Written Answers. - Speech and Language Therapists.

M. J. Nolan

Question:

172 Mr. Nolan asked the Minister for Health the progress, if any, that has been made by his Department and the association of speech therapists regarding their application for parity with other sections in the health service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16149/96]

Noel Ahern

Question:

216 Mr. N. Ahern asked the Minister for Health the current position regarding the salary claim from language and speech therapists; the number of staff involved; the annual cost to settle this claim; his views on the established linkage with social welfare; and if he will make a statement on the claim and the negotiations taking place. [16495/96]

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn

Question:

218 Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn asked the Minister for Health if his Department has concluded the examination of the European Court of Justice ruling in relation to comparable rates of pay for speech and language therapists with other graduate health professionals in the United Kingdom; if so, his views on this examination; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16497/96]

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn

Question:

219 Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn asked the Minister for Health whether a pay claim submitted by IMPACT on behalf of speech and language therapists is currently being processed under Clause 2(3) A Annex 1 of the Programme for Competitiveness and Work; the discussions, if any, that have taken place to date in this regard; when management will conclude a mutually acceptable outcome in this respect; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16498/96]

Limerick East): I propose to take Questions Nos. 172, 216, 218 and 219 together.

As the Deputies are aware, the talks between my Department and IMPACT on behalf of speech and language therapists are complex. However, direct negotiations are ongoing, under the auspices of the Health Service Employers Agency, with a view to arriving at a mutually satisfactory conclusion as soon as possible.

The whole time equivalent for the combined grades of speech and language therapist, according to my Department's 1995 census, is 248.89. There is no established linkage between the profession of speech and langauge therapists and social welfare.

The European Court of Justice ruling referred to by Deputy Maire Geoghegan-Quinn is a particularly complex case which has yet to be finalised and implemented in the UK. However, my Department is monitoring developments in this matter and I am satisfied that the ruling has no implications for the pay claim currently being pursued by IMPACT on behalf of the profession. In these circumstances, any further comment on my part would not be appropriate or helpful.