Dáil Éireann - Volume 561 - 11 February, 2003
Written Answers. - Services for People with Disabilities.
Mr. Ring Mr. Ring
106. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will seek Department of Finance sanction for the release of the €20 million required to provide the minimum emergency residential services for the intellectually disabled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3320/03]
Mr. T. O'Malley Mr. T. O'Malley
Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. T. O'Malley): 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.
Between 1997 and 2002, an extra €188 million revenue and €139 million capital funding was provided, making a total additional investment of €327 million for the maintenance and development of services to persons with an intellectual disability and those with autism. In the current year, further additional funding of €13.3 million has been allocated to services for persons with an intellectual disability or autism 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 brings the total extra investment in these services to €340 million over seven years. Of this total amount, more than €200 million has been built into the ongoing budget base. This funding has brought about very significant and unprecedented developments in the services.
Between 1997 and 2002, approximately 1,700 extra residential places were provided, with most of these based in the community. This figure includes new residential respite places, which were developed in 1997 and 1998. Between 1999 and 2002, approximately 465 dedicated respite places were also provided. In addition, the period, 1997-2002, saw the provision of approximately 2,950 new day places.
Despite this significant investment, demographic factors are contributing to growing waiting lists for residential services in particular, even though the number of people in receipt of ser vices, 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. 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.
Dáil Éireann 561 Written Answers. Services for People with Disabilities.