Both I and the HSE acknowledge the challenges in meeting the demand for children’s disability services and is acutely conscious of how this impacts on children and their families.
A number of service improvements are being introduced that, when implemented, will help improve access to services for children with disabilities and developmental delays. The overall programme of improvement is the ongoing roll out of Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People. This requires the reorganisation of all current HSE and HSE funded children’s disability services into geographically-based Children's Disability Network Teams.
The Progressing Disabilities Programme is doing this by forming partnerships between all the disability organisations in an area and pooling their staff with expertise in the different types of disabilities to form the Network Teams. These teams will provide for all children with significant disability, regardless of their diagnosis, where they live or where they go to school.
The HSE is establishing a total of 91 Children’s Disability Networks across each of the nine CHOs comprised of specialist inter-disciplinary Children’s Disability Network Teams to work with children with complex disability needs. This reconfiguration of services under the Progressing Disability Services for Children & Young People programme is in line with Health Service Reform and the implementation of Community Healthcare Networks under Sláintecare.
In addition, 100 new posts have been allocated under the HSE National Service Plan 2021. Funding for these posts will facilitate each area to determine the discipline and grade required to address the gaps in their Children’s Disability Network Teams. The 2021 allocation of posts is being assigned to the CHO areas in two tranches of 50 posts.
I trust this clarifies the position for the Deputy.