Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Ceisteanna (138)

Alan Shatter


245 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason the former Minister for Health and Children, Deputy Harney, and the Minister of State, Deputy Moloney, participated in a series of meetings with the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation during the period May 2010 to December 2010, inclusive, during which the financial needs of the organisation were discussed with regard to its maintaining its services and providing additional services to children between the ages four and six years; to confirm that those who attended the meeting were led to believe that additional funding would be made available to the organisation when no such funding has been so provided; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the organisation has been notified by the Health Service Executive that its funding is to be cut by €10,000 this year; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that it is impossible for this organisation to continue to provide its current level of service without additional funding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3623/11]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Health)

The meetings referred to were held with a view to addressing the service needs of families and children identified by the Jack & Jill Children's Foundation as being at risk of losing their service due to the significant shortfall in private donations experienced by the Foundation in recent times. As a direct result of those meetings, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is now working jointly with the Jack and Jill Foundation to identify and prioritise the needs of the children on a case-by-case basis. The HSE will work closely with Jack & Jill to ensure that no child is hospitalised for want of adequate home support, provided by either Jack & Jill Children's Foundation or the HSE. However, if a child needs hospital care, the HSE will provide this.

The Health Service Executive will continue to fund Jack & Jill Children's Foundation in 2011. The Minister's guidance to the HSE in developing their service plan for 2011 was that there should be a particular focus on protecting services to vulnerable groups. The Minister requested the HSE to give favourable treatment to disability services by setting a lower savings target for disability services of a maximum budget reduction of 1.8%. As is the case with all charities, the HSE is not in a position to provide additional funding for the Foundation to compensate for the drop in its private fund-raising income. This position was made clear to the Foundation in the meetings referred to.