Tuesday, 4 December 2018
Department of Health
Health Services Provision
324. To ask the Minister for Health the discussions he has had with the Minister for Justice and Equality or the Reception and Integration Agency regarding the need for healthcare resources and supports in County Donegal for proposed direct provision centres to be located there; his plans to ensure the health needs of the residents will be met; the additional health services which will be made available to support residents and local communities in which such facilities are planned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50199/18]
The Reception & Integration Agency in the Department of Justice and Equality is responsible for the provision of accommodation for protection applicants while they await a decision on their claim for international protection. Accommodation is offered to applicants while their protection claim is being processed. Services for persons seeking protection (those in RIA provided accommodation or those who live in the community) are delivered under the Government policies of direct provision and dispersal. The system means that State services are delivered directly to protection applicants through the relevant Government department or agency.
The Department of Health works closely with the HSE to identify measures to address the immediate health needs of persons seeking protection. The HSE provides access to medical services through the established GP and hospital systems. Protection applicants who are resident in RIA accommodation generally qualify for medical cards and are exempt from prescription fees.
I understand the HSE in Donegal has been notified by the Reception and Integration Agency about the opening of the direct provision centre and is examining how best to meet the health needs of the residents when they arrive.