Disability rights group disappointed with HSE Winter Plan 

Disability rights group disappointed with HSE Winter Plan 

The HSE Winter Plan is designed to bolster the health services and keep more people out of hospitals as the country continues to grapple with Covid-19. Picture: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

Inclusion Ireland have expressed their disappointment with the Government's Winter Plan.

The €600m plan, which was published this afternoon, is designed to bolster the health services and keep more people out of hospitals as the country continues to grapple with Covid-19.

However, Inclusion Ireland, which works to promote the rights of people with intellectual disabilities, said it was their understanding that the plan would contain measures to address the deficiencies in the provision of day services and supports for people with disabilities and their families. 

CEO of the organisation, Enda Egan, said “We were led to believe, and expected, that these issues would be addressed in the Government’s Winter Plan. 

"However, there is little to nothing for people with disabilities outlined. Intellectual disabilities are mentioned just once in the plan, and it is the only mention of disabilities at all. The lack of urgency in addressing these issues is extremely disappointing."

He has called on the Government to set aside funding for this purpose in the upcoming Budget. 

The HSE has committed to rolling our €55m flu vaccination programme, providing 4.7 million homecare hours, 20 community assessment hubs, 47 community special teams, improved diagnostics access for GPs and providing more than 1,100 step-down community beds. 

Meanwhile, Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy Frank Feighan has welcomed the additional funding for the National Drug Strategy.

€5.5m has been announced to enhance health services for people who are homeless and in addiction as part of the HSE Winter Plan. 

Mr Feighan said "COVID-19 has highlighted the vulnerability of people who are homelessness and in addiction. The HSE Winter Plan will continue the protective public health measures that were developed during COVID-19 for the medically vulnerable homeless population. It also will expand GP services for people who living in emergency accommodation in Dublin and regional centres." 

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