Written answers

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Department of Finance

Primary Medical Certificates

Photo of Jennifer Murnane O'ConnorJennifer Murnane O'Connor (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fianna Fail)
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208. To ask the Minister for Finance when the medical criteria for the primary medical certificate are expected to be updated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2642/23]

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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My predecessor Minister Donohoe committed to a comprehensive review of the Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme (DDS) as part of a broader review of mobility supports. In order to achieve this objective, Minister O’Gorman agreed in September 2021 that the DDS review should be incorporated into the work of the National Disability Inclusion Strategy (NDIS) Transport Working Group (TWG).

The NDIS TWG was tasked, under Action 104 of the NDIS, with reviewing all Government-funded transport and mobility supports for those with a disability and for making proposals for transport and mobility solutions for those with a disability.

The Working Group, under the Chairpersonship of Minister of State Anne Rabbitte, held a number of meetings across 2022. A draft final report was considered at its final meeting on 8th December. It is expected the final report will be published soon.

As part of its engagement in this process, the Department of Finance established an information-gathering Criteria Sub-group (CSG) at the start of 2022. Its membership comprised of former members of the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal (DDMBA) and Principal Medical Officers (PMOs) in the HSE. Its purpose was to capture their experiences, expertise and perspectives in relation to the practical operational and administrative challenges of the DDS, as well as to explore what alternative vehicular arrangements were available for those with mobility issues based on international experience. The CSG work led to the production of five papers and a technical annex, submitted to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in July 2022.

The main conclusion of the CSG is that the DDS needs to be replaced with a fit for purpose, needs-based vehicular adaptation scheme in line with best international practice.

This conclusion, together with design principles and parameters for the new scheme as based on international practice, were incorporated into a response to three questions posed in September 2022 to members of the NDIS Transport Working Group, in respect of proposals for enhanced, new and/or reconfigured supports to meet the transport and mobility needs for those with a disability. I hope my Department's views with respect to introducing a new vehicular adaptation scheme, will be incorporated into the Working Group's final report.

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