Written Answers. - Autism Services.

Gerard Murphy

Question:

331 Mr. Murphy asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the fact that his Department appointed an independent consultant to review the services of Charleville and District Association for the Handicapped, County Cork and the recommendation of this review was to provide 21 additional posts within the association and that only two of these posts were funded in 2002. [10992/03]

Gerard Murphy

Question:

332 Mr. Murphy asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the assertion by the CDAH, County Cork, that the failure to provide funding for new developments in 2003 will cause severe hardship (details supplied); and if he will also address the lack of adequate funding for the following services, day services, pre-school and pre-school facilitator, home support, respite care and administration support. [10993/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 331 and 332 together.

I am aware of the concerns regarding the provision of services to persons with an intellectual disability and those with autism.

As part of an ongoing review of needs within existing services, my Department commissioned a review of the services provided by a number of section 65 funded intellectual disability service providers, including the CDAH. My Department made it clear to all agencies involved in this exercise that, while making every effort to provide the resources required to address the needs identified in the review, it could not give a commitment in relation to a specific timeframe within which these needs would be met.

As resources have become available to my Department specific funding has been provided annually over the past number of years to meet these needs in various agencies. Additional funding of €13.3 million has been allocated to services for persons with an intellectual disability or autism in 2003 to meet the full year cost of the 2002 developments and to further enhance the health related support services to children with an intellectual disability or autism. This funding is in addition to the significant revenue investment, amounting to €188 million, which has been made in these services since 1997 and which is built into the ongoing budget.

The additional funding provided by this and the previous Government between 2000 and 2002 was used to put in place, in addition to a range of other services, over 900 new residential, 380 new respite and around 2,000 new day places for people with an intellectual disability and those with autism.
In April 2000 information from the national intellectual disability database indicated that in the period 2000 to 2004, inclusive, 1,711 new residential places were required to meet the identified needs for these services.
The overall economic position in 2003 has had implications for all aspects of public investment. This is reflected in the Estimates and budget adopted by the Government for 2003. Within this overall framework two-thirds of the additional funding available for non-capital investment in services has been allocated to the health services.
This funding is being applied largely to maintaining existing levels of service across all service programmes, including services for people with an intellectual disability. While it is regrettable that the level of investment in these services achieved in recent years could not be maintained in 2003, my Department will work closely with the health boards and other service providers in relation to service provision this year.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

333 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the case of a 17 year old girl with high-spectrum autism (details supplied) who has been in an adult psychiatric unit in Naas for the past eight months; if he has received an application for funding for an available place in St. Raphael's in Celbridge which will be appropriate for this girl's care needs; and if he will now approve that funding. [10994/03]

Responsibility for the provision of services to persons with an intellectual disability and those with autism in the Naas area is a matter for the ERHA. My Department has asked its chief executive officer to investigate the matter raised and to reply directly to the Deputy.