Joint statement from independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice and sitting Roscommon county councillor Nigel Dineen

The Minister for Health Simon Harris has been called upon to approve a €2 million funding boost in order to main the services currently provided by RehabCare.

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice and sitting Roscommon county councillor Nigel Dineen have urged the minister – along with minister of state Finian McGrath – to back this proposal.

As it stands, RehabCare employs approximately 1,500 staff who support more than 3,000 people – and their families – across 147 locations in 28 constituencies.

Commenting on the matter, Fitzmaurice said: “Without RehabCare being allocated an additional €2 million by the HSE it will have to stop providing the level of services it currently does.

“Its employees provide support to people with disabilities and their families across the country. The services – delivered in partnership with the HSE – range from day, respite, residential and home care.

“RehabCare will receive €63 million this year from the HSE to run its services, but without an additional €2 million, money will run out before the end of the year.

“My office has been inundated with calls and emails in the past week regarding the potential cessation of RehabCare services.

“Minister Harris and Minister of State McGrath need to re-examine the budget available to them and reallocate funds towards RehabCare. When compared to the spending overrun witnessed in the National Children’s Hospital project, €2 million isn’t a huge amount of money.

“Given the level of care provided to the 3,000 or so people by RehabCare staff, pulling these services would be detrimental to their overall needs,” the Roscommon-Galway TD said.

It is understood that RehabCare’s deficits have arisen because of new and unfunded costs of regulation and significantly increased insurance costs.

The fact that RehabCare took on a range of services during the recession which the HSE wasn’t in a position to deliver on because of the moratorium on public sector recruitment also reportedly added to the losses.

Highest priority

Cllr Nigel Dineen believes the care provided to over 3,000 people by RehabCare staff needs to be maintained at its current level and by the same personnel.

He added: “Both routine and regularity are key tools in providing top-level care to people with disabilities. The disruption that would be caused by changing care providers over the course of 12 months would far outweigh the €2 million needed at the moment.

“RehabCare staff have built up strong relationships with all of the people who avail of their services; throwing this away for financial reasons would be shameful.

“The care provided to over 3,000 people across the country on an annual basis must be held as the highest priority. I am calling on the minister, and all of the officials in his department, to find a way to secure €2 million in additional funding for RehabCare’s budget.”

Negotiations have been ongoing in recent days to resolve this issue, with talks set to conclude tomorrow (Wednesday, May 15th).

Concluding, Cllr Dineen explained that the Rehab Group has shouldered the costs arising as a result of the deficit created in RehabCare in recent years.

“The group is coming under financial pressure and it cannot keep footing the bill. It needs to support of the HSE to continue,” he said.

 

Michael Fitzmaurice TD – 0861914565

Cllr Nigel Dineen – 086-2130723

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