Tuesday, 11 June 2019
Department of Health
Health Services Funding
690. To ask the Minister for Health the level of resources provided to the national safeguarding office of the HSE and for each of the community healthcare organisations' safeguarding and protection teams for the years 2015 to 2019. [24211/19]
691. To ask the Minister for Health if he will consider the need for additional resources for HSE safeguarding teams in view of the results of a recent national survey which showed that one in ten persons was aware of the abuse of a vulnerable adult in the past 12 months. [24212/19]
692. To ask the Minister for Health if an organisation (details supplied) will be involved in the safeguarding policy development group established by his Department; and when it is planned to establish a group for all of Government. [24213/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 394 and 690 to 692, inclusive, together.
The safety and protection of vulnerable people is a key objective of Government and society. I have long since recognised the need for clear policy in this area, particularly with regard to the sector over which I have responsibility. This is why I sought Government approval in December 2017 to the development of an adult safeguarding policy for the health sector, together with underpinning legislation as required. This will be the first such overarching policy for the health sector. My Department's ongoing work in this area addresses the Government's Decision to approve this proposal. An overarching sectoral policy of this nature is a complex undertaking, not least because the health sectoral policy will cover the public, voluntary and private sector and will include cooperation, collaboration, information-sharing and referral arrangements between the health and social care sector and other relevant sectors.
My Department has established an inter-agency steering group to assist with the development of the health sector adult safeguarding policy. This group contains representation from relevant public sector bodies and a citizen representative. A number of representatives on the inter-agency steering group are also represent their organisations on Safeguarding Ireland (SI) - for example, five of SI's member organisations and two of its individual members overlap with the membership of the steering group.
Comprehensive stakeholder consultation, including with Safeguarding Ireland, has been and will be a feature of my Department’s development of a national health sectoral policy on adult safeguarding. A major stakeholder consultation event is planned for Autumn and a public consultation is planned in relation to a draft policy. As a key stakeholder, Safeguarding Ireland will be invited to participate in both of these consultation processes.
It is recognised that adult safeguarding is a matter for every sector, including the health and social care sector. I am not aware of specific plans that other Departments may have in relation to their sectoral responsibilities in this area, nor am I aware of any plans to establish an all of Government group. As noted, my Department's focus is on delivering a comprehensive health sector policy and, subsequently, any required legislation to underpin it.
The level of funding available to my Department and the quantum of services to be provided by the HSE, including in relation to its adult safeguarding functions, will be considered as part of the normal Estimates and budgetary process and the national service planning process. As an operational matter, I am referring the PQ to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy in relation to the specific resources allocated within the HSE to its National Safeguarding Office and each of its Safeguarding and Protection Teams for the years 2015 to 2019.
I understand that funding support is provided to Safeguarding Ireland from the HSE’s allocation from the Health Vote. As an additional support, the HSE provides a secretariat service to Safeguarding Ireland. I do not have details on the support provided by other Departments or Agencies to Safeguarding Ireland, I am therefore referring the PQ to the HSE for direct reply to Deputy, as the HSE in providing secretariat support to Safeguarding Ireland can provide details in relation to the level and source of resources provided to Safeguarding Ireland.