Dáil Éireann - Volume 520 - 30 May, 2000

Written Answers. - Disability Statistics.

180. Ms O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children his views on whether a national assessment needs to be conducted to gauge the number of people with disabilities, the level of disability and their needs, in order to cater for the current and future needs of people with disabilities; if such an assessment could take place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14918/00]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): The national intellectual disability database was established in 1995 to ensure that information is available to enable the Department, the health boards and the voluntary agencies for those with an intellectual disability to provide appropriate services to meet the changing needs of the population of people with an intellectual disability and their families. The database is providing a comprehensive and accurate information base for decision making in relation to the planning, funding and management of services for people with an intellectual disability.

The establishment of a database of the current and future service needs of people with physical and sensory disabilities is a priority for my Department. A database development committee was established in December, 1998 to prepare detailed proposals for the development of the national database and recommendations for the content of the regional datasets on the specialised health and personal social service needs of persons with physical and sensory disabilities. To date, the committee has developed the dataset for both the regional and national databases and pilot sites are being set up in four health board areas to test the dataset and the procedures for collecting the data.