Iceland’s government accepted yesterday a strategy and a finance plan aimed at eliminating waiting lists for the State Diagnostic and Counseling Center proposed by the Ministry of Social Welfare.
The State Diagnostic and Counseling Center is the main evaluation and habilitation center in Iceland for children and adolescents with various types of developmental disabilities.
“It was not possible to tolerate these circumstances any longer,” said Minister of Social Welfare Jóhanna Sigurdarsdóttir, referring to 250 children waiting for services from the center, who may have to wait up to three years. “I am delighted by this decision, because this case was one of my absolute priorities.”
According to Fréttabladid, the government has agreed to spend ISK 147 million (USD 2.3 million, EUR 1.7 million) on eliminating the waiting lists in two years. The money will be spent on hiring more staff and leasing additional housing.
After that time the State Diagnostic and Counseling Center is supposed to be able to organize its operations in such a way that waiting lists will not build up.
Stefán J. Hreidarsson, the director of the State Diagnostic and Counseling Center, said he is very pleased with the government’s decision and stated the funding would not only eliminate waiting lists but also improve the quality of the center’s services.
Hreidarsson said the waiting lists could not be eliminated completely until after two years. “The children will not just be piled up and diagnosed. The service is complex and many participate in it.”
The funding will enable three teams of specialists to be founded, each comprising a psychologist, a pediatrician, a social worker and a developmental therapist, who have access to a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, a physical therapist and a specialist in diagnosing autism.
Click here to read more about waiting lists for health services in Iceland.