The HSE has confirmed to Deputy Gabrielle McFadden that the review of St Hilda’s Services in Athlone, which has been hit by a funding crisis, is to be completed by mid-March.
The HSE announced in November that it was to undertake a review to address the challenges facing the intellectual disability service provider, following an announcement that there were plans to cut funding to the services in 2015.
“Responding to funding issues experienced last year at both St Hilda’s and St Christopher’s Services in Longford, the HSE announced a review of current intellectual disability services in both counties.
“The review, which will involve the preparation of a full report, will look at ways to develop sustainable services while also considering the current availability of resources.
“In response to recent queries I put to the HSE, [they] confirmed to me that the review of services commenced in late December 2014 is due for completion in mid-March,” said Deputy McFadden.
CEO of St Hilda’s Services Sheila Buckley Byrne says that staff have been engaging with the HSE review team, and she is hopeful that the outcome will reflect the high level of care they provide to their service users.
“We are happy to be engaging with the service improvement review team, and are confident that the funding they recommend will meet our needs.
“When the review team look at how we are using our money, we are confident we will be seen as offering good value. They will see we are complying with the national Value for Money Review 2012. We see it as an opportunity for them to see how we are spending money, and to affirm our efficiencies, and we are happy to look at any recommendations they make,” she said.
Deputy McFadden says the current HSE review of intellectual disability services must guarantee protection against further cuts.
“I am pleased that the HSE committed to stabilising the current financial position at St Hilda’s during the review period in order to protect current levels of service provision. However, guarantees must be put in place to ensure vital intellectual disability services are protected against any future cuts.”
In November, there was public outcry after St Hilda’s Services got word that their funding was to be cut by €75,000, of which €25,000 was to be applied in November, and a further €50,000 reduction in funding in 2015.
St Christopher’s Services in Longford is also under threat due to funding cuts, and the forthcoming HSE review will cover both services.