Written Answers. - Alzheimer's Disease.

Ivor Callely

Ceist:

59 Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Health the additional measures, if any, he intends to introduce for patients and families of sufferers of Alzheimer's disease; the number of such sufferers on waiting lists for services in each health board area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8814/96]

,Limerick East): As the Deputy will be aware, the report, The Years Ahead — A Policy for the Elderly stressed the need to develop a range of services for people with dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, and their families. The report was adopted as official Government policy towards the elderly. Over recent years additional funding has been made available to the health services to implement key recommendations of the report, including the strengthening of home and community support for people with dementia and their families. While health boards do not maintain waiting lists specifically for Alzheimer's patients, the investment by boards in additional community nursing, day care, respite services and nursing home places has increased the support available to those with Alzheimer's disease and their carers. The care of those with dementia is clearly emerging as a priority for many boards, a development which I fully support. This is reflected in the ongoing progress being made to improve further health and welfare services for the elderly and their carers, including the development of specialist assessment and community support services for people suffering from dementia and Alzheimer disease.

I might add that my Department allocates £80,000 annually in core funding to the Alzheimer Society of Ireland in recognition of the contribution the society is making to the development of services for people with dementia throughout the country.
The Health (Nursing Homes) Act, 1990 which came into effect on 1 September 1993 widens the options available to those caring for dependent relatives with dementia. Under the Act, health boards may pay a subvention towards the cost of care in a nursing home of a person who needs that care and who does not have the resources to pay the cost. Almost £16 million has been made available this year to fund subventions under the Act.