Tuesday, 2 February 2016
Disability Services Funding
Like everybody else, I would welcome the increase in funding the Minister of State has mentioned.
That is all very well on paper but, in the same way we are told about all this extra funding for housing, we are not seeing it in reality. The reality for people with an intellectual disability is that there are problems with their respite grants, along with a lack of respite places. Since 2008, before this Government entered office, the budget for this area has decreased by almost €160 million but demands are increasing while staff numbers have fallen by 15%. There is an issue in the context of having enough intellectual disability nurses because it is a specialised area. However, what has been happening is that agency staff are who do not have extra training in dealing with people with intellectual disabilities are being employed.
Another issue I have raised here before concerns our accident and emergency departments and how we need to look at them in a different way. It cannot be the free-for-all whereby everybody presents at these facilities. Those with addiction issues who present at accident and emergency need access to specialised services, while those with intellectual disabilities who present need to be treated in special areas. We need nurses who are trained to deal with people with intellectual disabilities to work in accident and emergency departments.
I hope the funding to which the Minister of State referred , particularly that relating to respite services and places for aging parents, will become a reality.