Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (1322)

Micheál Martin


1322. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health if he has received briefing material or held meetings on the budgetary deficits in the disability sector; if the organisations have written to him to raise concerns in relation to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36628/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As Minister for Health, my primary concern is to ensure the continuity of appropriate person-centred disability services is maintained and delivered in an equitable manner consistent with the care and support needs of individuals.

Significant resources have been invested by the health sector in disability services over the past number of years. In 2019 alone, the Health Service Executive has allocated €1.9 billion to its Disability Services Programme.

My Department and the HSE have put significant effort and resources into assisting the disability sector to manage priority needs within the funding available. As the Deputy may be aware, voluntary organisations provide up to 75% of disability services on behalf of the HSE, through section 38 and section 39 service level agreements.

A number of service providers have written to my Department highlighting their individual challenges, which include deficits accrued over many years. These deficits belong to the individual organisations, while the HSE are working with the providers to ascertain the full extent of the liabilities.

The Deputy may recall specific concerns around Rehab, which received some attention earlier in the year. Minister McGrath and I have met with this organisation on a number of occasions. Rehab and the HSE have committed to working together intensively with a view to making substantive progress in reaching a solution to the issues, and the HSE remains committed to exploring further avenues to a resolution of the financial position of this and other organisations.

The Independent Review Group established to examine the role of voluntary organisations in publicly funded health and personal services published their Report earlier this year. I am continuing my examination of the recommendations of the Report in the context of strengthening the relationship between the State and the voluntary organisations in the best interests of service users.