HSE to review St Hilda’s following cuts announcement

The HSE is to undertake a three-month review of St Hilda’s services in Athlone, following last week’s news that funding to the service is to be cut by €75,000 in the coming year.

Deputy Gabrielle McFadden said she was informed this week by Health Minister Leo Varadkar that the HSE will carry out a fundamental review of St Hilda’s to address the challenges currently facing the intellectual disability service provider.

However, she says the outcome of the three-month review must guarantee the protection of services against any future cuts.

The announcement of the HSE review follows public outcry in the past week over news that funding to St Hilda’s Services is to be cut by €75,000 over the coming year and a half - a €25,000 cut is to be applied in November, and a further €50,000 reduction in 2015. St Hilda’s subsequently lodged an appeal with the HSE against the funding cuts.

Deputy McFadden says the review, described by the HSE as a ‘fundamental’ examination of services, will look at “ways to develop sustainable services while also considering the current availability of resources”.

A review will also be carried out on St Christopher’s Services in Longford, which is also under threat due to funding cuts.

“This is welcome news and is part of a simultaneous review being carried out at St Christopher’s Services in Longford. Whilst this review is progressing, the HSE will work with both organisations to address cash flow issues that they may encounter,” said Deputy McFadden.

“I am pleased that the HSE is committed to stabilising the current financial position of both service providers in order to protect the current level of service provision but we must remember that both reviews have come about because of the public outcry over the threat to vital intellectual disability services in Longford and Westmeath.

“Apart from significant fundraising initiatives supplementing existing budgets, St Hilda’s and St Christopher’s provide exceptional value for money but more importantly exceptional services under very difficult circumstances and in the face of growing demand.”

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