Hundreds of thousands of children have been left waiting by the NHS for the developmental therapies they need, with some waiting more than two years, The Independent can reveal.
The long waiting lists for services such as speech and language therapy will see a generation of children held back in their development and will “impact Britain for the long haul”, according to the head of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).
More than 1,500 children have been left waiting for two years for NHS therapies, according to internal data obtained by The Independent, while a further 9,000 have been waiting for more than a year. The total waiting list for children’s care in the community is 209,000.
Dr Camilla Kingdon, president of the RCPCH, told The Independent: “The extent of the community waiting lists is extremely alarming. Community health services such as autism services, mental health support and speech and language therapy play a vital role in a child’s development into healthy adulthood, and in helping children from all backgrounds reach their full potential.
“A lack of access to community health services also has direct implications for children and families in socio-economic terms. Delays accessing these essential services can impact social development, school readiness and educational outcomes, and further drive health inequalities across the country.”
She said health and care staff are working immensely hard, but that without support they will struggle to address the long delays, which will “impact Britain for the long haul”.
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Source: The Independent, 26 December 2022