Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 June 2005

9:00 pm

Photo of Seán PowerSeán Power (Minister of State, Department of Health and Children; Kildare South, Fianna Fail)

I thank Deputy Upton for raising this matter on the Adjournment. I am responding on behalf of my colleague, the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Deputy Harney. Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive has responsibility to manage and deliver or arrange to be delivered on its behalf health and personal social services. Service at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, are provided under an arrangement with the executive.

In regard to the specific issue raised by the Deputy, the Department is advised that the person concerned was referred to the occupational therapy service by one of the hospital's consultant paediatricians. The patient's family was offered occupational therapy for the child on an outpatient basis in September 2004 and treatment commenced the same month.

Following her assessment sessions, it was recommended and agreed that the child be referred for ongoing multidisciplinary intervention in the community. She was referred to the St. John of God services in Inchicore. The referral was sent by the hospital to St. John of God services in December 2004. In May 2005, St. John of God services notified the hospital that it was not in a position to meet this request but that if the consultant wished to refer the child for full-time day services, this could be examined. It is understood the matter was due for discussion at the St. John of God admissions committee meeting on 13 June.

Pending the outcome of the meeting, Our Lady's Hospital will request the relevant area medical officer to investigate an alternative community-based occupational therapy service to meet the child's needs. It is the opinion of the health care professionals at the hospital that her needs would best be met in a community based multidisciplinary occupational therapy service rather than in an acute setting.

The Department has asked the parliamentary affairs division of the health service executive to examine the issues involved in the hospital care and community care of this patient and to provide and up date to the Deputy at the earliest possible date. I take on board what Deputy Upton has said and appreciate the urgency of the matter. It is of no benefit to the child if this matter is left hanging. Action is necessary. I will make further inquiries in the coming days and will come back to the Deputy with further information.

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