The HSE has recognised the need to increase the level of consistency and standardisation in the way both early intervention services and services for school-aged children with disabilities are delivered. It is currently engaged in a reconfiguration of existing therapy resources to geographic based teams for children (0-18 years) as part of the National Programme on Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People (0-18 years). The Programme is organised at national, regional and local level and includes representatives from the health and education sectors, service providers (both statutory and non-statutory) and parents. These stakeholders are working together to see how current services can be reorganised in line with agreed policy. The HSE has stated that it is very cognisant of stakeholder's views particularly of parents within this context. It has also worked to ensure that information about the Programme is made widely available. The Executive is working very closely with the education sector, which is fully involved in the development of the Programme, to ensure that, from the children’s and parents’ perspective, the services provided by each sector in so far as possible are integrated. Detailed Local Area action plans are being implemented with the following objectives: - One clear pathway to services for all children with disabilities according to need, - Resources used to the greatest benefit for all children and families, and - Health and Education working together to support children to achieve their potential.
The purpose of the reconfiguration of existing therapy resources is to ensure that the resources available are used to best effect, in order to provide health supports and ongoing therapy to all children (0-18 years) in line with their prioritised needs. In particular, it will mean that all children, regardless of where they receive their education services will have equitable access to services based on their needs. The very essence of this Programme is that the child is placed at the centre of disability services and that their needs are assessed. To further support the Programme and in recognition of the fact that a child’s development has both health and education aspects, a detailed framework designed to aid collaborative working between the health and education sectors at local level has been distributed. Decisions in relation to the local reorganisation of services will be made by Local Implementation Groups, which include representatives of all the service providers in the local area, parents and the education sector. They have a complex task which includes agreeing the principles which should underpin all disability services, mapping of existing services and gaps, consideration of the changes needed in structures and a detailed plan of how to advance. This plan will include issues of timing and the phasing of proposed changes.