Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Questions (274)

Richard Bruton

Question:

403 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children if he has set out for health boards target waiting times for the delivery of support services in the context of his strategy on alcohol; the waiting times he has set out for such support services and in particular the target waiting time for access to addiction counselling for persons in recovery from alcoholism; if he has received reports from the Eastern Regional Health Authority as to whether they are currently achieving the waiting time standards set; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3043/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health and Children)

National policy on the treatment of alcohol abuse, as set out in Planning for the Future, stipulates that the emphasis in the management of alcohol related problems should be on community based intervention rather than on specialist in-patient treatment. Health boards already provide and continue to develop a range of comprehensive community based support services appropriate to the needs of persons affected and afflicted by alcohol abuse. These services include family support and community, medical and social services in the management of the problem. Health boards are also considering ways in which services provided by voluntary and/or private facilities might integrate with the health boards' services. A number of the boards have made local arrangements to enable access to specialist in-patient treatment in the small number of cases where the need arises.

Responsibility for the provision of the services referred to by the Deputy rests with the Eastern Regional Health Authority. My Department has, therefore, asked the regional chief executive to investigate the matter raised by the Deputy and to reply to him directly.