Press Release

Tanaiste welcomes Health Sectoral Plan

The Tanaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, T.D. today (Friday) welcomed the launch of the Health Sectoral Plan on Disability which was published today along with the plans of five other Departments.

The Sectoral Plan clearly sets out the actions which the Department of Health and Children, the HSE and 27 statutory bodies will take to meet their obligations under the Disability Act 2005.

The Tanaiste said: “The Sectoral Plan represents a commitment at all levels of the health service to access and equity of service for people with disabilities. It is an important opportunity to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are considered in all health policy and service planning ”.

The main elements of the Sectoral Plan set out in detail the arrangements proposed for implementing Part 2 of the Disability Act, 2005.

Under the Act, persons with a disability will be entitled to an assessment of needs and a formal statement of services which are to be provided. There is also an independent appeals system.

Part 2 of the Disability Act will commence for children with a disability aged under 5 years with effect from 1st June 2007. In simple terms , parents of these children will now have the right to get , not only an assessment of the child’s needs , but also a clearly worked out plan from the Health Service Executive for the provision of services. And if the plan is in any way deficient the parents have a right to appeal.

Part 2 will be commenced in respect of children aged 5-18 in tandem with the implementation of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004.

The Act will be extended to adults as soon as possible but no later than the end of 2011. Services for adults and children will continue to be enhanced progressively over the next number of years. The HSE will promote the practice of assessment of individual needs and the provision of service statements for all service users, as capacity permits.

The Tanaiste said : “Plans without resources are of questionable value but the commitment of the government in this area is clear. Across government we are spending €3.3 billion this year alone on services for persons with disabilities. In the Department of Health alone we have already spent €285 million since publication of the National Disability Strategy and we will be spending an additional €720 million between 2006 and 2009.”