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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 601-611
 Header Item Substance Misuse
 Header Item Alcohol Advertising
 Header Item Health Services Provision

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 1

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Written Answers Nos. 601-611

Substance Misuse

 601. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when he plans to publish the action plan to implement the recommendations in the report of the national substance misuse steering group published on 7 February 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53948/12]

 602. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he has considered the proposal from the National Youth Council of Ireland contained in their pre-budget submission to his Department to introduce a 1% social responsibility levy on the turnover of the drinks manufacturers which could generate a fund to replace the sponsorship of large sporting and cultural events by drinks industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53949/12]

 603. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the action he has taken to progress the commitment made at the conference on alcohol misuse in Armagh in January 2012 to work with the Northern Executive on the introduction of minimum pricing on an all-Ireland basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53950/12]

 604. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his plans to hold a conference, seminar or other event on alcohol misuse policy in the context of the Irish Presidency of the European Union next year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53951/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 601 to 604, inclusive, together.

The National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group reported in February of this year and it made a range of important recommendations in order to deal with the persistent problem of alcohol misuse in Ireland; and in this regard, it recommended that a social responsibility levy on the drinks industry and that a minimum unit price per gram of alcohol be provided for in legislation. Work on the latter regime is being progressed in conjunction with Northern Ireland; preparations are well underway to tender jointly for a health impact assessment to be carried out - a measure that would be key to underpinning any regime of minimum unit pricing given the prospects for such a policy to be challenged. As minimum unit pricing is a mechanism of imposing a statutory floor in price levels for alcohol products that must be legally observed by retailers, its primary function would be thus to discourage at risk levels of alcohol consumption. Moreover, and arising from the Armagh conference, a North South Alcohol Forum has been initiated and has already met for the purposes of developing areas of work to be elaborated.

The Deputy's question relating to the inclusion of alcohol on the agenda of Ireland's Presidency is indeed pertinent given that the prospect for a new European Union Strategy on Alcohol is being discussed at European Union level. Ireland is actively participating in this discussion.

My Department is developing concrete proposals on the basis of the recommendations of the report of the National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group - including the recommendations on a social responsibility levy on the drinks industry and a regime of minimum unit pricing; and these are being prepared for the purposes of submitting them to Government at the earliest opportunity for the consideration and approval of the Cabinet. While this work is continuing, the prospects for encompassing work on alcohol during the tenure of Ireland's Presidency are against the backdrop of many competing priorities on the health agenda.While, I am conscious of the need to develop proposals on the basis of the National Substance Misuse Strategy to reduce alcohol consumption in Ireland, there are no plans at this stage to organise an event on alcohol during Ireland's Presidency.

Alcohol Advertising

 605. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he has received the sixth report of the alcohol marketing communications body; his plan to publish same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53952/12]

 606. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of meetings held by the Alcohol Marketing Communications Monitoring Body in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and to date in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53953/12]

 607. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will provide detail of the payments made to the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland to oversee and monitor the Alcohol Marketing, Communications and Sponsorship Codes since the establishment of the Alcohol Marketing, Communications Monitoring Body in 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53954/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 605 to 607, inclusive, together.

  I have seen the sixth report of the Alcohol Marketing Communications Monitoring Body (AMCMB) and have approved it for publication. The secretariat of the AMCMB has advised my Dept that meetings held by the AMCMB were: in 2006 - 4, 2007 - 6, 2008- 4, 2009 - 4, 2010 - 5, 2011 - 5 and 2012  to date 3. Payments made to the ASAI to oversee the AMCMB sponsorship codes were: 2007- €45,064.40; 2008 - €71,990; 2009 - €88,725; 2010 - €52,906; 2011 - €58,488; 2012 - €33,196 to date. The figure for 2006 will be sent to the Deputy once it becomes available.

Health Services Provision

 608. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly in relation to the proposed roll-out of the Health Service Executive programme for the restructuring of children's therapy services, if the Health Service Executive has a cohesive plan in relation to the reconfiguration of therapy service provision; what is the HSE objective; the process that will be worked through to achieve their objectives; the timeline of the process; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53979/12]

 609. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly in relation to the proposed roll-out of the Health Service Executive programme for the restructuring of children's therapy services, the role that will be undertaken by parents as reps and if expenses incurred carrying out this role will be reimbursed; the role of parents on forums; if parents have a veto in this process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53980/12]

 610. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly in relation to the proposed roll-out of the Health Service Executive programme for the restructuring of children's therapy services, the primary motivation for the radical changes; where the funding will come from; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53981/12]

 611. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly in relation to the proposed roll-out of the Health Service Executive programme for the restructuring of children's therapy services, the country that has an equivalent model on which this project is based; when a comparative analysis is carried out between the current model and the proposed reconfiguration what are the benefits for the children; the way progress will be monitored and measured; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53982/12]

 612. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly in relation to the proposed roll-out of the Health Service Executive programme for the restructuring of children's therapy services, the way the reconfiguration will impact on services as they currently stand; the way reconfiguration will impact on service providers and is there a special needs school here where the reconfiguration has had a positive impact and if he will provide details of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53983/12]

 613. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly in relation to the proposed roll-out of the Health Service Executive programme for the restructuring of children's therapy service, if his attention has been drawn to the fact that parents only became aware of this reconfiguration in late September; the reason parents were not informed about the reconfigurations from its initial conception; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53984/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 608 to 613, inclusive, together.

  Disability health services for children are organised and delivered very differently across the country because of the way they have been initiated and developed over many years. Some organisations provide services for a specific group of children who have a particular kind of disability, or they only operate in one part of the country. This means that there is considerable variation in children's access to services within regions and across the country.

  The Health Service Executive has recognised that the current system lacks equity and acknowledges that there is a need to increase the level of consistency and standardisation in the way both early intervention services and services for school-aged children with disabilities are delivered. To this end it is currently engaged in a reconfiguration of existing therapy resources to geographic based teams for children (0-18 years) as part of the National Programme on Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People (0-18 years). This Programme aims to achieve a national unified approach to the delivery of disability services, so that there is a clear pathway for all children to the services they need regardless of where they live, what school they go to or the nature of their disability or developmental delay.

  The Programme is based on the recommendations of the Report of the National Reference Group on Multi-disciplinary Services for Children aged 5-18 Years.  Importantly, while the Programme supports the principle of providing access to mainstream education where appropriate, it also recognises the continuing role of special schools. It is worth noting that therapy services in the HSE Mid-West region are already delivered through the structure of geographically based multi-disciplinary teams and that this has enabled two Special Schools to access multi-disciplinary supports which had previously not been available. It is common across Europe and elsewhere to have children seen by their local early intervention and school age services whatever the nature of their disability or developmental delay, for example in Bavaria or in the UK.

  The Programme is being led by the HSE in partnership with the non-statutory disability organisations, the Department of Health, the Department of Education and Skills and associated agencies. It is supported by a National Co-ordinating Group which has representatives from the Department of Health, the Department of Education and Skills, the HSE, voluntary service providers and parents through their umbrella organisations. At regional level there are Regional Leads for the Programme in each of the four HSE Regions. Decisions regarding any local re-organisation of services are the responsibility of Local Implementation Groups. These include stakeholders such as representatives of the service providers involved, parents and the educational sector representatives.

  The active engagement of stakeholders is a critical element of any change process and implementation of the Programme will involve broad consultation. No individual or agency representative will have a veto in this regard. Information on the Programme has been made available widely through the HSE website, bulletins, workshops, and presentations. The National Advocacy Unit of the HSE has developed guidelines for the reimbursement of expenses for service users participating in the design, development and delivery of services. These guidelines apply to the participation of parents in the development of this Programme.

  Detailed local area action plans are being developed by the Local Implementation Groups with the following objectives:

 - One clear pathway to services for all children with disabilities according to need;

 - Resources used to the greatest benefit for all children and families;

 - Health and education working together to support children to achieve their potential.

  The Local Implementation Groups will make informed decisions on the optimum use of existing resources, based on local information about resources and the needs of children in their area. Children will get access to services within existing resources according to their needs regardless of where they go to school. It is the Local Implementation Groups that will decide how best to phase in the changes in accordance with local conditions. Significant progress has been made since the Programme was established in 2010. The HSE envisages that full implementation of the Programme nationally will take two to three years to complete.


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