Written Answers. - Needs of Handicapped People.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

151 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the total number of handicapped people currently in need of residential day and respite care in each of the health board areas throughout the country; the extent to which such facilities are available at present; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [965/94]

From unvalidated information available to my Department it would appear that there are 1,217 persons with mental handicap awaiting residential places and 1,522 awaiting day care services.

The current information in respect of each health board area is as follows:

Health Board

Resid- ential

Day Care

Eastern

553

451

Midland

41

42

Mid-West

196

121

North-East

106

99

North-West

43

30

South-East

107

470

Southern

99

178

Western

72

131

Total

1,217

1,522

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 following is the current position in respect of the numbers of residential and day places in each health board region:

Health Boards

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.
Similar information in relation to persons with disabilities other than mental handicap is not readily available, but I have asked the health boards to provide me with the information requested by the Deputy and I will forward it to him when it becomes available.

Seán Barrett

Question:

152 Mr. Barrett asked the Minister for Health whether he has received a submission from the Limerick Parents and Friends Association of the Mentally Handicapped setting out the needs of the mentally handicapped in the Mid-Western Health Board area; if so, the immediate plans, if any, he has to meet these requirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [967/94]

I have received a number of submissions from the Limerick Parents and Friends Association of the Mentally Handicapped giving details of service needs in the Mid-Western region.

Of the £8.5 million in additional funding which I made available in 1993 for services for persons with a mental handicap, £6.5 million was allocated for the development of new services. The Mid-Western region received £458,000 in additional revenue funding and £410,000 in capital funding. This enabled the following additional services to put in place:

—20 residential/respite places

—10 day care places

—Additional home support services.

In 1994 £12.5 million was made available for the further development of services from which £10 million was allocated for the provision of new services. The Mid-Western region received £1.122 million and as a result of this additional funding, the following additional services are being put in place:

—39 residential/respite places

—52 day care places

—Home support services for 65 families

—28 persons with a mental handicap are being transferred from psychiatric hospitals to more appropriate accommodation.

Significant capital funding is also being provided in 1994 for the development of training facilities for persons with a mental handicap as part of the European Regional Development Fund Structural Programme. £480,000 of this funding is being allocated to the Mid-Western region to provide additional training facilities in Thurles, Limerick, Roscrea and Kilrush.
In both years the services which were put in place were agreed within the guidelines issued by my Department, with the Mid-Western Regional Mental Handicap Co-ordinating Committee which is representative of the health board, service providers and families of persons with a mental handicap.
In addition to the development of new services, a further £4.5 million was made available over 1993 and 1994 to meet essential needs in existing services. As many of the agencies provide services in more than one health board region, it is not possible to say how much of this funding went to each area.
I am aware that while very significant improvements have been made in the level of service provision available to persons with a mental handicap and their families in the mid-west and throughout the country, much more needs to be done and it is my intention to ensure that services are expanded and strengthened. The Government is committed to the continued development of the services as outlined in both theProgramme for Competitiveness and Work and the Health Strategy —Shaping a Healthier Future.