Additional funding of £12 million has been made available in 1996 for services to persons with a mental handicap. This includes £6 million revenue funding, of which £3 million is being provided to meet the 1996 cost of additional services which were put in place in 1995. The remaining £3 million revenue funding provided will facilitate the provision of an additional 66 residential-respite places and 265 day care places as well as home support services this year.
Capital funding of £6 million is being provided, of which £2 million will be used to support general service developments. The remaining £2 million will be used to develop and improve the quality of training facilities for persons with a mental handicap under the European Regional Development Fund Assisted Programme. Some £2 million capital funding has also been made available to the Eastern Health Board in respect of the provision of additional residential facilities. This funding is being made available over a two year period with £1 million available in 1996 and a further £1 million at the beginning of 1997.
This funding will provide additional residential facilities on the southside of Dublin and will also facilitate the on-going programme of transferring persons with a mental handicap from St. Ita's Hospital, Portrane, to more appropriate care settings. I am also aware of the need for capital funding to continue the on-going maintenance and refurbishment programme in St. Ita's and additional capital funding will be made available in 1996 to enable the Eastern Health Board to continue this work. As the Deputy is aware, substantial additional funding has been made available in recent years for the development of services to persons with a mental handicap. Additional funding of £44.58 million was invested in the services in the period 1990-1995 which has enabled health boards to put in place over 1,000 additional residential places and 2,100 day care places.
I am satisfied that this additional annual funding has made a significant impact on the number of persons with a mental handicap awaiting services. However, I am aware that more needs to be done. The Government is committed under both the Health Strategy documentShaping a Healthier Future and A Government of Renewal to the continued development of the service as resources become available. That commitment is reflected in my decision, with my colleague, the Minister for Health, Deputy Noonan, to prepare a five year service development plan to meet the needs identified by the new National Handicap Database. I expect the plan to be ready later this year when the database becomes available. This development plan will play an important role in the Estimates discussions later this year with a view to having substantial additional funding made available in 1997 and future years for the continued development of services to persons with a mental handicap. Consequently I do not intend to provide a Supplementary Estimate in 1996 for services to persons with a mental handicap.