The Jack & Jill Foundation had what it described as a “frank and efficient meeting” with the Minister for Health & Children and his advisors on Monday 18th July. Report from that meeting below – posted on Jack & Jill website:
Jack & Jill’s objectives for meeting with Minister Reilly on 18th July were two-fold
- To get an update from Minister Reilly on Jack & Jill’s funding position now that he is 4 months down the track as Minister for Health and to discuss his action plan following the positive feedback and pledges for more funding we received from FG and Labour and from the Minister himself at the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Health & Children on 21st September 2010.
- To clarify deadline for Disability Review which is under the direction of Laurence Crowley, chairman and discuss how funds saved will be redirected into frontline services like Jack & Jill.
No increased State funding for Jack & Jill – bottom line
The investment Jack & Jill requires from the State/HSE is €1.3 million (currently €545K) which is 50% of our annual budget. The Minister was frank about the current financial pressures his Department is facing. He stressed that he was not in a position to make any promises about increased funding for Jack & Jill; reiterated the high regard in which he holds the Jack & Jill Foundation, the quality service it provides, the money it saves the taxpayer and complimented Jonathan Irwin’s successful fundraising track record.
Unfortunately, the bottom line from the meeting is that there is no good news on increased State funding any time soon for the Jack & Jill Foundation. Therefore, we must continue to rely on mobile phone and cash donations from the general public and our corporate partners to raise over €2 million annually to keep our national home nursing care and respite service going to support the families of children with brain damage and severe developmental delay. We absolutely hope that the €545,000 grant we receive annually from the HSE will not be cut again, as we face into one of the toughest budgets ever in Ireland. However, nothing must be taken for granted and the Jack & Jill team will have to work harder than ever to ensure the sustainability of this service over the coming years.
In terms of follow up, we will be in contact with officers in the Department of Health and senior executives in the HSE on the payment of Domiciliary Care Allowance and the allocation of medical cards for our children. We reiterated our invitation to the big decision makers to really examine the Jack & Jill service in more detail by shadowing our nurses for a day or two and facing the reality our families face every day.
We highlighted the money that Jack & Jill saves the HSE and the Irish taxpayer
- Since 1997 Jack & Jill Foundation has supported over 1,400 families nationwide who have children with brain damage and severe developmental delay.
- Raised €30 million privately while the HSE grant during that time was €4 million.
- If only half (700) of these families were not able to cope caring for their child at home with the support of Jack & Jill, this would have cost the State over 100 million euro. The Jack & Jill model of care saves millions of euro every year – no one can dispute that.
- As a bonus, Jack & Jill has saved the Dept of Education nearly €2 million through its schools campaign whereby over 2,000 schools nationwide have already collected 300,000 old mobiles and exchanged them for Promethean Interactive Whiteboards and other classroom equipment, worth nearly €2 million.
- Jack & Jill is highly efficient in its cost structure. Of its €2.7 million budget for 2011, 56% is paid directly to families, 33% covers the Jack & Jill’s nursing team and 11% is spent on running the office including its many fundraising initiatives.
Uniqueness of Jack & Jill model of care and how it fits into Programme for Government
- Jack & Jill is in a unique position in palliative area as we are the ONLY agency dealing with palliative cases, with an excellent response time that the HSE, as well as parents, have come to depend on. €400K of our budget last year was spent on palliative home nursing care costs. We have the best paediatric home nursing care team in the country and invest in training on an ongoing basis.
- Jack & Jill’s “self directed” model of community care cited as exemplar in the Fine Gael document “Reinventing Government”, along with Trinity report “There’s No Place like Home” showing that the cost of caring for severely disabled children is far greater in hospital than it is at home. Average cost to the State of keeping a child in hospital is €147,365 per annum, whereas the average cost to care for a child at home is €16,422 per annum or 88% less. FG document states that “This ‘self directed’ model of funding public services will be considered for other areas that currently encompass billions in public spending.” The Minister reiterated that the Jack & Jill model was very much in line with the future direction of community care and it is a model that the Minister himself very much supports.
- Jack & Jill fits well with the Programme for Government which shows strong support for community care model and belief in fairness, accessibility based on need Vs income and in the integration of care in all settings, in which the right care is delivered in the right place. However, Ireland still doesn’t have a national paediatric home nursing care budget and the community outreach paediatric nurses being appointed are coordinators and have no budget.
- Jack & Jill is encouraged that National Disability Authority (NDA) are acting on the Government’s commitment to “introduce personal budgets” for people with disabilities by researching international models (from US and UK) to support this policy objective. We are planning to approach the NDA to include the Jack & Jill model in future research projects.
Onwards and upwards on fundraising efforts for Jack & Jill Foundation and the families who rely on us in every community in Ireland.