Dáil Éireann - Volume 475 - 04 March, 1997

Written Answers. - Transport Services.

90. Mr. D. Ahern asked the Minister for Health the arrangements, if any, which will be put in place to make provision and provide assistance on transport provided by health boards and voluntary organisations in the transport of people with disabilities to and from centres and facilities attended by them in connection with their disability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5983/97]

Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East): Transport of people with disabilities to health centres attended by them in connection with their disability is provided either directly by the health boards or by voluntary agencies providing services on behalf of the boards. Funding for the provision of transport is available either by way of capital grants or lottery funding. The policy in relation to the development of these services is to ensure, where possible, that the services are community based so as to minimise the time spent in travelling to and from centres.

The report of the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities was published on 18 November. The commission's report recommends the development of a wide range of economic and social services for people with disabilities, including the transport needs of people with disabilities, both public transport and transport to health services.

The Government decided, on publication of the report, to establish a monitoring committee comprising representatives of Departments, the social partners, organisations representing people with disabilities, their families, carers and service providers to monitor the implementation of the commission's recommendations. This is subject to the submission to Government, in the first instance, of a programme of measures to be implemented, which will be drawn up by an interdepartmental task force on which my Department and the Department of Transport, Energy and [1462] Communications are represented. This task force is due to submit its detailed action plan by 30 June 1997.

Funding will continue to be made available to develop the transport services for people with disabilities availing of the health services, as appropriate, in line with the recommendations of the commission.