Newsletter January/February 2013
Issued on March 11 2013
The HSE's National Service Plan was published this month, where it was announced that the allocation for disability services is to be reduced by 1.2%.We will not know the true effect of these cuts until the implementation plans at regional level become available. At the last meeting of the National Consultative Forum (NCF), there was discussion on the need for fairness and consistency across the different regions.
Within the 1.2% cut (€19m) there is an assumption that €6million of this will be achieved through savings made from procurement. In this regard, DFI will attend a meeting with the HSE on the 6 th February to discuss procurement in the area of utility costs, transport costs etc.
At a recent seminar in DFI on Tendering (Disability), a representative from the HSE Disability Unit, informed the group that the HSE intends to consider a number of areas pertaining to social care services including PA services. Over a two month period the National Disability Unit (NDU) will be consulting with users, umbrellas like DFI and with agencies via focus groups as well as one-on-one sessions. It was suggested that many areas required clarification before “going to the marketplace”, i.e. types of PA service, quality criteria including minimum qualification for PAs such as FETAC level 5, and length of tenders. DFI have sent out a note on the procurement issues that were discussed at this seminar to all our member organisations.
These cuts and efficiency savings are happening at a time when the number of people availing of our services is increasing. At the NCF meeting of the 17 th January, DFI emphasised this point and the impact this has in every area of the disability sector. We called for multi- annual service planning in order to establish the true quantum of unmet needs that exists and will exist over the years ahead. The HSE confirmed that this is an area where they have engaged with the Department of Health and it was accepted that this would be a specific work area for the NCF.
Within the National Service Plan, the HSE has stated that it expects that the same level of service to be maintained as last year. DFI also raised the issue of inconsistencies in the data presented in the NSP, particularly in relation to Personal Assistance, and the need for validation of these statistics.
Finally, of note is the engagement by the HSE of Tom Beegan, who will be undertaking a project on Value for Money across the HSE and who will focus on disability at the outset of this work. The implementation plan arising from the Value for Money report is yet to be finalised within the Department of Health, and that will inform the HSE's implementation going into the future.
Chief Executive Officer