Dáil Éireann - Volume 653 - 29 April, 2008

Written Answers. - Health Services.

Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will act to prevent the closure of the 12 bed respite care unit at St. Oliver Plunkett’s Hospital, Dundalk; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16241/08]

[349]   Deputy Máire Hoctor: The development of Services for Older People is a priority for the Government. This is reflected in the funding committed to services for older people in Budgets 2006, 2007 and 2008. In 2006, the Government funded a significant expansion of services for older people with a full year cost of €150m. In 2007 a full year package of €255m was allocated for services for older people. Budget 2008 provided an additional €135m bringing the total spend over the last three years to €540m.

In this context, over €16m has been provided in the last three years for new Day/Respite Care services. The recent Budget will allow an additional 1,245 clients nationally to avail of new Respite places and brings the total projected Day Care provision by the Health Service Executive to around 21,300 places by the end of this year.

The HSE have committed through its National Service Plan 2008 to deliver services within its Vote provided by the Oireachtas. It will manage the provision of respite care beds within this context and also recognising the priority the Government and the Executive have given to services for older people.

There is no doubt that demand can at times exceed service resources and that this problem can manifest itself in particular at local level. I understand that there are particular pressures being experienced at St. Oliver Plunkett’s, and that these are kept under constant review by the HSE.

It is a matter for the Executive to manage service delivery, both nationally and locally, within its budget and in line with overall health policy priorities. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular issue raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the HSE to arrange to have the matter investigated in detail and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.