DFI Seriously Concerned about Health Cuts
November 12 2013
As Announced on 30th August, 2012
The announcement today by the HSE of cuts in services is a matter of great concern for people with disabilities, their families and all those associated with the disability sector. All of us in this sector were led to believe that Government policy was very much about supporting people with disability to live in their own community: today's announcement regarding a range of cuts across the support area seems to be in direct conflict with stated policy.
John Dolan CEO of the Disability Federation of Ireland said,
“We are shocked by the decisions announced by the HSE today with regard to Personal Assistance (PA), Home Help and Home Care Packages. For many people these cuts will mean confinement within their own homes. These are dramatic cuts and come on top of cumulative cuts to disability services over the last 5 years, all of which the sector and the individuals affected have endeavored to cope with, despite the difficulties presented".
John Dolan went on to state that
“PA is a flagship programme that ensures that people can be active and autonomous participants in the community. It is truly ironic that such an announcement is made on the opening day for Ireland’s athletes in the Paralympics.”
John Dolan continued
“Disability services programme funding has significantly decreased in recent years, while the need for services has increased. These services have so far managed to remain within budget but service levels to individuals have dropped. People with disabilities also need access to a range of general health services which are also being curtailed at an increasing level. Further cutting of the health budget confirms that Government is continuing with an unbalanced recovery programme that will not achieve it’s own objectives. Cost based reductions should not reduce service capacity. This is extremely worrying as we head into the budget for next year".
The Programme for Government stated,
“By the end of our term in Government Ireland will be recognised as a modern, fair, socially inclusive and equal society supported by a productive and prosperous economy.” John Dolan stated“Government needs to urgently recalibrate it’s recovery programme to ensure that the social fabric, which sustains people with disabilities, their families and others is also protected. Peoples’ health and wellbeing needs to be protected now and into the years ahead and the services required to achieve that need to be in place.”
The need for social and health services increases in a recession. Just as over resourcing and spending in “good” times leads to ruin so does under resourcing in difficult times. Government needs to understand this dilemma as do those who are advising on expenditure reductions in these challenging times.
John Dolan concluded
“These cuts are destroying disability community services and come prior to further decision yet to be made through Budget 2013.”
30th August, 2012
John Dolan, CEO - 086 8370072
Allen Dunne, Deputy CEO - 086 8502112