'Failure' of disability services criticised
THE failure to inspect services caring for people with a disability has left them at risk of abuse and neglect, according to a new report published today.
Delays and lack of oversight have also allowed poor quality to develop, warns the report by the National Economic and Social Council.
The report comes amid promises that inspections of disability services as part of new rules will eventually begin in 2013.
So far, the search for quality in these services "has not been driven by the State, but primarily by individual service providers seeking to deliver a better service, with international benchmarks as their guide".
The report's author, Dr Jeanne Moore, says registration, regulation and inspection will reveal weak service areas.
The knock-on effect will be similar to what happened under new rules on nursing homes and will "lead to the closure of some services with the need to find alternative services".
The report adds: "There are difficult decisions surrounding potential closure of services or reduced funding to local providers, charities and religious organisations."
It says that while most people with disabilities access general health and social care, specialist services are delivered to only a small number.
About 6pc -- or 50,000 people with physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities -- use a variety of these services, which costs the State €1.2bn a year.
"Although funded by the State, most are run by voluntary providers and community organisations," the report says.
There has been no state regulation of the disability sector.
The slow progress in the formal regulation of the disability sector may be both due to financial and political reasons.