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“Significantly longer hearing aid waiting times for South Tipp children,” McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described the difference in waiting times for a hearing or hearing aid assessment between children in South and North Tipperary as bewildering and unjustifiable. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the he was informed by the HSE via Parliamentary Question that while a North Tipperary child who is under 4 will experience on average a six week delay, the same child in South Tipperary will have to wait six months:

“The contrast between the waiting times for children under 4's is very stark indeed. The HSE have also informed me that while adults in North Tipperary will wait ten months for an assessment; adults in South Tipperary will wait on average fifteen months. It is likewise the case that for children over the age of four years there is a significant gap in the other direction; this time those children will wait four months in North Tipp but just four weeks in the South. This kind of variation between waiting times demonstrates the geographical lottery that is at play within our health system, even within the same county!

What is also quite disturbing is the fact that such long delays are still seen as progress by the HSE in relation to their In 2014 National Adult Waiting List Initiative.

The fact is that unless we can narrow the gap between assessment and the receipt of a hearing aid then the whole process will be pretty useless in terms of accurately diagnosing the level of deterioration a child or adult is experiencing.

Unfortunately the figures reveal that there are still chronic problems within the HSE which need to be addressed while the Minister goes on targeting scare resources at those who need it least,” concluded Deputy McGrath.