Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle has today revealed figures reflecting the amount the HSE has saved during the temporary closure of Seaview Respite House in Mountcharles.
In response to representations made by Deputy Pringle, the HSE revealed its total budget in 2018 for Seaview Respite House in Mountcharles amounted to €478, 414. However, since its closure in December 2018 the total HSE budget for Seaview in 2019 to date amounted to €320,499 making a saving of €157,915 in total.
Speaking on the figures, Deputy Pringle said while he was surprised at the amount of money still being spent by the HSE on a service that had not provided much-needed respite to service users and their families the amount of savings the HSE was making was an important detail.
“I have followed through with questions asking for a breakdown in the costs associated with Seaview since its closure but in the meantime I want to ensure that any savings made by the HSE will be ringfenced for children with disabilities and their families in Donegal.
“I would be concerned that due to the recruitment embargo and the desperate attempt by Fine Gael to make savings in the HSE budget overall, the money saved in the case of Seaview could be redirected to plug funding gaps elsewhere. I will make representations on this concern as respite services in Donegal remain in a state of crisis.
“Respite for all families across Donegal is dwindling especially now that Seaview has been out of commission for over a year. Even once Seaview reopens in January 2020 it will be on a five-day contract which does nothing to facilitate the real and substantial respite needs of families in Donegal.
“All in all Donegal is witnessing a decline in health services and support services in the county and the recruitment embargo is only making things worse. This week during Leaders’ Questions I raised the negative impact the recruitment ban is having on the quality of healthcare and services for people in Donegal. I raised the prospect of the HSE recruitment ban being a permanent fixture in our health service if Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil get into power," he said.
He added that was why it was important that healthcare and support services such as Seaview Respite House funded by the HSE remain a priority and at the top of the political agenda to prevent the ongoing decline and any permanent reduction in access to respite and health services for people who needed it.
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