Minister of State with responsibility for Disabilities, Anne Rabbitte TD, today confirmed the additional supports in place for the reopening of disability day services from August.

Minister Rabbitte held a meeting with the HSE on to discuss the progress being made to reopen disability day services from August and the need for additional clarity for service users regarding when services will reopen.

Minister Rabbitte said:

The closure of day services has been difficult for everyone, and I am keen to see services reopen as soon as it is safe to do so. I’ve been working with the HSE to ensure there are enough supports in place for the reopening of services from August.

It is up to each individual service provider to pinpoint their reopening date and most service providers should already have been in touch with families at this point. It is expected that services will reopen during August and September, and neither the Department of Health nor HSE have been informed of any services reopening later than this.

Uncertainty is not acceptable for service users or their families. It only adds to the mounting stress they’re already under. To make the reopening process more transparent for service users, I have asked the HSE to create a web portal that will clearly outline when each service will reopen and the number of users able to use the service each day.

Services have been asked to inform the HSE of this information by Wednesday evening. The information from all 966 services will then be collated and posted on the HSE’s website from 4 August. This will help provide the clarity and reassurance people are seeking at the moment.

In addition, I am assured that the HSE is working closely with service providers to validate the level of financial supports required to reopen services. COVID-19 health advice around social distancing means that capacity in many day services will be reduced but such changes to the provision of care are crucial to mitigate risk to those most vulnerable in our society.

Deputy Rabbitte concluded:

The HSE is in the process of reviewing business cases from service providers for additional funding to support the reopening of services, which will be drawn down from the COVID-19 Pandemic Health service funding of €2 billion.

“While a full reopening of services would be ideal, COVID-19 has not gone away and we cannot put lives at risk as services reopen. Safety is paramount. We must protect our most vulnerable and this means all COVID-19 safety guidelines must be followed.”

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