Tuesday, 17 May 1994
Dáil Éireann Debate
95. Mr. M. Kitt asked the Minister for Health when it is proposed to resume speech therapy on a five day a week basis for the Brothers of Charity services in Ballinasloe, County Galway, for over 50 mentally handicapped children in preschool and special schools in the town.
Minister for Health (Mr. Howlin): The provision of speech therapy services in Ballinasloe is a matter in the first instance for the Western Health Board. Speech therapy services for children with a mental handicap in the Ballinasloe area are provided by the Brothers of Charity on behalf of the board.
Speech therapy services in the Ballinasloe area were provided on a five day a week basis for a period earlier this year. However, due to a shortage of speech therapists in other areas in Galway, it became necessary to reduce the level of speech therapy services which were being provided in Ballinasloe. The ratio of speech therapists to the caseload in Ballinasloe still compares favourably with other areas in the western region.
One of the reasons for the inadequacy of the speech therapy sevices in general is the lack of sufficient numbers of trained speech therapists. My Department has taken steps to remedy the situation by arranging for six extra training places to be provided at the School of Clinical Speech and Language Studies, Trinity College, Dublin, commencing in the 1992-93 academic year. The total student body will increase in phases from 80 students in 1992 to 104 students in 1995-96. The increased level of graduate output resulting from this important development should ease difficulties in the area of speech and language therapy.
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