Statement by Minister Finian McGrath TD
I read the reports published by HIQA today with great concern. I have long voiced my worries about the conditions faced by people with disabilities in some residential centres throughout the country and it is clear that huge improvements are still needed in many places. The reports of HIQA inspection visits can often make for distressing reading and my first thoughts are always for the residents and their families. It’s vitally important that these unacceptable practices are being brought into the light and residential centres are being compelled to improve their standards or face losing their registration. While there is much to be done, these reports are a sign that the system of regulation is working.
As part of the HIQA inspection process, centres are obliged to put in place action plans to correct any failures identified in the reports. These have strict timelines for implementation and are assessed thoroughly in follow-up HIQA reports. Action plans have been put in place for all of the issues identified in today’s reports and the majority of these are set for completion by the end of the summer.
The process of regulation is not completed overnight but again I commend the work of HIQA in highlighting inadequacies wherever they find them. It is also worth noting that HIQA finds many examples of excellent practice in the centres for people with disabilities that it inspects – five of the reports published today found centres with a high level of compliance with the regulatory requirements, providing a good standard of support and care to residents.
The majority of the issues identified in today’s reports took place in large congregated settings. I completely agree that smaller, community based centres are a better option for people with disabilities. The Programme for Government contains a commitment to continue to move people with disabilities out of congregated settings, to enable them to live independently and to be included in the community. Currently, around 2725 people live in congregated settings and our objective is to reduce this figure by one-third by 2021 and ultimately, to eliminate all congregated settings. Capital funding of €20 million from the Department of Health is being made available to the HSE in 2016 to move people out of congregated settings. Total funding of €100 million is being made available for decongregation in the five year period to 2021.