Minister meets HSE officials over concerns about care for intellectually disabled people

Former minister says a whisleblower brought a so-called 'protected disclosure'

Minister meets HSE officials over concerns about care for intellectually disabled people

Minister for Health Simon Harris |Photo:

The Health Minister Simon Harris has met with senior Health Service Executive (HSE) officials, over concerns about services for intellectually disabled people in the south east.

It comes after the former health minister, Leo Varadkar, said he did follow up on a report brought to him about failures in care services there.

Mr Varadkar says when he was health minister a whisleblower brought a so-called 'protected disclosure' to him and then junior minister, Kathleen Lynch.

Mr Varadkar says he met the person and senior officials in the Health Service Executive (HSE).

He says the Department of Health followed up on the document, with the appointment of a senior council to examine the issues.

Mr Varadkar, who is now social protection minister, says he is certain he acted as he should have.

Both Minister Harris and the Minister of State with special responsibility for disability Finian McGrath have now met with senior HSE officials.

The ministers say they held "a frank and open discussion" with officials about the "serious concerns" they have regarding both recent and historical issues about the care.

"The HSE reiterated their previous public statements to the Public Accounts Committee acknowledging significant service and management failings over a number of years in respect of citizens with a disability and their families who trusted the State to prioritise their additional needs," Minister McGrath says in a statement.

The ministers discussed the range of measures being implemented to improve these matters.

Minister McGrath said: "I am personally determined that priority should be attached to the proper protection of people with a disability in the care of the State. Furthermore, I am determined that historical issues will be comprehensively examined and addressed."

Mr McGrath says he will discuss the matter in the Dáil on Wednesday July 20th.