Written answers

Thursday, 29 February 2024

Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Community Welfare Services

Photo of Ruairi Ó MurchúRuairi Ó Murchú (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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145. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to provide an update on the ongoing situation with an organisation (details supplied) that has stated that it will transfer care services to the HSE by August 2024; the interactions that have happened between his Department and other Government Departments about the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9352/24]

Photo of Roderic O'GormanRoderic O'Gorman (Dublin West, Green Party)
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St John of God Community Services provide essential disability and mental health community supports to 8,000 people across the country. The Government recognises that they are a valued long-term partner in delivering publicly funded services.

Following agreement with the HSE, St John of God Community Services has withdrawn notice of transfer and confirmed it will continue to deliver services on behalf of the State. Most importantly, the organisation has informed those in receipt of services, their families and staff, that the organisation will continue to deliver its full range of services at all existing locations.

The HSE has worked intensively with St John of God Community Services over several years to address operational challenges. Significant work on a Sustainability Impact Assessment process has provided a pathway to sustainable high quality and person-centred services. The HSE, backed by relevant Departments, remains committed to following through on the outcome of this process.

The agreement puts in place a timeframe to arrive at a time-bound implementation plan for the outcomes of the Sustainability Impact Assessment Report. There is a commitment to the in-year funding for 2024, and there is a guaranteed timeframe within which final decisions will be made about the issues arising from the historical deficit of the organisation.

It is recognised that the financial challenges facing the voluntary sector are highly complex, arising from both historical issues around funding arrangements as well as emerging service challenges due to changing profile of user need, higher safety and quality standards, and general demographic pressures.

The Government is working to progressively address these challenges. The Disability Capacity review in 2021 was an important step in mapping out and acknowledging the levels of unmet need in the sector. The recently published Disability Action Plan sets out our ambition for reform and expansion of disability services over the next three years.


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