Thursday, 21 May 2020
Covid-19 (Health): Statements
Ossian Smyth (Dún Laoghaire, Green Party)
When will we have our detailed road map for the reopening of medical services? We have a road map that specifies when social services and businesses will reopen. For example, we know that on 20 July people can go to the hairdresser's but we do not know when they can, for example, get a cervical check or breast check. The HSE website simply states:
Breast screening is paused until further notice. It will begin again when it is safe to do so.
In other words, there is no indication or prediction as to when that will happen. That is what people see. We are encouraging people to present to a hospital if they are sick. We are telling them that this is the time to go back, yet health professionals do not know when their services should be offered again. If the health professionals do not know, the patients will have even less of an idea when they should be there. It is therefore important that we provide clarity in the same way that clarity was provided to businesses.
For example, I have been contacted by several occupational therapists, including people who do a mixture of public and private occupational speech therapy for children. They are prepared now to reopen with appropriate precautions but they are unclear on where their services fit in to a reopening road map. I am looking for a road map to avoid uncertainty and anxiety for them and their patients. Can the Minister tell me for a start if he can map the reopening of the various detailed medical services onto the existing road map or if there is a plan to do that?