Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Questions (424)

Michael Healy-Rae


424. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if he will address a matter regarding the disability sector (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37427/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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.   

Significant resources have been invested by the health sector in disability services over the past number of years. In 2019, the Health Service Executive allocated funding of €1.9 billion to its Disability Services Programme. This has supported the delivery of targeted improvements in a number of priority areas. For example, an additional €12 million was allocated this year for the provision of services for 1,500 young people leaving school and rehabilitative training in 2019 and funding has been provided for 100 additional therapy posts in 2019 in children’s disability services.  Dedicated capital funding of €100m for disability services over the period 2016–2021, together with the establishment of a Service Reform Fund, will support the phased transition to person-centred models of services and supports.  

The Deputy may be aware that my colleague, the Minister for Health, and I brought a Memorandum to Government on proposals for a new Transport Support Payment Scheme.  Following consideration of the matter, it was decided to withdraw the Memorandum from the Cabinet Agenda at that time.  We intend to revert to Government in due course with revised proposals to reflect the discussions at that Cabinet meeting and further discussions between myself and Minister Harris, on the best way to progress the Transport Support Payment Scheme. 

The level of funding available for Departments next year is being considered as part of the national Estimates and budgetary process for 2020 which is currently underway. Pending completion of this process it is not appropriate for me to comment further at this stage.