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HSE accused of abandoning Shannon woman

A SHANNON woman claims the HSE are abandoning her 23-year-old daughter, who has Down’s syndrome.
Gail Fean’s daughter Sarah had been receiving care in Shannon and Ennis over numerous years. The services she had received in her hometown ended some months ago, while the services she has been receiving two days a week in Ennis are concluding this Friday.

“Really she’s been in the system with the HSE, the Brothers of Chairty and all of it since she was born. For the last five years she’s been attending a training centre in Ennis. There was wonderful work done, but now it’s finished,” said Gail.

Gail outlined the type of help that her daughter needs. “She should be getting a day service and one to one. She would have had a certain amount of independence but she wouldn’t be able to go out the door and to a full time job and things like that. What she needs is someone to facilitate her to do things. It’s not my job or any parents job to suddenly become the service provider.”

After leaving St Clare’s, Sarah went into the Brothers of Charity at the age of 18. There she did various courses and also took part in some work experience programmes.

“She’s got to a level where she’s independent and her own person but over the last few months she doesn’t know where she’s going on to and it’s disrupting her.”
Gail says that her daughter has been upset over the change and is quite unsettled as a result.

“The phenomenal work that was done over the last five years is unravelling and she’s regressing a bit.”
She says that she is having to take on new roles to help Sarah and that other people are also being left in difficulty.

“I am her sole provider, I’m her key worker, her mentor, everything that I didn’t have to be. My only role in Sarah’s life should have been as her mother.

“It’s a chronic situation and I’m not alone in this. I’ve had to put my holiday back a week to try and deal with this and I’ll probably end up having to come from it, because every day Sarah will be asking what’s happening, where am I going.”

She says there is no evidence of a plan for the future care of her daughter, while she has continually been told that work is continuing, but nothing tangible has been delivered.

“They say we’re working on your behalf, we’ve been given this glimmer of hope, just hold on, there may be something, we’re working hard on it. They’re not, because if they were working hard on it four months ago they could have told us there is no funding, we don’t have it, full stop.”
Responding to a query from The Clare Champion, the HSE said that it couldn’t comment upon an individual case.

While not commenting on the Fean case, the HSE claimed that most people in a similar situation are being accommodated.

“Each year HSE staff assist young people with a disability who are leaving school or rehab training with guidance, support and advice. Earlier this year a total of 132 school leavers/rehab trainees were identified across Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary. So far placements have been identified for 122 of them (92%) in a variety of services and partner agencies.

“The disability sector which receives HSE funding had, like all services, a budget reduction this year. However, in the case of the disability sector agencies this was capped and protected at 3.7% reduction.

“Many other sectors in Health and Personal Social Services, particularly within the HSE, had reductions at a higher level. In return for this cap on reduction there is a clear national understanding and expectation that the agencies would, through efficiencies and other measures, absorb the demand for school leaver and rehab trainees placements.”

The HSE statement acknowledged that not all people have been catered for thusfar, and said that efforts are still continuing to make progress on the matter.

“Whilst 122 people needing support have been accommodated we are continuing to work with the agencies to provide a service for the remaining ten. We acknowledge this is a pressured time for the families of the remaining ten and they are our principal focus. We remain in contact with the families and the agencies.”


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