Inclusion Ireland holds very constructive meeting on disability issues with Minister for Health Simon Harris, April 28th
Inclusion Ireland met with Minister for Health, Simon Harris, Minister for Disability Issues, Finian McGrath and head of HSE Disability Service, Dr Cathal Morgan on April 27th to discuss COVID-19 disability issues that people with disabilities and their families had raised with Inclusion Ireland.
The key points from the meeting were:
- 90% of disability services are COVID-19 free and the other 10% are so far coping with their outbreaks. Sadly, 10 people have passed away due to COVID-19.
- The Minister is to ask the HPSC to publish disaggregated data to indicate the levels of COVID-19 in disability services.
- There is equality of access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for disability services.
- The HSE is to develop a protocol for informing families if their family member lives in a setting where someone has contracted COVID-19.
- There is equality of access for people with disabilities to health care, including intensive care. The Department of Health and HSE are mindful of the UNCRPD which guarantees equal access to health care.
- In emergency cases, where a family carer has to enter hospital for treatment, the HSE has developed an emergency care pathway. As all cases are unique, this will be done on a case by case basis as the need arises.
- The HSE is looking at how it can adapt services to children. Special needs assistants are beginning to contact families to give a remote support option.
- Minister Harris concluded by saying “the pandemic has brought a renewed commitment on how we care for people in larger settings. There is good work going on in these settings but we can do better”.
Inclusion Ireland CEO, Enda Egan commented on the meeting: “I would like to thank Minister Harris for engaging with Inclusion Ireland, and listening to the concerns of people with intellectual disabilities and their families have in relation to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic”