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• Increase in funding will see Disability services budget rise to €2.4 billion

Minister Anne Rabbitte has today announced that the overall Budget for disability services in 2023 will be €2.4 billion, including a significant level of funding for specialist disability services. Building on the previous year, this is an unprecedented level of funding for Disability services. 

Speaking of the increased Budget, Minister Rabbitte said:

“This increase follows substantial increases in the budget in 2021 and 2022; and reflects this Government’s commitment to strengthening the funding provided for the disability sector.”

€109 million is being provided to support Existing Levels of Service (ELS), funding for new developments will total €29.3 million while once-off funding is being provided for costs associated with activity during Covid-19 amounting to €39 million. Additional supports are also being made available to assist Section 39 organisations to assist in the context of the significant challenges which they are facing currently.

The Disability Services Budget in 2023 will provide: 

  • Funding to continue the core services including residential and emergency residential, Respite, PA services and facilitating the move of younger people away from nursing homes to more suitable residential locations.
  • Additional funding for specialist disability services for children or young people in, or transitioning out, of Túsla care services, and 
  • For school leavers, additional funding provided in 2023 will provide a placement in adult day services for circa 1,200 mostly young people leaving school, who require ongoing support at one of the most crucial transition points of their lives.
  • Funding to increase the Disability Awareness and Participation Fund and continue our work on Digital Assistive Technology, including work with the World Health Organisation.
  • Additional funding will be provided for the continued rollout of the Neuro Rehabilitation Strategy nationally.

The funding will give the HSE the opportunity to establish a further two multidisciplinary teams in two CHOs, expanding on the existing pilots in CHOs 6 and CHO 7. 

It will also provide for the addition of 23 Neurological Nurses to increase capacity at neurology clinics around the country supporting adult and Paediatric neurology. These nurses will be dedicated to patients with MS, Parkinson, Huntington’s Disease, Epilepsy or Neuromuscular Disease.

  • An additional once-off funding of €39 million is being provided to reduce the Assessment of Need waiting list and to fund placements in residential centres (costs associated with activity during Covid-19).  

Minister Rabbitte continued: “In the Programme for Government, we made commitments to improve the lives of people with disabilities and in doing so we have signalled to those with a disability that we are serious about making a difference.  This funding will give people with disabilities greater choice, independence and control to live their lives and participate in their local community.

“The increased level of funding in 2023 will enable us to continue to build on initiatives currently underway.”

Additional supports for Section 39 organisations:

  • Section 39 organisations in disability services as well as other residential services, hospices and other Section 39 organisations will be eligible to receive once off additional support from within the overall Health sector fund targeted at these providers of €100m which Minister McGrath announced yesterday in Budget 2023.  
  • Section 39 agencies are agencies under Section 39 of the Health Act 2004 where the HSE provides a grant to allow the agency to provide services similar or ancillary to the HSE.
  • This fund is being allocated this winter by Government to support these organisations who provide essential health services in the context of the significant challenges which they are facing currently. 

Minister Rabbitte added:

“Given the size of the disability budget, I would anticipate the Section 39 providers in the disability sector will get a very significant share of the overall €100m once off fund. I would also envisage that the support to individual organisations would broadly be determined with reference to the current value of each organisation’s service level arrangement with the HSE."

The Minister Concluded:

“The precise details are still being worked out by my officials but my objective here is to get the additional once off funding out as quick and administratively straightforward a manner as possible.”