The HSE has denied that the process of assessment of need reviews is on hold after it emerged that one family was told it may have to wait until next year to have their case reviewed.
The issue was flagged by solicitor Gareth Noble of KOD Lyons on Twitter and it later emerged that in a letter sent to the family in question, they were told that “the matter of assessment of need reviews and in particular, whether or not the Disability Act 2005 gives rise to an enforceable entitlement to compel the carrying out of an assessment of need review and provides for the carrying out of further assessments or re-assessments, is currently before the Courts and will be heard in the Spring of 2023.”
The letter, issued by the HSE to the family, said the case had been reviewed more than a year ago, and that it would seem that the family was “not entitled to a further review”, barring any changes in circumstances which may warrant a new assessment of need.
Mr Noble said he was unsure if this indicated a change in policy or whether it was an outlier, but added that the matter needed to be clarified.
He said the family was entitled to a review due to changed circumstances and this was provided for in the Act, but that the HSE appeared to be indicating that since the matter was reviewed last year, the family would instead need to submit a fresh assessment of need application.
In response, a spokesperson for the HSE said: “Assessment of need is not on hold. The HSE receives approximately six thousand applications for Assessment of need each year. The HSE provides one review of an Assessment of need.
“As required under section 8 of the Act, a person may apply for a further Assessment of need if there has been a material change of circumstances, [or] further information becomes available in relation to the circumstances of the applicant or the services available to meet their needs [or] a material mistake of fact is identified in the report.
“The HSE continues to make every effort to comply with its legislative obligations under Part 2 of the Act.”
But Mr Noble said: “What the HSE are attempting to do now is force parents back to the starting block and start a fresh assessment of need.”
He said changing circumstances within families allowed for a review mechanism and that “they should be able to do so whenever it is required”.
See the original article on the Irish Examiner.