Thursday, 8 November 2012

Questions (34)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

34. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Health if he has carried out an audit of the cumulative effects of cuts to funding for disability services in recent years; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that such cuts are now threatening the very existence of basic services; and if he will ensure that no further cuts to funding of services for persons with disabilities will be imposed in the forthcoming budget 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48962/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Expenditure on health services for people with a disability in 2012 will be in the region of €1.4 billion. The HSE National Service Plan 2012 provides for a 3.7% reduction in budgets but makes it clear that there is scope for achieving efficiencies of 2%, thereby limiting as much as possible the impact on front line services. Despite this reduction, which is similar to that applied across all care areas in the Health sector, the HSE has undertaken to maximise the provision of services within available resources by providing for the following in 2012:

- 9,100 people in residential places

- 18,600 day service places

- 6,300 people receiving respite residential support

- 1.64 million hours of Personal Assistant / Home Support Hours

As you know, I recently published the Value for Money and Policy Review of Disability Services which identifies fundamental issues that need to be addressed in the way in which HSE-funded disability services are managed and operated, and lays the groundwork for the introduction of a significant restructuring of the Disability Services Programme through:

(i) migration from an approach which is predominantly organised around group-based service delivery towards a model of person-centred, individually chose, supports; and

(ii) implementation of a more effective method of assessing need, allocating resources and monitoring resource use.

I must also stress that the nature of the core underlying deficit within the HSE, taken together with the requirements nationally to bring our public spending deficit down by 2015, will make 2013 and 2014 extremely challenging for all sectors, not just Health. I will be doing all possible to ensure that as much protection as possible is afforded to the disability sector, and the Social Care area as a whole.