Services for People with Disabilities Cut Jumps from 2% to 4.7%
December 7 2011
Press Release from DFI 7th December 2011
John Dolan, CEO, Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) says “this morning the HSE has, in some regions, begun to contact organisations providing services to people with disabilities to inform them that they will be receiving a cut to the funding of their services to the sum of 4.7%”.
In her press release, Kathleen Lynch TD., Minister of State with responsibility for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People, stated “An efficiency saving of 2% is being applied to the budget for disability services in 2012 but services will also have to make provision for savings in employment and procurement costs which are required of the health services as a whole next year”. She further went on to state that “the precise levels of savings required will vary depending on the profile of individual service providers and will be determined within the context of the HSE’s service planning process. Services will also have to meet anticipated extra demand from within their budgets in 2012.”
John Dolan said he “was shocked at the jump from 2% to 4.7%”. He stressed the need “to stop the erosion of funding for much needed disability services that has occurred since 2008. Over the period of five Budgets the Government and the HSE have cut or redirected funding from services to people with disabilities by almost 15%. It is apparent over the years that some of these cuts have been as a result of overspends on other parts of the HSE. We are also greatly concerned about the reduction in HSE staff numbers in services to people with disabilities in 2011 and the expected continued reduction in 2012 and the implication of these reductions on services to people with disabilities”.
He went on to say, “If this Government is truly committed to the achievement of social solidarity as stated in the Programme for Government and reiterated by Minister Howlin in the Oireachtas Chambers on Monday, Government Departments and Agencies should not be allowed to make unilateral decisions that further target vulnerable groups”.
He stated, “We are urgently seeking clarification from the Department of Health and the HSE on this matter.”
Mr Dolan welcomed the Taoiseachs decision today to pause the decision to cut the disability allowance for young people until a review by the chairperson of the Commission on Social Welfare and Taxation takes place. He stressed that “Although this move is greatly welcome what people with disabilities really need is greater equality of outcome. For example young disabled people on disability allowance are excluded from all the activation programmes announced to-date from the Department of Social Protection. This is despite the fact that a recent survey published by the ESRI and Office for Social Inclusion found that two thirds of this group were willing to work with the correct supports”.
John Dolan concluded stating that “people with disabilities have been living with consistent reductions in services; this along with the assault on income supports in last years and this year’s Budget has greatly angered people”.
John Dolan, Chief Executive, DFI 086-8370072
Allen Dunne, SEO Operational / Deputy Chief Executive, DFI 086-8502112