Written answers

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Department of Health

Disability Services Data

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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1045. To ask the Minister for Health the mechanisms in place to collect and examine data regarding rates of access to healthcare services by persons with disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16962/21]

Photo of Anne RabbitteAnne Rabbitte (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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The 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. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

In relation to health needs, HSE Disability Services provide personal and social supports based on the needs of the individual, rather than the provision of services based on a specific diagnosis or condition.

The National Ability Supports System (NASS) captures information about the use and need for disability-funded services. NASS is managed by the National Health Information Systems Unit of the Health Research Board (HRB) on behalf of the Department of Health.

The purpose of NASS is to gather service user information to aid the planning, development and organisation of HSE-funded disability services.

All individuals who receive or require a disability-funded service due to an intellectual disability, or a persistent physical, sensory, neurological, learning, autism spectrum, and/or speech/language disability arising from disease, disorder or trauma, should be registered on NASS.

NASS captures data on service users who are in receipt of, or who require, services funded by the Health Service Executive (HSE) which are related to their disability. Certain services funded by Government departments such as Education and Social Protection may also be captured to forecast a future requirement for disability-funded services.

Information collected on NASS will be critical to the management of disability services nationally and in ensuring the HSE understand the quantum of existing service usage and future service demand in order to plan for the provision of services to meet future needs of people with intellectual and physical and sensory disability.

Further details about NASS can be found on the website of the Health Research Board;

The Department of Health has no direct function in relation to the provision of health and personal social services to individuals. The Department is responsible for the formulation and development of policy in respect of the provision of healthcare and support services; responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services rests with the Health Service Executive (HSE).

In this regard, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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1046. To ask the Minister for Health the number of persons with disabilities who were accommodated in congregated settings by gender in each HSE region in each of the years 2015 to 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16963/21]

Photo of Anne RabbitteAnne Rabbitte (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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Almost ten years ago, the Time to Move on fromCongregated Settings Report identified approximately 4,000 people with disabilities living in congregated type settings. The 2011 Report expected that decongregation could happen at a much faster pace than was actually possible.

Since 2014, the Transforming Lives Programme provides the framework for implementation and for putting policy into practice across key reports, including Time to Move on from Congregated Settingsin respect of residential centres,

Today less than 2,000 people live in congregated settings.

The Programme for Government – ‘Our Shared Future’ includes a commitment to continue with moving people out of old style congregated settings, into new homes within the community, with the necessary supports.

Today, people are being supported to live lives of their choice out in the community. Several congregated settings have closed fully and many more have closed specific units within the centres.

Thoughtful planning, capacity building work with stakeholders and sharing the learning across services is enabling meaningful person-centred planning and transitions that are sustainable.

While the pace of change has been slow in some services, there is momentum and progress is being made.

Budget 2021 provides for an unprecedented level of investment in disability services, with the investment of €100m for new initiatives in 2021. The increased level of funding in 2021 will enable us to build on initiatives currently underway, including the decongregation programme, with a renewed focus on assisting people to move out of congregated settings to homes in the community. The HSE has prioritised the transition of a further 144 people from congregated settings in 2021 under its Service Plan.

As the numbers in the large settings continues to fall, the people still remaining in these services have access to better living conditions and share with fewer people

As the specific question raised is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.


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