Wednesday 25 April 2018

'Money diverted from services for disabled to meet pay bill'

Pay rates can hugely affect budgets in a labour-intensive. sector. Maeve Sheehan hears a claim about one tough choice made

Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

LATER this week, a Government group charged with examining how the €1.5bn disability budget is spent will hold its last meeting to sign off on its final report. Its mission, as part of the Government's "value for money review", was to establish whether taxpayers' money was wisely spent.

The report, which will go to the Minister for Health James Reilly later this month, is understood to highlight a range of inefficiencies. It throws up such issues as the cost of transport, catering, and overlapping services. But according to reports last week, one of the main findings is that 85 per cent of the €1.5bn disability budget is spent on staff. That leaves €230m for everything else.

On the face of it, the figure seems huge. But as any parent of a severely disabled child will testify, their greatest need is human intervention in the form of therapeutic care, respite care and hands-on therapies.

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