Written answers

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Department of Health

Departmental Records

Malcolm Noonan (Carlow-Kilkenny, Green Party)
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355. To ask the Minister for Health if a risk assessment of families on the grounds of the families' likelihood to pursue legal action against the State was a determinant in the management of such files in view of the fact that his Department manages dossiers on autistic children and their families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17945/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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I take the allegations made in recent media reports extremely seriously. A team has been set up to establish the facts in respect of specific allegations made in the RTÉ Prime Time programme on 25th March 2021. The Department has engaged with the Data Protection Commissioner.

The allegations which were the subject of the RTÉ Prime Time programme on March 25th were brought to the Department's attention last year. The Department took the matters raised very seriously and commissioned an independent, expert review by an external Senior Counsel. This review was completed in November 2020. Subject to clarification of legal matters, I intend to publish this review at the earliest possible opportunity.

Malcolm Noonan (Carlow-Kilkenny, Green Party)
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356. To ask the Minister for Health if his Department manages dossiers on autistic adults or their representatives who are seeking appropriate autism specific services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17946/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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I take the allegations made in recent media reports extremely seriously. A team has been set up to establish the facts in respect of specific allegations made in the RTÉ Prime Time programme on 25th March 2021. The Department has engaged with the Data Protection Commissioner. The allegations which were the subject of the RTÉ Prime Time programme on March 25th were brought to the Department's attention last year. The Department took the matters raised very seriously and commissioned an independent, expert review by an external Senior Counsel. This review was completed in November 2020. Subject to clarification of legal matters, I intend to publish this review at the earliest possible opportunity.

Services for people with disabilities are generally delivered according to need rather than specific diagnosis. Adults with autism are likely to receive services from a range of different areas within the health services. Those services are provided by the HSE. The current Programme for Government contains a range of commitments around improving services for all people with disabilities, including those with Autism. In Budget 2020, the Minister for Health secured €2 million in funding for the further development of an Autism Plan, which includes a range of measures to improve Health services for people with Autism and their families. The funding secured means that a range of priorities can now be further developed and implemented.

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