Seanad debates

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

7:00 am

Photo of John MoloneyJohn Moloney (Minister of State, Department of Education and Science; Minister of State, Department of Health and Children; Minister of State, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; Minister of State, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)

I am pleased to take the opportunity to outline the position on the matter raised by the Senator.

I have been advised by the HSE that the requirement to provide access to comprehensive and integrated rehabilitation services for the population of HSE south has been acknowledged for some time. Development proposals were drawn up by both the former Southern Health Board and the South Eastern Health Board in line with the needs of the area.

In the former Southern Health Board area development proposals for an acute unit on the site of St. Mary's Orthopaedic Hospital were developed in 2000. Following on from this, a strategy document was drawn up which was submitted to the Department of Health and Children in 2003. The document entitled, Development of Rehabilitation Services in Cork & Kerry - Our Vision for the Future, addressed the totality of need across hospitals and communities. In the former South Eastern Health Board during the same period a document entitled, Pathways to Independence, was developed which mapped out the future direction of services for the south east. Both documents were submitted to the Department in the context of the development by it and the HSE of an overall policy and strategy for the development of neuro-rehabilitation services.

The HSE and the Department have established a national working group to draw up the policy and strategy for neuro-rehabilitation services. Rehabilitation in this context includes neurological and physical rehabilitation, including for trauma and acquired brain injury. It will also include rehabilitation for older people, including stroke services. The working group is chaired by Mr. James O'Grady, the disability adviser in the office for disability andmental health in the Department, and comprises representatives of the key stakeholders, including the HSE. It has concluded its assignment and is engaging with the HSE on an implementation plan. The report will be submitted to the Secretary General of the Department and the chief executive officer of the HSE in the coming weeks for their determination.

The HSE has been requested to nominate a lead clinician and a lead senior service manager with a view to implementing the action plan for neuro-rehabilitation services. It is in the process of nominating these individuals.

The HSE south is well positioned to engage with this process, having regard to the development plans and needs analysis previously prepared. Discussions have been taking place at hospital network level and across the local health offices to ensure the needs and development proposals under discussion can inform the deliberations of the working group.

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