Written Answers. - Disabled Person's Grants Scheme.

John McGuinness

Ceist:

88 Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the fact that funding under the disabled person's grants scheme is exhausted in the Kilkenny County Council area; if extra funding will now be made available to deal with the growing backlog of priority cases; the plans he has to reduce the waiting lists in each category created by the CMO, that is high, medium and low priorities; and if the scheme can be streamlined in order that one department and a lesser number of officials deal with each case. [17508/01]

As I have previously informed the Deputy, the provision of housing modification grants for people with physical disabilities is a matter for the Department of the Environment and Local Government and they are provided through the relevant local authority. The criteria for this scheme is set out in that Department's Housing (Disabled Person's and Essential Repairs Grant) Regulations, 1993.

The housing modifications-adaptations required vary according to the level of disability involved in each particular case. It is necessary for a trained professional, that is an occupational therapist, to identify the most suitable modifications which will allow the individual to function adequately within the home. Without these modifications some everyday functions may be difficult or impossible to carry out due to the nature of the particular disability. Health boards are involved with these grants to the extent that an assessment of a case must be carried out by an occupational therapist from the health board in order for the grant to be approved.

The assessment procedure involved in the processing of these grants is entirely a matter for discussion between the local authority and the health board concerned.