A wide range of disability services are provided to those with physical, sensory, intellectual disability and autism. Disability services focus on supporting and enabling people with disabilities to maximise their full potential, living ordinary lives in ordinary places, as independently as possible. Disability services strive to ensure the voices of service users and their families are heard, and are fully involved in planning and improving services to meet their needs
Under the Health Act of 1970 (as amended) the “eligibility framework” places an obligation on the HSE to make a range of services available to people, rather than conferring on them an ‘absolute entitlement’ to access such services.
Section 7 of the Health Act of 2004 specifies that
“The object of the Executive is to use the resources available to it in the most beneficial, effective and efficient manner to improve, promote and protect the health and welfare of the public”
In short, at the moment our legislation does not confer a right to particular services, instead persons have eligibility to access services while there is a finite budget of money which the HSE allocates to best fit the needs of the population as a whole.
The overarching principle governing the planning and delivery of health services and supports for adults and children with disabilities is that they should be integrated, as much as possible, with services and supports for the rest of the population. The Government’s agenda in this regard is clearly set out in the current National Disability Inclusion Strategy (NDIS) which is based on a non-condition specific approach to the delivery of public services and the mainstreaming agenda.
For persons with disabilities receiving support services, person-centred planning is a key process to focus the delivery of services and supports on the person and how they want to live their life. As part of the Transforming Lives programme, a aPerson-Centred Planning Framework has now been developed. To commence the implementation of the framework a Demonstration Project has been agreed with five provider organisations. The five organisations participating in the implementation of the Person-Centred Planning Framework during 2019 will be evaluating their current model of person-centred planning and its alignment with the Person-Centred Planning Framework. The experience learned through this demonstration project will inform the development of strategy and planning for the wider roll out of the framework throughout the adult disability service sector.
The Department can confirm that the overall Budget for health funded specialist disability services in 2020 is in excess of €2 billion. This is an increase of over €490 million since 2016. The increased level of funding in 2020 will enable the Health Services to continue to provide a broad range of services aimed at improving the quality of life of people with disabilities and their families. The policy is to provide person centred services based on need rather than diagnosis.