Dáil Éireann - Volume 611 - 07 December, 2005
Written Answers. - Health Services.
Ms C. Murphy Ms C. Murphy
127. Ms C. Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the person who has the legal responsibility to ensure that speech therapy, language therapy, occupational therapy and psychological services are provided to children who have been diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders and are in primary or secondary education; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38342/05]
Ms C. Murphy Ms C. Murphy
128. Ms C. Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if the necessary budgetary allocations have been made by her Department or the Health Service Executive with regard to financing the provision of speech therapy, language therapy, occupational therapy and psychological services for all children in need of these services; if her Department or the Health Service Executive has calculated future levels of need in these areas; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38347/05]
Ms C. Murphy Ms C. Murphy
131. Ms C. Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if, in view of her Department’s stance that thousands of persons here fail to access education, social, economic and career opportunities due to communication difficulties of one kind or another and that therapy services help persons to maximise their communication potential and offer assistance with daily living, she is satisfied that the Health Service Executive is delivering adequately speech and language therapy services to children who have been diagnosed with such needs; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a person  (details supplied) is no longer being provided these services by their Health Service Executive provider as they have attempted to transition from primary to secondary school; if, in view of same, this person’s future economic and career opportunities will be severely restricted if the situation is not resolved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38359/05]
Mr. T. O’Malley Mr. T. O’Malley
Mr. T. O’Malley: I propose to take Questions Nos. 127, 128 and 131 together.
The issues raised by the Deputy are dealt with under sections 31 to 33 of the Health Act 2004. These sections provide for the preparation, submission, approval and implementation of the Health Service Executive’s service plan.
The plan should set out the type of health and personal social services to be provided by the executive during the period to which the plan relates. In developing the service plan, the executive must have regard to section 31(12) of the Act which requires that the estimate of income and expenditure relating to the plan must be consistent with the Vote for the executive as published by the Government in the Estimates for supply services.
As I have informed the Deputy previously, the Government has taken a planned approach to building up capacity in the area of multidisciplinary support services for both adults and children with disabilities. This includes, in addition to the provision of additional financial resources, various initiatives related to the training, recruitment and retention of key allied health professionals as follows: the expansion of the number of training places available for speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists, nursing and other key professionals; and national and overseas recruitment initiatives and enhancement of career opportunities.
The level of support available from these health-related support services to children with  physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities and autism has been incrementally increasing annually in recent years as a result of the additional funding which has been made available by this Government. As part of the national disability strategy, further additional funding amounting to €11.5 million in 2006 is being made available to the Health Service Executive in respect of the provision of health-related support services for adults and children with physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities and autism, with a priority in 2006 on enhancing assessment and support services for children with disabilities. Additional funding amounting to €17.5 million is also being provided in 2006 to enhance the level and range of multidisciplinary support services available to adults and children with mental illness. This ongoing investment in multidisciplinary support services for persons with disabilities, including those with mental illness, together with specific initiatives to be taken in the area of recruitment, will assist the process of building capacity within these services in a very significant manner. The Deputy is incorrect to state that it is due to my Department’s stance that thousands of persons here fail to access education, social, economic and career opportunities due to communication difficulties of one kind of another.
The remainder of the Deputy’s question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.
Mr. Fleming Mr. Fleming
129. Mr. Fleming asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the funding which will be provided for cystic fibrosis services here in 2006; the amount of money to be paid to the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland; the way in which these funds will be allocated in terms of medical, nursing and allied health facilities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38357/05]
Ms Harney Ms Harney
Ms Harney: As part of the overall funding for health services in 2006, additional funding of €4.78 million is being allocated specifically for the development of cystic fibrosis services.
I wish to see significant improvement next year in the level of services available to persons with cystic fibrosis. The current service deficits in this area are widely acknowledged and have been identified most notably in the Pollock report, and by the Health Service Executive working group which is looking at this issue. My Department is advised that the working group, which is due to report shortly, will be making specific recom mendations in relation to a range of service improvements required for persons with cystic fibrosis, in particular the need to increase the level of clinical, nursing and allied health professional staffing in cystic fibrosis units around the country. As part of the implementation process I would like to see a particular focus on addressing the identified deficits at the national adult referral centre at St. Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin.
Dáil Éireann 611 Written Answers. Health Services.