Wednesday, 26 April 2006
Mary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
The function of regional health fora is clearly set out in section 42 of the Health Act 2004, which provides for the establishment of the fora to make representations to the Health Service Executive as they consider appropriate on the range and operation of health and personal social services provided within their functional areas. I understand the first meeting of the forum for the north east took place on 27 March 2006 and that a wide range of issues was discussed.
On the specific service referred to by the Deputy, I am advised there has been no change in the provision of paediatric services in the north east region in recent times. A paediatric transfer protocol was developed by a multidisciplinary regional group, established by the North Eastern Health Board in 2003, to establish clear, concise and workable guidelines for the assessment and management of all children under the age of 14 presenting at a non-paediatric facility in the north east. This protocol has been operational as a draft protocol since spring 2005 and was formally implemented on 10 April, with a review date of six months from that date.
In accordance with its terms of reference, it is open to the Dublin and north-east forum to make representations on this matter to the CEO of the Health Service Executive.