Empty rhetoric is all that the Government is offering when it comes to providing audiology services for children and adults in Mayo. This was glaringly demonstrated by the recent High Court case regarding a child’s hearing loss that was settled with a HSE apology and financial compensation.
This case relates to an awful scandal that affected many children and families. The audiology services in Mayo and other Western counties were substandard and caused enormous damage to children’s development.
Nothing can undo the impact that this can have had on the lives of the children and families involved.
This is a timely reminder of the long-term consequences that can result when people are denied access to vital healthcare such as audiology services.
This family, and others, were failed between 2008 and 2012, yet we still have children waiting a year and adults waiting almost two years to see an audiologist.
The answer that I have received from the HSE regarding Mayo is that children and adults are waiting 49 and 79 weeks, respectively, for a consultation.
The effect that this has on the quality of life of people with hearing difficulties is impossible to overstate. Many are unable to communicate properly with their friends and family. Imagine being in isolation due to Covid-19 and not even being able to use the phone for company.
The situation for children is even more dire as this case reminds us. Delaying access to audiology services for children during important developmental years can cause irreparable damage.
A specific plan for audiology services in Mayo needs to be brought forward and implemented as a matter of urgency.