We are joined this afternoon by representative from the Department of Health, the HSE and the National Treatment Purchase Fund on the topic of non-Covid-19 healthcare disruption: impacts on waiting lists and screening.
From the Department of Health I welcome Mr. Greg Dempsey, deputy secretary general. From the HSE, I welcome Mr. Liam Woods, national director of acute operations; Mr Damien McCallion, national director emergency management and director general of Co-operation and Working Together, CAWT; Professor Ann O’Doherty, lead clinical director of BreastCheck; Ms Siobhán McArdle, head of operations, primary care and Mr. Eamonn Rogers, national clinical adviser in urology. From the National Treatment Purchase Fund I welcome Mr Liam Sloyan, CEO, and Mr John Horan, chairperson.
I wish to advise the witnesses that by virtue of section 17(2)(l) of the Defamation Act 2009, witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to this committee. If you are directed by the committee to cease giving evidence in relation to a particular matter and you continue to so do, you are entitled thereafter only to a qualified privilege in respect of your evidence. You are directed that only evidence connected with the subject matter of these proceedings is to be given and you are asked to respect the parliamentary practice to the effect that, where possible, you should not criticise nor make charges against any person or persons or entity, by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable.
I invite Mr. Dempsey to make his opening statement and ask that he please confine them to five minutes to allow time for questions and answers.