge concerns linger over how long more they will have to wait for their child’s assessment,” she said.
“In a reply to a Parliamentary Question, I was advised that the Psychology Service in the HSE hopes to fill the position in Kildare town by 2020. That is simply just not good enough. In a further question to the Minister regarding Assessments of Needs in Kildare, the HSE advised that funding for 120 cases were made available since early 2018 and in that time, 430 new applications were received.
“Surely this is a sign that the Minister must act to address the shortages and look into the reasons why it is so hard to keep and secure psychologists across the country,” she concluded.