Funding crisis at SJOGCS

Supports thousands with disabilities
  • Deborah Condon

Saint John of God Community Services (SJOGCS), which supports around 8,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities and mental health issues, has warned service users that it is in serious financial trouble.

SJOGCS provides day, respite and residential services to children, teenagers and adults in Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Louth, Monaghan and Kerry. It also provides community mental health services to children, teenagers and adults with mental health problems in Dublin and Wicklow.

Last week, it wrote to all of the people supported by its services, as well as its 3,000 staff and volunteers, to notify them of an "escalating funding crisis".

It said that it has written to the HSE requesting resolution of its funding issues by March 20. If the HSE does not respond appropriately by this date, the board of the SJOGCS may have no option but to serve 12 months notice of termination of services.

The consequences of termination of its service agreement would result in a transfer of responsibility for the provision of services from SJOGCS to the HSE, and inevitably result in the winding up of SJOGCS.

It needs an additional €27 million to maintain services in 2020, while a separate plan is needed to reduce an accumulated deficit of over €33 million, which has built up over the last six years.

SJOGCS said that it has "engaged extensively" with the HSE over the last few years and has alerted it that a termination and transfer of services could take place.

However, it insisted that to date, the HSE "has not acknowledged the seriousness of the implications of the underfunding of services".

"We will continue to seek what must be a sustainable solution in order to continue providing vital services to those who rely on it.

"In the event of the termination of the service arrangement next year, we are committed to the orderly transfer of service responsibility to the HSE in order to minimise the level of disruption to the children and adults supported by the services, their families and staff," commented SJOGCS chief executive, Clare Dempsey.

For more information on SJOGCS, click here.


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