Dáil debates

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Topical Issues Debate

Speech and Language Therapy

5:15 pm

Photo of Alex WhiteAlex White (Dublin South, Labour) | Oireachtas source

I cannot disagree with anything the Deputy has said in respect of the need for care and support in the community. She is right that I have been and remain an advocate of that approach to our health care services, frankly because I do not think there is any possibility of our ever being able to fund and manage these health services in the future, to say nothing about the immediate need the Deputy has spoken about. If we look at the management and future of health care services, we will not be able to manage the funding of those services in acute settings, not to mention the appropriateness of how and where people are treated and cared for.

One of the things I have done since I took up my position was to ensure that recruitment processes were under way and that appointments were made to 265 primary care posts across the board, including public health care nurses, registered general nurses and speech and language therapists. Regrettably, there is not a speech and language therapy post for Waterford among those 265 positions, because the allocation and distribution of those posts was based on bringing each integrated service area where staffing was below the national average up towards the national average. Those areas where staffing was already above the national average did not receive additional posts as part of that process.

I ask the Deputy to accept that it is an earnest of my commitment to the kinds of issue she has raised that we must look to enhance and expand primary care and care in the community, particularly in regard to the ancillary supports that people need so badly.


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