Written Answers. - Residential Care and Respite Places.

Theresa Ahearn

Question:

47 Mrs. T. Ahearn asked the Minister for Health the total number of residential day and respite places which are available for the mentally handicapped in each health board area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [966/94]

Statistics regarding the number of persons with mental handicap at 31 December 1992 indicated that 13,399 persons were in receipt of services of whom 6,582 were in receipt of residential services and 6,817 attended day care services.

As a result of the additional £8.5 million made available for the development of services in 1993, a further 90 residential/respite places and 205 day care places were provided. In 1994 additional funding of £12.5 million was provided for the development of a broad range of services, including 282 new residential places for ongoing emergency and respite care and 550 day care places for a wide variety of community based services. The following is the current position in respect of each health board region:

Health Board

Residential

Day

Total

Eastern

2,643

2,681

5,324

Midland

378

325

703

Mid-Western

612

552

1,164

North-Eastern

411

462

873

North-Western

558

507

1,065

South-Eastern

613

784

1,397

Southern

1,074

1,433

2,507

Western

665

828

1,493

Total

6,954

7,572

14,526

The Deputy will be pleased to note that between 1993 and 1994 a total of 1,127 additional places for persons with mental handicap have been made available.
In relation to respite care it is difficult to estimate the number of places available due to the flexible use of residential places e.g. five day beds, holiday respite, etc. However, a survey by my Department in late 1993 indicated that the total number of respite care nights provided was 51,702 and the number of clients benefiting from respite care was approximately 3,900.
My Department is in the process of putting in place a National Data-base on the Needs of Persons with Mental Handicap. The data-base will provide information, on an ongoing basis, on the number of people with a mental handicap in each region, the number in receipt of services and those awaiting services, their current and future needs and the level of support which is required to meet those needs.
The Health Strategy — Shaping a Healthier Future and the Programme for Government both contain firm commitments to the continued development of services for persons with a mental handicap with a particular emphasis on catering for unmet needs. I am satisfied that the injection of funds in recent years has contributed towards a real improvement in services and I intend to build on this in future years.