Under the recently published Disability Bill 2004, my Department has published an outline sectoral plan in respect of the specific health and personal social services provided for people with disabilities. This is an interim plan designed to encompass a programme of work which is to be undertaken over the next 12 to 18 months. The main aspects of this programme are related to the provisions contained in the Disability Bill 2004, together with a strategic review of the services as a whole.
It is expected that this review will examine the significant level of service provision which is already in place, focusing on specific issues which are of concern to people with disabilities and their families and carers, together with statutory and voluntary bodies in this area, with an opportunity to input into the planning and delivery of services over the coming years.
While the strategic review of services may result in a degree of re-prioritisation of existing resources, it is quite clear, given the identified needs of the various groups within this sector, that an ongoing programme of significant additional investment in these services is required. Recognising this, the Taoiseach has given a commitment to a multi-annual capital and current investment programme in the forthcoming Estimates and budget. Decisions on the investment programme for disability-specific services will be announced as part of that process.
The issues raised by the Deputy will be considered within the context of the programme of work to be undertaken in respect of the outline sectoral plan and the strategic review.