Statement from Jonathan Irwin, CEO and Founder of the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation in relation to the drastic new budget cuts proposed by HSE as reported in media on Friday 14th of October
“I am appalled and angered to hear about the range of drastic measures being proposed by the HSE, such as suspension of the issuing of new medical cards; a 24% reduction in home help hours; the fact that no further aids or appliances will be supplied to families and all this to happen between now and the end of the year, with the aim of saving €300 million so that the HSE can break even in 2011. Is this a health system gone mad? Nowhere in proposed cuts is there any mention of equally severe cuts to administration costs. Why is that?
“While the HSE admits that such measures will put extra demand on respite and residential facilities, which we know cost nine times more than home care, there simply are not enough beds available for the potential avalanche of demand. This is an absolute false economy and is going to cost more in the long run, putting huge levels of stress on the most vulnerable in society, yet again.
“I see these moves by the HSE as an absolute admission that they are no longer able to manage homecare services. On the other side, this Foundation is ready, willing and able to look after our population of children, but the HSE still doesn’t see the sense of investing in Jack & Jill 50/50.
“We can’t just sit back and let this happen. I plan to sit down and study this document of proposed cuts in detail and to engage with our nursing teams and families across the country about the real life implications. I am writing to Minister Reilly and Cathal Magee, CEO of the HSE for an urgent meeting to consider the implication of such moves on the families under our wing, families of children with brain damage who require intensive care at home, families who are on the brink of coping and who can’t take this form of slash and burn budget cuts from the HSE.”
Here is a sample of comments from Jack & Jill Families about what Jack & Jill means to them
S. H., Dublin
S. is very sick and she will end up in hospital if we don’t have Jack & Jill – please don’t cut us – we have only one day a week rest and all we have is the help of Jack & Jill. S. needs 24 hour care 7 days a week and the only rest we get is from Jack & Jill which is the best thing the family has. Please help us not to lose them as S. needs the hours and it keeps myself and my husband ticking over. If the person in charge in the HSE would like to visit S. and see what we deal with on a day to day basis we would be more than happy to let him see why Jack & Jill is so important to us and other families.
E. S., Cork
Our 12 hours nursing support weekly from Jack & Jill means that I can leave the house to do my weekly household shopping, bring the rest of the children to appointments, school, allow other children and visitors to come to see us. This service is like a life line to us. It saved me from mental illness and kept our daughter from been taken into HSE care.
Mr. John Moloney T.D.
Minister for Disability and Mental Health
Department of Health and Children
11 October 2010
Dear Minister Moloney,
I am writing to you in support of our members, the Jack and Jill Foundation, in advance of their meeting with you next Tuesday, 12 October 2011. The Foundation urgently requires an increase of €750,000 in their annual State contribution and we urge you to seriously consider their appeal.
As you know, the Jack and Jill Foundation is providing critical care and support to very sick children and their families. Their work allows children to be cared for more suitably at home in their own family settings, rather than in acute hospitals. The Foundation cares for a child at a cost of €16,500 per annum, while under HSE care these costs are €146,000 a year. At present, the Foundation cares for over 300 children, but without additional funding, they will have no option but to cut back on the number of hours of nursing they provide. The Foundation estimates that such a cut back would incur a cost of €15 million to the State.
We believe that the investment in the work of an organisation like the Jack and Jill Foundation is a perfect example of what the Alliance has termed a ‘smart’ budget decision. Smart budgeting means taking policy and budgetary decisions for children that are efficient in their use of resources and effective in their ability to improve children’s outcomes. This can be achieved though better and more creative uses of public money. The Alliance is working with the UCD Geary Institute on proposals that reflect this new approach. In our pre-budget submission this year, the Alliance is asking Government to take a longer-term approach when making decisions about policy that affects children.
Aside from the moral imperative to support the work of the Jack and Jill Foundation, doing so also makes clear economic sense. The case of the Jack and Jill Foundation brings to life the Alliance’s argument on ‘smart’ budgeting. Quite simply, without additional funding, children will have to return to intensive care, incurring massive and unnecessary costs on the State.
Thank you for considering this letter and please contact me anytime if you wish to discuss in more detail.
Jillian van Turnhout
Children’s Rights Alliance
On Tuesday 21st of September 2010, Jack & Jill made a presentation to the Oireachtas Committee on Health & Children. The Jack & Jill Team which comprised of C.E.O. Jonathan Irwin, Communications Director Carmel Doyle and Head Liaison Nurse Mary Joe Guilfoyle warned of a 25% to 30% cut to the home nursing care and respite packages financed and supported by Jack & Jill from 1st January 2011 if the HSE does not meet the Foundation halfway on funding and increase its annual grant from €556,000 to €1,350,000 urgently. They told of how over the past two years the cost of providing the Jack & Jill service has increased by 40% while donations are down by 25%, with the net result that Jack & Jill is facing a shortfall of €450,000 in the current year to 31st December 2010 which will be covered through the Foundation’s remaining reserves. It is estimated that the knock on effect of a 30% cut in Jack & Jill’s service which means a cut of 24 hours per month to an average family will cost the HSE an additional €14.7 million in 2011, with an estimated 100 of Jack & Jill’s 320 babies returning to hospital care which is nine times more expensive than the Jack & Jill model of home nursing care. Jack & Jill requires €225,000 per month to run its existing service and the Foundation wants the HSE to cover €112,500 per month which equates to half of the cost. The children’s charity will also meet John Moloney T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Disability and Mental Health on 12th October for an update on its funding into 2011 and beyond.(The original meeting was scheduled for the 30th September but has been postponed until the 12th of October)
On the 1st June 2010, a team from Jack & Jill met with Minister Mary Harney and HSE staff to discuss the findings of the Economic Report “There’s no Place like Home” and the fact that Jack & Jill receives only 19% Funding from the Government.
The Outcome of the meeting was positive with Minister Harney granting funds for an extra Jack & Jill Liaison Nurse and promising further discussions about bringing Jack & Jack up to a more realistic 50% Government funded and about providing funding for 4 to 6 year olds.
However, we would encourage Jack & Jill families and Friends to continue to lobby local politicians to this end. We need to keep the pressure on!
Keep an eye on our website for any further updates on these discussions