Dáil Éireann - Volume 448 - 26 January, 1995
Written Answers. - Needs and Abilities Report.
Mr. Callely Mr. Callely
13. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Health the progress, if any, that has been made towards speeding up implementation of the Needs and Abilities report; the costs of measures that will be undertaken in the coming 24 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1650/95]
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East) Michael Noonan
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East): The report of the Review Group on Mental Handicap — Needs and Abilities — estimated the quantity and cost of the additional services needed to meet existing and emerging needs. The additional costs as  estimated in the report were £27.5 million revenue and £22.5 million capital over the period 1990 to 1994. The estimated service needs during this period was for 800 residential places and 2,000 day places.
In the period since 1990 and including the additional funding of £10 million provided for the development of additional services in 1994, a total of £28.08 million has been invested in new services. This funding has provided over 780 additional residential places and 1,657 day places.
It can be seen therefore that considerable progress has been made in recent years in implementing the “Needs and Abilities” report. The total additional services provided between 1990 and the end of 1994 are almost equal to the level of provision recommended.
I would also like to point out to the Deputy that the additional residential places provided include some respite and emergency places in addition to full time residential places. The development funding has also been used to provide home support services.
In addition to the £28.08 million expended on the provision of new services, a further £4.5 million has also been made available by my Department to improve existing services. This funding has been used primarily to provide additional staff to cater for the increased dependency of more elderly clients and clients with disturbed behaviour.
It is the Government's intention to continue to build on the progress which has been made, particularly over the last two years. I would like to assure the Deputy that the provision of additional services for persons with a mental handicap has a very high priority within my Department. In line with the commitment contained in the policy agreement “A Government of Renewal”, the Government is committed to eliminating waiting lists and to maximising the quality of life and right of participation of every citizen with a mental handicap. I will announce the details of my proposals for mental handicap services  when the Estimate for my Department has been finalised.
Dáil Éireann 448 Written Answers. Needs and Abilities Report.