Wednesday, 20 October 2004

Questions (104)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

204 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that patients are frequently required to send their blood and urine samples to laboratories via the postal service; her views on whether this is a satisfactory method of transporting bodily fluids in view of the safety risk and the possibility of loss, damage or interference with the sample; if steps will be taken to end this practice; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25682/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

EU Directive 94/55/EEC brought into legislation by SI 492/2001, the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Regulations 2001, sets out an agreement on the international carriage of dangerous goods by road. Samples, which have no inherent infection danger and are appropriately packaged, may at present be sent by post. Other samples, which carry a danger of infection, should conform to the requirements of the directive and be appropriately transported.

Health board officials have raised the issue of the collection and transport of blood and other samples from general medical service scheme doctors' practice premises with my Department, and the implications of introducing an appropriate collection system is being evaluated by the health boards.