Tuesday, 15 October 2002
Dáil Eireann Debate
92. Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children if, further to Parliamentary Question No. 153 of 6 February 2002 and Parliamentary Question No. 227 of 27 June 2002, he has ascertained the number of young chronic sick persons awaiting beds in each health board area; the number of beds available in each health board area at present to cater for chronically young sick persons; his plans in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18080/02]
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): My Department is still awaiting the detailed information sought by the Deputy and I will convey it under separate cover to the Deputy as soon as it is available. My Department is acutely aware that there are serious shortcomings in the present range of services available for this care group in a number of health board areas.
In accordance with the action plan set out in the health strategy, Quality and Fairness – A Health System For You, this is one of the issues to be pursued in the planning of infrastructure development in the health system. My Department is aware that the preliminary findings of a study in the Eastern Regional Health Authority indicate that there are substantial numbers of individuals with significant disabilities in the region who may not be receiving services in the most appropriate setting.
The Eastern Regional Health Authority has dedicated units for the treatment of young chronic sick, YCS, clients in the Royal Hospital Donnybrook and Peamount Hospital. Most health boards do not, however, have dedicated units for YCS and YCS are accommodated in acute hospitals, district hospitals, nursing homes for the elderly and their own homes. Placements in acute hospitals are inappropriate as they block beds needed for the waiting list initiative and nursing homes for the elderly are inappropriate for younger YCS clients.
A number of health boards are examining the possibility of developing residential units for YCS, either by the health board itself or in partnership with voluntary agencies such as the Cheshire Foundation of Ireland. The Eastern Regional Health Authority study also contains findings concerning needs in the region for the young chronic sick and makes recommendations on developing, enhancing and augmenting services for young chronic disabled people, including proposals for the development of a range of appropriate accommodation options and associated care and support, tailored to meet their needs. I will forward to the Deputy a copy of the Eastern Regional Health Authority study as soon as it is published.
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