Written answers

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Department of Health

Rehabilitative Training Allowance Payments

Matt Carthy (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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797. To ask the Minister for Health if the cut to the rehabilitative training allowance will be reviewed for new entrants to courses from September 2019; the amount that has been saved by the cut from September 2019 to the end of January 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3547/20]

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin Bay North, Independent)
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This Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives.  The commitment is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. 

Under the New Directions day service policy, all HSE funded Day Services are expected to be provided on an equitable basis, while also ensuring that the use of finite resources is maximised. There is a strong overlap between the day supports now provided as part of the New Directions approach and the programmes being offered by Rehabilitative Training.

The clear policy rationale of not making the Rehabilitative Training bonus payment to new entrants is to ensure access to high quality services to those who need them, on an equitable basis.  Since September 2019, new entrants no longer receive the bonus payment, in line with those attending similar training programmes.

Individuals already in receipt of the bonus payment  will continue to receive it for the duration of their course. The savings made are ring fenced to facilitate  provision of additional full and part time day placements nationally, based on priority need.

The HSE has advised the Department that in the period from September to 31st December 2019, 22 additional full-time placements and 19 additional part time placements were funded by the redirected monies. Each of these places has enhanced the lives of people, and their families.  Enhanced service hours are enabling service users to be part of their local communities and enjoy greater choices about how they spend their time, while providing valuable social opportunities for families. In addition, adults who were heretofore not in receipt of any service are now engaging with their communities and experiencing new opportunities, having previously been socially isolated.

The cost of restoring the allowance would be c. €4m over 4 years, and in addition to this an alternative funding stream would be required for the day service placements already funded, and for those identified for a place in the coming months. 

I have asked the HSE to confirm the exact figure saved since September 2019, and to contact the Deputy directly in this regard.

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