Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath, Gabrielle McFadden, has thanked Minister for Health Leo Varadkar and Minister for special responsibility for Disability Kathleen Lynch for their support following an agreement from the HSE to provide the necessary resources to help offset the financial crisis at St Christopher’s Services.
“This is very welcome news but the commitment is part of a simultaneous three month review of services to be carried out by the HSE at both St Christopher’s in Longford and St Hilda’s in Athlone.
“I understand that both reviews will look at ways to develop sustainable services in the two organisations while also considering the current availability of resources.
“I am pleased that the HSE has committed to stabilising the current financial position in St Christopher’s in order to protect the current level of service provision and that both reviews have come about because of the public outcry over the threat to vital services in Longford and Westmeath.
“However, while this is good news for the foreseeable future, the campaign to protect these services will continue and these reviews must seek outcomes to guarantee the protection of services in both organisations against any future cuts.
“Today’s decision has come about through an intensive campaign carried out in both counties, involving not least the families, the service providers and the wider community.
“A lot of work has also been invested by local Oireachtas members to impress upon both Ministers Varadkar and Lynch the importance of addressing the funding crisis affecting intellectual disability services in the region. The two Ministers have received numerous communications to ensure that the concerns of service-users, their families and the service providers have been successfully listened to.
“Since the crisis emerged in both countries, I have made almost daily representations to Minister Varadkar and Lynch on these issues, making it clear that it is simply unacceptable that economics should get in the way of providing proper care for our most vulnerable in society.
“Apart from significant fund-raising initiatives, St Hilda’s and St Christopher’s provide exceptional value for money but more importantly exceptional services under very difficult circumstances and in the face of growing demand.”