16. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health his plans to address the lack of a dedicated community neuro-rehabilitation team in counties Laois and Offaly. (Question 6409/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The Midlands Louth Meath Community Health Organisation 8 has a service arrangement with ABI Ireland to provide neuro-rehabilitation services in the Midlands area covering Laois/Offaly and Longford/Westmeath. Acquired Brain Injury Ireland is funded by the Health Service Executive and is a dedicated provider of community-based neuro-rehabilitation services for people with acquired brain injury and their families. The organisation works in communities across Ireland to support and empower people to rebuild their lives after a brain injury. ABI Ireland also campaigns, educates and advocates for the rights and needs of people with acquired brain injury.

ABI Ireland services provided in the Laois/Offaly and Longford/Westmeath area include community neuro-rehabilitation, residential neuro-rehabilitation, case management and group rehabilitation activities. Their community neuro-rehabilitation services are provided across the four Midland counties. With 4.5 Rehabilitation Assistants, the organisation supports more than 30 individuals with an acquired brain injury on a weekly basis. Each individual is supported to relearn and regain as much independence as possible. As their need for support decreases, these support hours are used to support the next individual requiring community neuro-rehabilitation.

All the services are clinically led by a Senior Clinical Psychologist and a Senior Occupational Therapist and supervised by a Local Services Manager. All staff are specifically trained to work with individuals with acquired brain injury. In 2017, ABI Ireland received funding of €1.2 million in 2017 from the HSE Midlands Louth Meath CHO 8.

The Deputy may be aware that the Programme for a Partnership Government includes a commitment to publish “a plan for advancing neuro-rehabilitation services in the community”. The HSE has established a National Steering Group to develop an Implementation Framework for the National Neuro-rehabilitation Policy and Strategy. The Framework is scheduled for completion by June of this year.