I propose to take Questions Nos. 1582 to 1584, inclusive, together.
As these are service matters and the data is collated by the HSE, the questions have been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to Deputy Stephen Donnelly. This reply was taken as a composite with 33453/19 and 33454/19.
The prevention and control of healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) has been a significant patient safety and public health priority for the Department of Health for numerous years. A wide range of initiatives has been put in place in the Irish health system over several years including improved surveillance of infections and prescribing, infection prevention and control processes, antimicrobial stewardship initiatives, public and professional awareness raising and with a significant emphasis on the education and training of healthcare professionals.
Ireland's National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance 2017-2020 (known as iNAP) was launched on 25th October 2017. The Plan, jointly launched by the Minister Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and I, has been a cross-Departmental initiative, requiring a cross sectorial and whole of Government (‘One Health’) approach to addressing the world wide threat of AMR. iNAP aims to ensure the development and implementation of multifaceted interventions which will safeguard against inappropriate prescribing, dispensing and consumption of medicines, while simultaneously promoting rational use in patients and animals that are expected to benefit from treatment.
I activated the National Public Health Emergency Plan in October 2017 to address CPE in our health system. Together with the implementation of iNAP, we have had an enhanced response to HCAIs and AMR across the health system. The HSE have strengthened their national implementation governance structures, an Expert Group provides assurance that HSE CPE guidance and requirements are in line with international best practice and the HPSC are publishing a monthly national CPE surveillance report. Most recent published figures (to end May 2019) is attached for information. A number of new developments are being rolled out in both acute hospitals and community care settings, including increased capacity for infection prevention and control and the relevant laboratory services. The HSE National Clinical Team has also been expanded, including provision for two dedicated implementation leads, one each for acute hospitals and community services. In addition, there are a variety of initiatives to improve antimicrobial use and surveillance underway.
Since 2018, my Department has allocated €7 million (full year costs) for these new developments to address challenges presented by HCAIs and AMR, including CPE. The funding includes €2 million allocated in 2018 and a further €5 million for 2019.