Speaking Notes for Minister Kathleen Lynch
May 7 2013
Launch of Introductory Research Report undertaken by the Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) In association with the Not for Profit Business Association (NFPBA) “Living in the Community: Services and Supports for People with Disabilities.”
17th April 2013
I am delighted to be here today at the launch of the introductory report on “Living in the Community: Services and Supports for People with Disabilities”. I would like to thank the DFI for their work in conjunction with the Not for Profit Business Association on this research project.
I will read this report with great interest and will refer it to the Department of Health to review in the context of the model of personal supports recommended in the Value for Money (VFM) and Policy Review of Disability Services in Ireland.
Current position on the VFM Implementation Framework
I am sure that many of you are aware of the VFM Review which I published last year and more recently the VFM Implementation Framework published at the end of February of this year which determines how the recommendations from the Review are translated into concrete actions.
The vision of the Disability Services Programme as set out in the VFM Review is "to contribute to the realisation of a society where people with disabilities are supported, as far as possible, to participate to their full potential in economic and social life, and have access to a range of quality personal social supports and services to enhance their quality of life and well-being".
Equality is not about being the same but having the right to the same aspirations. Each and every one of us has a right to a life worth living.
Living in the Community:
The findings from the public consultation conducted as part of the VFM Review clearly show that people are now looking for more choice in disability services and control over how they access them.
They are looking for flexible services that meet their individual needs and systems that vest more control with the service user and, where appropriate, their families.
These features are not generally available in the existing system, particularly to people with intellectual disabilities.
I acknowledge that some agencies, in particular those serving people with physical disabilities have developed from a community base, with the aim of promoting and protecting client choice, control and independence and were already providing extremely valuable services long before the Review was published.
These agencies already operate a client-focused model of service and provide examples of good practice, which can be used to inform decision-making in the wider disability sector.
I recognise that some very important points have been made in the DFI / NFPBA research report regarding the importance of person centred planning and services.
Much good work is already underway around the country at finding innovative ways to support people with disabilities to live more socially inclusive lives.
It is important that we all continue to set our sights high and keep our expectations raised of what people with disabilities have a right to expect of disability services and of society in general.
I have been hugely impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment shown by the many service users and their families I have met in recent months, together with the staff members in statutory and non-statutory agencies who are working collaboratively to support them.
By working in partnership we will achieve maximum independence, choice and inclusion for people with disabilities who wish to live in the community.
I am confident that by working together we will realise the vision of a more equitable and responsive health service for all citizens, where services and supports will be tailored to meet the needs of the individual, while at the same time being provided in an accountable and cost effective manner.
We need to think outside the box, think differently and be courageous.
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