After this weeks non – reshuffle we find that Minister Rabbitte will remain in her post for another 2 years . The Minister now has an opportunity to make a real difference and deal with the reassignment of disability services away from the HSE
The Minister must meet Don’t Leave them behind as we have requested since last June to allow us to set out our proposals about disability services without the HSE .
After over 2 years as Minister for Disabilities Anne Rabbitte has had time to witness first hand the unprofessional and damaging mis-management of Disability Services by the HSE ,in-fairness to the Minister she has battled against these failures and attempted to advance significant plans for change in the disability area ,however the HSE appears to have no interest in changing with the typical arrogance demonstrated for many years now and an arrogance that 1000s of people with disabilities and carers are all to familiar with.
We note that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has realised that the assessment of need system must go and that children with needs waiting 7 years for an assessment must end this system was a creation of the HSE.
Don’t Leave them behind has witnessed scandalous behaviour by the HSE which culminated with the HSE blocking the Minister for Disabilities from ” on the ground meetings with disability managers .
The HSE continuously blocked Anne Rabbitte from getting ” on the ground “updates from HSE staff after the Minister attempted to investigate a large number of serious concerns raised by carers and people with disabilities .
The HSE have a standard practice of blocking parents , carers and people with disabilities when they attempted to secure information about the services provided to them and when they attempt to establish why these services often have waiting lists of over 3 to 4 years.
Any parent or carer is well aware of how it is nearly impossible to get to talk to a HSE Disability Manager ,it starts with an out of office email , with a mobile of an assistant to ring , then the assistants out of office voicemail which sends you back to the disability managers email which again has its out of office on and so the circle continues until due to caring commitments you are forced to give up which is exactly what the HSE want .Frustration followed by Frustration .
Indeed the current waiting lists for an assessment of needs is well over 3 to 7 years and if you are lucky enough to get an assessment of needs and a plan, the waiting lists to receive support and intervention from specialists is currently running at a further 4/5 years which results in over 7/8 years lost to each child causing huge damage that will never be recovered .
The Minister has ( at long last ) realised what Don’t Leave them Behind has advised her of since her appointment as Minister i.e the HSE are not fit to deliver services to people with disabilities we note her response to the HSE attempted blocking when her advisers stated in emails to the HSE that the failure to engage with the Minister is ” giving the impression of the HSE not giving a full and true reflection of what is happening on the ground ” this ” lightbulb moment took the Minister and her advisers nearly 2 years to reach which is a significant loss of time and services for 1000s of people awaiting interventions .
However. this blocking issue while important as it demonstrates the arrogant bullying behaviour of the HSE that we all have experienced for decades , it should start to make this Government see clearly that the HSE is unsuitable to be the provider of disability services in the State . (We won’t lists the many scandals and court cases that are on record )
The Minister needs to prepare a memorandum for Government which sets out a plan to remove the HSE from providing any services to people with disabilities without any further delay .
The HSE clearly demonstrated the little regard they have for people with disabilities and carers during the COVID 19 pandemic when the remove all services and supports and redeployed key specialist staff out of disability services into swabbing and contact tracing.The HSE isolated vunerable people for over 2 years and we still find today that services have not returned fully . .
Anne Rabbitte is a strong advocate for people with disabilities and has contributed significantly to driving change with the rotten system that this State have allowed to manage disability services .
Anne Rabbitte has an opportunity to make a real difference for people with disabilities by moving now to remove the HSE from the provision of disability services thereby giving people with disabilities and their carers and families hope that our daily battle for services and equality will lessen and that we will see the shameful management of services for the most vunerable a thing of the past