Monday 8th March 2021

 Minister of State for Disabilities, Anne Rabbitte TD, has welcomed the appointment of Mr Robbie Ryan to Chair the Review of the Standard Operating Procedure for Assessment of Need for Children.

 The Disability Act (2005) requires the HSE to provide an Assessment of Need for children and young people born on or after 1st June 2002 who are suspected of having a disability. In an effort to standardise procedures and facilitate timely assessments the HSE developed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Assessment of Need. The HSE implemented the SOP for all applications from 15th January 2020. As part of implementing this new process, the HSE and the Fórsa Trade Union committed to an independently chaired joint review.

Minister Rabbitte said:

I am very aware that the Standard Operating Procedure has been widely discussed in various fora in recent months, with various stakeholders raising concerns around the new format for assessment so this review is very welcome.

 What we know is that the system in place prior to January 2020 needed fundamental change. It’s become clear to me that there are varying views on how it works, and this provides an excellent opportunity to assess how this new format of assessment is working on the ground, for children, families and for clinicians.

 There are clinical risks associated with the inability to provide interventions having completed very comprehensive and lengthy assessments. This new system balances the provision of shorter assessments accompanied by timely interventions.

Minister Rabbitte concluded:

We all have the same goal in providing supports for all children with additional needs and the reform of the assessment process, along with other measures to increase access to interventions, will ensure that we can make sustainable progress in improving access to children’s disability services. The fundamental objective of this approach is to enable all children to reach their full potential. I look forward to the outcome of the review and any recommendations that may be put forward