I propose to take Questions Nos. 475 to 478, inclusive, together.
The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.
The Programme for Partnership Government states that the Government will improve services and increase supports for people with disabilities, particularly for early assessment and intervention for children with special needs. In that context, the HSE is in the process of reconfiguring services for children with a disability under their National Programme on Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People (0-18 years).
The aim of the Progressing Disability Services Programme is to achieve a national, unified approach to delivering disability health services so that there is a clear pathway to services for all children, regardless of where they live, what school they go to or the nature of their disability. The Programme is organised at national, regional and local level and includes representatives from the health and education sectors, non-statutory service providers and parents. It is envisaged that the Programme, when implemented, will have a positive impact on the provision of clinical services for all children who require access to health related supports. An additional €4m has been specifically allocated in 2016 to drive implementation of the Programme. This equates to approximately 75 therapy posts. Following detailed consideration by the Executive, these additional therapy posts have now been allocated and the recruitment process to fill same is currently underway.
As implementation of the Programme and the questions the Deputy has raised are a service matter, I have arranged for the questions to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy. If she has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and they will follow up the matter with them.