No posts unfilled in area that got autism funds

Full complement of staff at Beechpark while up to eight posts unfilled in other areas

Dr James Reilly:  The Minister for Health  defended his decision to provide €300,000 to fund five extra posts in the north Dublin service

Dr James Reilly: The Minister for Health defended his decision to provide €300,000 to fund five extra posts in the north Dublin service

 


Minister for Health James Reilly’s decision to fund autism services in north Dublin was based on a report showing it was the only area in the greater Dublin region to enjoy a full complement of staff, internal HSE documents show.

Beechpark Services, which provides supports for children with autism in counties Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare, had no posts unfilled on Dublin’s northside. In contrast, up to eight posts were unfilled on the westside, southside and in other areas of the organisation, according to the HSE report. Dr Reilly defended his decision to provide €300,000 to fund five extra posts in the north Dublin service by saying there were particular difficulties with waiting lists in the area. Speaking in the Dáil, he also pointed out that the funding was recommended in the HSE report on Beechpark.

That report shows that 138 children on the northside were on Beechpark’s waiting list, but 241, or 64 per cent of children, on the waiting list resided on the westside or southside of the city. At the end of 2011, there were 13 wait-listed classes on the northside, eight on the westside and five on the southside. It proposed that €300,000 be provided to services on the northside in 2012, and the same amount to the other areas this year.

“This option could only operate equitably on the basis that if one region got the entire allocation in 2012, the remaining region should get a similar allocation in 2013.” So far, only the €300,000 for the northside has been allocated.

The balance of the promised funding on early intervention services – €700,000 a year for three years – has been put on hold pending a review ordered by the Minister.