Tuesday, 17 September 2019
Department of Health
Health Services Provision
386. To ask the Minister for Health the way in which he plans to introduce free contraception as recommended by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution; if models in other countries are being reviewed to ensure that choice is maintained; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37226/19]
387. To ask the Minister for Health if general practitioners have been consulted regarding the model that is being considered and the process that is being selected on the way in which free contraception is introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37227/19]
388. To ask the Minister for Health if an organisation (details supplied) is on the group that he set up to discuss free contraception becoming available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37228/19]
389. To ask the Minister for Health if training of health personnel will be included in the free contraception scheme once it is introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37229/19]
390. To ask the Minister for Health the way in which he is ensuring that the free contraception regime that he plans to introduce will protect the human rights principles of non-discrimination and informed decision making for all women on their contraception of choice including the most recent up-to-date options; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37230/19]
391. To ask the Minister for Health if the free contraception scheme he plans to introduce will be limited to the oral contraceptive pill and condoms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37231/19]
392. To ask the Minister for Health the way in which general practitioners and pharmacists will co-operate professionally when the new contraception scheme is introduced; if pharmacists will have the powers to prescribe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37232/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 386 to 392, inclusive, together.
A Working Group was established in April 2019 to consider the range of policy, regulatory and legislative issues arising in relation to improving access to contraception. The Group was established as an internal Working Group and consists of officials from relevant policy areas within the Department of Health.
The Group is working to the following Terms of Reference:
-To conduct a rapid review of national and international literature on contraception and associated issues;
- To specifically examine the extent to which cost is a barrier to accessing reliable methods of contraception in Ireland and to consider whether there are other factors influencing access to contraception that could be addressed;
- To examine mechanisms to address any access issues identified, including financial, legislative, regulatory and contractual issues, as well as any other relevant matters;
- To consult with relevant stakeholders; and
- To make recommendations to the Minister on the optimal policy options and next steps.
These ToR have enabled the Group to consider the different issues raised by the Deputy, including considerations about the cost and efficacy of different contraceptive methods; the importance of informed decision-making; international comparators; and the potential role of and training requirements for healthcare professionals.
Apublic consultation exercise was conducted in July-August, and meetings have been held with various stakeholders, including the Irish Family Planning Association.A meeting with the Irish College of General Practitioners has also been scheduled.
The Group is continuing its deliberations and intends to report to the Minister shortly.