Press Release

Minister Martin launches the National Physical and Sensory Disability Database

Mr Micheál Martin TD Minister for Health and Children, today (Tuesday 5 March) launched the National Physical and Sensory Disability Database. The overall objective of this database is to provide a picture of the specialised health and personal social service needs of people with a physical or sensory disability. The database will monitor current service provision and future service requirements over a five-year period. It will be used for planning service developments, prioritising service needs and assisting in resource allocation decisions at national, regional and local level.

Launching the database, Minister Martin said “the efficient planning and provision of services can be considerably improved with the availability of reliable information on the service needs of people with physical or sensory disabilities. The database is being developed primarily for this purpose but it will also be the definitive data tool that will support me in obtaining funding for services to people with physical or sensory disabilities”.

The Minister encouraged everyone who is eligible for inclusion on the database to participate in its development and paid tribute to the statutory and voluntary sector for their commitment to the project. He stated that the success of the National Physical and Sensory Disability Database is dependent on the ongoing and continued support of all interested parties.

The introduction of the database will meet one of the key recommendations of the Report of the Review Group on Health and Personal Social Services for People with a Physical or Sensory Disability Towards an Independent Future. It also follows on the success of the National Intellectual Disability Database, which has triggered a significant increase in Government funding for intellectual disability services. The Disability Databases Division of the Health Research Board manages both databases on behalf of the Department of Health and Children. Welcoming the establishment of the database, Dr. Ruth Barrington, CEO of the Health Research Board said “the HRB is delighted that the databases are building the evidence for effective health care and helping to achieve the goals of the Government´s health strategy Quality and Fairness – A Health System for You”.

The Final Report of the National Physical and Sensory Disability Database Development Committee written by Dr. Pamela Gallagher, Health Research Board (HRB) documents the detailed proposals and recommendations for the implementation of this national service-planning database that have evolved through a detailed, evaluative, and collaborative process with the health boards, voluntary agencies, Health Research Board and the Department of Health and Children. The database will be compiled within each health board before relevant statistical information is sent to the Department of Health and Children on an annual basis.

Speaking at the launch Minister Martin said “Since coming into office, the Government has allocated significant additional funding for specialised health and personal social services to people with physical and sensory disabilities. Just over €179 million has been provided by this Government for the maintenance and development of these services, including residential, respite, day, home support and personal assistance services and therapy services. This level of funding emphasises the Government’s commitment to the continued development of services to people with physical and sensory disabilities.”

The availability of accurate information on the specialised health and personal social services being provided and on the need for additional services is crucial and such information will add a new dimension to the planning and development of these services. For the Department of Health and Children it will be the definitive database for providing the information necessary for appropriate planning. For the statutory and voluntary agencies, it will be an essential planning tool. For people with a physical or sensory disability, it will represent recognition of their needs. Overall, the anticipated general outcome is the provision of more appropriate care through improved service planning.