Written answers

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Covid-19 Pandemic

Photo of Gary GannonGary Gannon (Dublin Central, Social Democrats)
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110. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of teachers and school staff who requested an assessment review by a service (details supplied) who have completed a review and have been categorised into a higher risk category. [37375/20]

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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My Department has an enhanced Occupational Health Service (OHS) in place to provide employers with occupational health advice in relation to employees’ fitness for work.  Medmark, the current OHS provider has a process in place for school staff with health concerns about their risk of serious illness from contracting COVID-19, through workplace attendance.

A detailed on-line questionnaire is submitted by the employee to Medmark, along with detailed medical evidence to provide clarity with respect to the medical complaint(s) in question.  All of this information is reviewed by the OHS specialist occupational health physician, including the combined and cumulative risk that can arise when an employee suffers from more than one health condition.   The risk categorisation is comprehensive and follows the same process that is being applied across other sectors.  An employee is categorised into one of three COVID-19 risk categories.  These are general population risk, higher risk, and very high risk. The outcome of the risk categorisation is governed by the HSE guidance. 

Where an employee considers the OHS ‘COVID-19 Health Risk Categorisation Report’ places him/her in an incorrect risk category, a review can be requested by the employee where Medmark will re-evaluate the medical evidence provided. The employee may provide additional medical evidence as part of the review process. 

As at 15 November, a total of 388 reviews have been completed by Medmark.  Of these, 54 employees were re-categorised from the High Risk category to the Very High Risk category and 7 employees were re-categorised from the Very High Risk category to the High Risk category. 

Due to a recent change to HSE guidelines in relation to persons who are on immunosuppressant therapy, High Risk category employees who believed their Covid-19 risk category may be affected by the guideline change were invited on 6 November to submit a new Covid-19 Health Risk Questionnaire to Medmark.  As at 15 November, Medmark has completed a review of 32 newly submitted Health Risk Questionnaires and of these 7 employees were re-categorised to the Very High Risk category.

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