Written Answers. - Services for the Disabled.

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

86 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will give a detailed breakdown of the £8.4 million additional funding for services for people with physical and sensory disability in 1998 by each health board area; the degree this allocation meets with the service priorities as identified by each of the health board co-ordinating committees; the extent to which this allocation meets the recommendations contained in the report, Towards an Independent Future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15475/98]

Of the £8.4 million made available in 1998 for services for people with physical and sensory disabilities, £5.4 million is additional revenue and £3 million is for capital developments.

Of the £5.4 million revenue funding, £2.4 million is for the elimination of underfunding of existing services and £3 million for the development of services.

Health boards will decide, in consultation with the co-ordinating committees for physical and sensory disability services, on the priorities for the allocation of the £3 million development funding and I expect to have their proposals shortly.

The breakdown of the allocation of the revenue funding by health board is set out in the following table.

Health Board

£2.4 million to eliminate underfunding of existing services

£3 million for development of services

£m

£m

Eastern Health Board

1.186

1.080

Midland Health Board

.199

183

Mid-Western Health Board

.134

.255

North-Eastern Health Board

.104

.261

North-Western Health Board

.141

.168

South-Eastern Health Board

.129

.318

Southern Health Board

.143

.450

Western Health Board

.364

.285

Total

2.400

3.000

Proposals received from the health boards for expenditure of the capital funding are currently being considered by my Department.
I am satisfied that the additional funding made available by this Government — £10 million in 1997 and £8.4 million in 1998 — for the maintenance and development of services for people with physical and sensory disabilities represents a major step towards meeting the recommendations contained in the report,Towards an Independent Future of the Review Group on Health and Personal Social Services for People with Physical and Sensory Disabilities.
A fundamental recommendation in the review group report is the establishment of a database on the health service needs of persons with physical and sensory disabilities. This task is crucial to identifying priorities for the development of services for people with such disabilities over the coming years. A joint database pilot project in three health boards has been completed and I will be setting up a database development committee shortly.