Written Answers. - Placement of Persons with Disability.

Ivor Callely

Ceist:

45 Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that people with a disability are being discriminated against in the area of appropriate placement in service or care; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6281/96]

,Limerick East): As the Deputy is aware, substantial additional funding has been made available in recent years for the development of services for persons with a mental handicap or a physical or sensory disability.

Additional funding of £44.58 million invested in the services for people with a mental handicap in the period 1990-95 has enabled health boards to put in place over 1,000 additional residential places and 2,100 day care places. A further £10 million has been made available in 1996. Since 1993, additional funding totalling £15.5 million has been invested in services for people with a physical or sensory disability with emphasis being placed on the development of day care, respite and residential care services as well as therapy services. In 1995, £3 million capital funding was provided for the development of new services and the refurbishment and improvement of existing services. This included £500,000 for aids and appliances.

I am satisfied that this additional annual funding has made a significant impact on the number of persons awaiting residential care or in need of day service and that it has enabled a start to be made in tackling the issue of inappropriate placement.
However, I am aware that more needs to be done if we are to meet the needs of those awaiting services. The Government is committed under both the health strategy documentShaping a Healthier Future and A Government of Renewal to the continued development of the service as resources become available. It is my intention, on completion of the validation of the national mental handicap database to propose a five-year development plan for the services based on the information on the database. Services for people with physical and sensory disabilities are being examined by the review group whose final report is expected shortly.