Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (549)

Róisín Shortall


549. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health when services for persons with disabilities will resume; the timeline his Department is working towards; if staff in these services have returned to their original roles following redeployment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2546/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

On January 6th 2021, the Health Service Executive (HSE) issued revised guidance measures for Disability Services in the context of current high levels of Covid 19 transmission rates in the community. The revised guidance reflects Government’s intention that disability services will remain open at each level of the Resilience and Recovery Framework, subject to evolving public health guidance.

Service providers have been asked not to take unilateral action in relation to the provision of services and to ensure that robust communications plan are put in place to ensure that each service user and their families have a clear understanding of services to be provided during this current phase.

The following guidance is under continuing review and will be guided by Public Health advice:

1. Residential & PA/home support: Residential and home support/ personal assistant services continue to be prioritised and delivered subject to a revised Risk Assessment, Public Health Guidance and direction.

2. Respite Services: People with complex medical/clinical needs are to remain at home and will receive home support where possible, subject to risk assessment and prioritisation criteria.

3. Children’s Services: Therapy services for children with disabilities have been identified as “Level 1” in the HSE business continuity plan. Services will continue to be provided either remotely or face to face as appropriate during the current COVID-19 restrictions. The provision of Assessments of Need under the Disability Act continues to be a priority and each CHO area will continue to evaluate their plans on an on-going basis.

4. Adult Day Services: Extra funding has been provided to build capacity in buildings and to provide extra staff. This will ensure that maximum services will continue at a scale so that they can be provided safely to those most in need. Day services continue to be prioritised and delivered subject to a revised Risk Assessment, Public Health Guidance and direction. People with complex medical/ clinical related needs are to remain at home and, where possible to receive the same number of hours support in the home as they had been in receipt of pre-Christmas in day service locations. Providers have been asked to reduce contacts via hubs/bubbles, with dedicated staff for dedicated service users, where possible. Where families are uncomfortable with allowing their family member to return to a day service location, a package of support within available resources will be agreed with the service user and family.

The full guidance is available on the HSE website at:

With regard to the redeployment of staff, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.