The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’ Gorman, Minister of State for Disabilities Anne Rabbitte and HSE CEO Bernard Gloster announced the launch of a new HSE Roadmap to improve Children’s Disability Services 2023-2026.
The new Roadmap contains an important set of actions that, collectively, will enhance children’s disability services in Ireland. They include significant measures to integrate and improve access to services, expand the workforce and advance better communication and engagement with families. The Roadmap sets out a targeted plan to achieve the government’s commitment to improving the lives of people with disabilities, in alignment with the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
The Roadmap’s Key Priorities:
- Establishes a clear governance structure for service integration for the benefit of children and families.
- Sets out substantial measures to improve access to Children’s Disability Network Teams, including setting up 6 Assessment Hubs to streamline the Assessment of Need (AON) process and relieve pressure on service delivery.
- Presents significant staff development, retention and recruitment actions, including 20 new clinical psychology trainee places, over 400 additional Health and Social Care Professional posts by the end of 2024.
- Finalises the Family Forums and Family Representative Groups with 2 Representatives from each group on each Community Health Organisation Children’s Disability Network Teams Governance Group.
- Improves engagement with Department of Education, National Council for Special Education and National Education Psychology Service to optimise health and education integration.
During his speech, Minister O’ Gorman commented, “I strongly believe in the positive change this Roadmap can bring. In delivering this Roadmap, we will see a renewed focus on the provision of services necessary to relieve the pressures on frontline staff and families. This Government remains resolute in its commitments to supporting children with disabilities and their families by providing high quality, responsive and timely services to meet their needs.”
Minister Rabbitte said, “we must improve services further, increase capacity, and reduce waitlists. The scale of the challenge in this area is well understood by Government and by the HSE, and substantial efforts are being made to focus on finding concrete, workable solutions to improve services and supports for children with disabilities and their families. This Roadmap is key in mapping out how we reach the end goal. The successful implementation of this Roadmap will ensure that we will have not only a better resourced and more effective children’s disability service, but a service that we can all be proud of.”
For further information on the PDS programme and to download the Roadmap, please see here.