Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Public Accounts Committee

Financial Statement 2020 and Related Matters: HSE (Resumed)

9:50 am

Photo of Alan DillonAlan Dillon (Mayo, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I hear what Ms O'Connor is saying but the reality on the ground is that the HSE managers have very limited access to funds to support the business cases. Western Care was informed by the HSE that funding would be only allocated for 44 emergency places for the whole country in 2021. If that is the case, the business cases that Western Care is submitting are falling on deaf ears. That does not reflect what people in the west - in counties Mayo, Galway and Roscommon - need. Covid has shone a spotlight on this.

There is pent-up demand and the lack of adequate funding to support families in the short, medium and long term is causing real suffering. That must be addressed. What I hear today does not give me or the people I represent confidence. There is a huge issue around section 39 organisations. There is no capital funding available for Western Care to properly renovate its existing stock. There is no plan to support the development of new facilities for both day and residential services, apart from what was available under the Covid-related minor works scheme. Significant issues arise, even in rural constituencies. There is no funding for transport provision, which is fundamentally important for both day and residential services, especially given the geographical spread in Mayo. These are the issues that are coming up day in, day out from this type of provider and we must address them.

Regarding the increased number of referrals of children for autism supports, Western Care has had no increase in funding for autism support workers in recent years and that must also be addressed. We are spending large amounts of money. Western Care has more than 940 staff supporting a massive county like Mayo.


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