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HSE communication with families to increase


Following outcry over services limbo, HSE commits to information provision and new ‘family forums’

Oisín McGovern

THE HSE has said that families of children with disabilities will be informed about changes to disability services in the coming weeks.
Last week, two parents of disabled children told The Mayo News that they were fearful of losing home respite services under the HSE’s new Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People Programme (PDS).
Kathryn Connor, chairperson of diabilities charity Airc, said that there had been no communication with families about the changes to services under PDS.
Another parent said that her daughter had been informed that she would lose all the home respite support she had been receiving from Western Care.
Over 30 families are believed to be affected by the proposed changes.
In a response issued to The Mayo News yesterday evening (Monday), the HSE said that families will receive a letter informing them about which HSE service ‘best meets their child’s need’.
Many disability services across the country are delivered by various voluntary bodies, many of which are government funded.

Teams being established
PDS is a national programme which intends to deliver children’s disability services via local primary care or a Children’s Disability Network Team.
A HSE spokesperson said: “Progressing Disability Services (PDS) for Children and Young People is a national change programme for the provision of therapeutic services for children and young people.
“Three Children’s Disability Teams are being established in County Mayo. There will be an increase to therapy services for children and young people for complex needs. Fifteen additional posts were allocated to Community Healthcare West in 2021 under the HSE National Service Plan.
“In addition, funding has been secured for a waiting list initiative to address waiting times across all disciplines. During this transition phase, the HSE are working to ensure minimum disruption to service provision for children and families including home respite services.”
Families can expect to hear from the HSE ‘in the coming weeks’, with the authority saying they ‘will receive a letter confirming which HSE service best meets their child’s need either Primary Care or a Children’s Disability Network Team’.
“Children will receive service from one of three teams based on their home address. Family forums are due to be established to enhance communication,” the HSE added.