Dáil Éireann - Volume 560 - 30 January, 2003
Written Answers. - Services for People with Disabilities.
Mr. McCormack Mr. McCormack
68. Mr. McCormack asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the provisions of the 2003 budget will see the ending of the three year programme for the development of new services for people with intellectual disabilities; if his attention has further been drawn to the effect this will have on a number of people with intellectual disabilities who will have no services when they reach 18 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2211/03]
Mr. McHugh Mr. McHugh
70. Mr. McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there are 1,711 individuals with an intellectual disability living at home who require a full-time residential service, 861 who require a day service and 1,014 who require a respite service; if his attention has further been drawn to the fact that in the budget 2003 no funding was allocated for any new service developments for people with intellectual disability; if his attention has further been drawn to the fact due to the restrictions on funding imposed in the budget there is no funding available to cater for emergencies arising in relation to the care of people with intellectual disability; the action he plans to take to ensure that increased funding is made available in 2003 to cater for the needs of people with intellectual disability; his plans to bring the matter to Cabinet to ensure additional funding is allocated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2222/03]
Mr. T. O'Malley Mr. T. O'Malley
 Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. T. O'Malley): I propose to take Questions Nos. 68 and 70 together.
I am aware of the concerns regarding the provision of services to persons with an intellectual disability and those with autism. Additional funding of €13.3 million has been allocated to services for persons with an intellectual disability or autism in 2003 to meet the full year cost of the 2002 developments and to further enhance the health related support services to children with an intellectual disability or autism.
This funding is in addition to the very significant revenue investment, amounting to €188 million, which has been made in these services since 1997 and which is built into the ongoing budget base. The additional funding provided by this and the previous Government between 2000 and 2002 was used to put in place, in addition to a range of other services, over 900 new residential, 380 new respite and around 2,000 new day places for people with an intellectual disability and those with autism.
Despite this very significant investment, demographic factors are contributing to growing waiting lists for residential services in particular, even though the numbers of people in receipt of services, including full-time residential services, continues to increase. The increased birth rate in the 1960s and 1970s has resulted in large numbers of adults in their late 20s and early 30s requiring full-time residential services. In addition people with an intellectual disability are living longer than previously adding to the need for services compared to previous generations. This has also been the international experience in service provision to this population.
The overall economic position in 2003 has had implications for all aspects of public investment, and this is reflected in the Estimates and budget adopted by the Government for 2003. Within this overall framework, however, some two-thirds of the additional funding available for non-capital investment in services has been allocated to the health services. This funding is being applied largely to maintaining existing levels of service across all service programmes including services for people with an intellectual disability. While it is regrettable that the level of investment in these services achieved in recent years could not be maintained in 2003, my Department will work closely with the health boards and other service providers in relation to service provision this year.
Mr. Kenny Mr. Kenny
69. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Health and Children if money will be made available in respect of the provision of a personal assistant for a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2212/03]
Mr. T. O'Malley Mr. T. O'Malley
Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. T. O'Malley): The provision of health related support services, including personal assistance services, to people with physical and sensory disabilities, is a matter for the Eastern Regional Health Authority and the health boards in the first instance. Accordingly, the Deputy's question has been referred to the chief executive officer of the Western Health Board, with a request that she examine the matter and reply directly to the Deputy as a matter of urgency.
Question No. 70 answered with Question No. 68.
Mr. McHugh Mr. McHugh
71. Mr. McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children when the annual intellectual disability database report for 2000, 2001 and 2002 will be published; the reason for the delay in publishing the 2000 and 2001 reports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2223/03]
Mr. T. O'Malley Mr. T. O'Malley
Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. T. O'Malley): The 2000 report from the national intellectual disability database was published in August 2001. The 2001 report will be published before the end of March and the 2002 report will be available by early summer. The annual report is compiled from the regional datasets provided by the Eastern Regional Health Authority and the health boards. Due to a delay in the submission of one regional dataset, it was not possible to compile the information which forms the basis for the annual report. This was the case in relation to both 2001 and 2002. As already stated above, the 2001 report is currently being finalised and will be published before the end of March.
In April 2000, information from the national intellectual disability database indicated that in the period 2000 to 2004, 1,711 new residential and 912 new day places were required to meet the identified needs for these services. It should be noted that in addition to the day places required to meet the needs of those awaiting placement in the services as mentioned above, the additional funding also provided for those requiring a change in day services. These include young people leaving school and requiring rehabilitative training places or those moving from rehabilitative training to other areas of the services such as sheltered work, activation or services for older people.
The initial indications from the 2001 data are that while the impact of the 2000 development programme is reflected in the data, there are still a significant number of persons seeking residential services in particular. Demographic factors are contributing to growing waiting lists for residential services even though the numbers of people receiving full-time residential services continue to increase. The increased birth rate in the 1960s and 1970s has resulted in large numbers of adults in their late 20s and early 30s requiring full-time residential services. In addition people with an intellectual disability are living longer than previously adding to the need for services compared to previous generations. This has also been the international experience in service provision to this population.
A review of the waiting lists between 1997 and 1999, conducted by the Health Research Board and published in the 1999 annual report from the national intellectual disability database, showed that while 269 people from the original waiting list of 1,439 received full time residential services in the period, the waiting list had grown by an additional 238 places, i.e. 507 had joined the waiting list in the period.
The health boards have been informed in their 2003 letters of determination that, given the key role which the national intellectual disability database has in the planning and monitoring of service provision, it is vital that the timetable for the compilation and submission of data in respect of 2003 is complied with. They have also been informed that there will be no extension of this timeframe in relation to the export of data to the Department and that they should take whatever measures are required to ensure that this deadline is met.
Dáil Éireann 560 Written Answers. Services for People with Disabilities.