Wednesday 16 October 2019

Uneven funding by HSE 'needs addressing'

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

HSE funding for voluntary organisations providing support to people with some illnesses is lower in the west of Ireland compared to other regions, the Oireachtas Health Committee was told yesterday.

Epilepsy Ireland said that in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon the cost of providing its service to people with the condition is around €50,000 per annum but HSE funding is just €3,800.

In 2018, the total national cost of providing HSE-funded services was €926,000 but income to the organisation from the HSE was €784,000.

Peter Murphy and Niamh Jones of Epilepsy Ireland said a series of annual cuts was implemented a decade ago and this was followed by a long period of static funding, adding: "Today, it is 12pc lower than it was in 2010. This has been compounded by growing pressures in terms of costs."

Ivan Cooper, director of public policy at The Wheel, called for action on the report of the Independent Review Group which was established to examine the role of voluntary organisations in health and personal social services.

He said the report "recommends a new forum for meaningful dialogue and collaborative partnership, a charter for a new relationship and multi-annual budgeting".

"These extremely positive recommendations would empower the State and the sector to build a world-class health and social care service which is responsive, innovative and person-centred," he added.

The Disability Federation of Ireland said that voluntary organisations were businesses and they were still facing the consequences of crisis years.

There is a growing level of unmet need that must be addressed, it said.

Irish Independent

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