Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (663)

Bernard J. Durkan


781 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the plans he has to expand, extend or improve school medical examinations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2223/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health and Children)

The best health for children programme provides for a new core surveillance programme for all children in the 0-12 age group and covers both pre-school developmental examinations as well as the school health service. Underpinning the recommendations in the report is a model which embraces a more holistic child health promotion approach and emphasises the role of parents in achieving best health for their children. Additional funding in excess of €2 million was allocated to the health boards and the Eastern Regional Health Authority in 2001 and 2002 to facilitate the implementation of the recommendations set out in the best health for children report. This funding has been used to appoint key individuals at regional level to drive the implementation process at board level as well as to establish pilot projects aimed at demonstrating best practice.

One of the key recommendations in the best health for children report is the need to provide appropriate training for public health doctors and public health nurses involved in delivering the child health surveillance programme, including the school health service. Additional funding of €700,000, allocated to health boards and the ERHA in 2003 for this purpose, has been used to appoint relevant training personnel and to develop, in conjunction with TCD, a training programme for those involved in the delivery of the core surveillance programme. The training programme was launched on 13 January 2004. It is intended that all those involved in child health surveillance will have received the necessary training by the end of 2005.

Furthermore, with a view to facilitating a co-ordinated and integrated approach to the delivery of a range of child health and child care projects, the health boards executive has established a programme of action for children and appointed an interim steering group to oversee its work. This new initiative will encompass a number of child related measures, including projects associated with best health for children.

Question No. 782 answered with QuestionNo. 197.