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Health And Social Services

Volume 86: debated on Thursday 14 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what obligations are placed upon health and social services boards to provide mobility officers for the blind and visually handicapped;(2) what obligations are placed upon health and social services boards to provide rehabilitation centres for the blind and visually handicapped;(3) what provision for mobility officers and rehabilitation centres currently exists.

The Department of Health and Social Services has, under the provisions of the Health and Personal Social Services (N.I.) Order 1972, a general duty to provide, or secure the provision of, personal social services designed to secure the welfare of the people of Northern Ireland. This function has been delegated to the health and social services boards and it is for the boards to decide how services can best be developed in the light of their assessment of need and of the resources available to them.At September 1985 a total of five mobility officers were in post—three in the Eastern board and one each in the Northern and Western boards. Two non-residential units providing social rehabilitation for the newly blind are in operation at Beechbank House and Helen Keller House, Belfast. The blind and visually handicapped also make use of the general rehabilitation services available at workshops and day centres provided by boards throughout Northern Ireland.