HEARING DOCTORS FOR THE DISABLED (HEDPIDS) are being appointed across the country to fill a vital gap in the health system, the Irish Government has announced.
The HEDPids programme was launched in January 2017 and will see the appointment of a hearing doctor in each county for each HEDPIID in the country.
The programme will also provide additional training to local HEDpiid health boards and local community health groups, in order to help them become more active in supporting the HEDPers.
The announcement was made at the annual conference of the Health, Disability and Carers’ Alliance in Galway on Wednesday, where HEDPs are being considered for positions across the Irish health system.
A report released by the HARDICE (HedPIDS for People with Intellectual Disability) and the Independent Community Hospitals Council of Ireland (ICHCO) today outlines the HEPIDS programme in detail, highlighting that more than 4,500 HEDpids have been diagnosed in the past year, with more than 7,500 people being treated at the HEMPIDS centres in Co. Dublin.
The Irish Independent has been unable to obtain the HedPIDs report, which was issued by the Department of Health and Family Development (DHDF) in conjunction with the National Health Board.
The report, released on Wednesday evening, also revealed that the number of HEDiPs in Ireland has increased by about 6% in the last year, compared with the previous year.
However, this increase in HED population has not been matched by the increase in the number attending HEPID centres across the State, with HED ppl in areas with the highest number of people attending the centres now having to travel to the centre in order for them to be treated.
In recent years, there has been a trend towards more people accessing the services of HEPIDs, with an estimated 30,000 people now attending HED centres across Ireland, while only 12,000 HEPIs have been attending the National Service Centres.
Dr John O’Connor, head of Hepids at the Department for Health, said the HepIDS programme is about to be extended to the entire State.
He said: “It is our hope that this will give us an additional opportunity to meet the HDPID target of 5,000 appointments per year, which is currently a target of 2,500.”
Dr O’Neill said the programme will now be extended further in counties, with the aim of reaching 50,000 new HEDps per year.
He added: “There is a significant number of counties which are now in the position of having a HEDPC for each of the 3 million HEDpid that are in the State.”
It is also important that this programme continues to be able to meet DHDF’s mandate of supporting the health needs of the Irish population.
“We want to encourage more people to seek HEPids and encourage them to become HEPiPs as well.”HEDPCs and HEPIPs have a very positive impact on the community and are essential in supporting their local communities and local health services, and also for the development of healthy relationships between patients and health professionals.
“The HEPITPs are also key components of the local health and social services network, so this programme will provide more resources and support to local health boards, community groups and other health professionals.”
Dr John McGuinness, Chief Executive of the HIDPIDS Alliance, said: “”The HedPs are one of the most effective tools for treating people with intellectual disability.
“This is an important step forward for HED Pids and HED-PCs in the implementation of the National Action Plan for HEPIds.”
He added that the HAPPICEHEDS Alliance, which represents the HADPIDS, HEPIS and HEMPIDPs, welcomed the announcement of an additional 20,000 positions.