Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (672)

Fergus O'Dowd


792 Mr. O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question No. 423 of 7 October 2003, the progress to date with the survivors of symphysiotomy. [2260/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health and Children)

As the Deputy is aware, I met the Survivors of Symphysiotomy group in October 2003. Arising from this meeting, it was agreed that a range of measures put forward by the Eastern Regional Health Authority and the health boards and designed to support the group would be put in place. The present position with regard to the implementation of these measures is as follows. Each health board-ERHA has appointed a liaison officer within the organisation to liaise with patients who have undergone symphysiotomy. The ERHA and the health boards have initiated steps to ascertain the number of symphysiotomies carried out in hospitals in their region. It may take some time to complete this process as procedures may have been carried out in maternity units or in hospitals that no longer exist.

An exercise is underway to profile patients to assist in formulating a needs assessment for each individual. The SOS group has agreed to contact its members in this regard. Arrangements are being finalised with regard to the provision of independent counselling services. An information leaflet has been prepared in consultation with SOS and this leaflet will issue to general practitioners and patients shortly. Arrangements are being made to provide independent clinical advice to patients who have undergone symphysiotomy. This has already been availed of by a number of members of SOS. Discussions have taken place with SOS regarding the setting up of an information line which will be staffed by appropriate health care personnel.

In addition, my Department is in discussion with the ERHA-health boards and the Department of Social and Family Affairs in relation to a range of eligibility issues in respect of the provision of services and assistance to the patients. The ERHA and the health boards will continue to liaise with the group on the implementation of the above measures.