Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (480, 630)

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

480. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health if the ethnic identifier will be implemented across all health and mental health services and collection points and within strategy monitors and research strata; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44418/19]

View answer

Mary Butler

Question:

630. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health his plans to implement the universal ethnic identifier across all health and mental health services and collection points and within strategy monitors and research strata; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45003/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 480 and 630 together.

The ethnic identifier is a code to identify ethnic and minority groups when recording information on a death certificate. This identifier would enable the Central Statistics Office to identify ethnic and minority groups, including Travellers, when collating statistics, including those in relation to deaths due to suicide and could be utilised in the statistics produced by the Central Statistics Office.

The requirements for the registration of particulars of a death are set down on the Civil Registration Acts 2004 and 2019.

Section 41 of the 2004 Act, as amended, states that a coroner must furnish a certificate containing particulars of death to a registrar. These particulars include name and place of birth of deceased,country of citizenship. However, there is no current requirement to enter particulars in regard to ethnicity.

The Department of Justice and Equality published the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy 2017–2021 in June 2017. This Inclusion Strategy is a cross-Departmental initiative to improve the lives of the Traveller and Roma communities in Ireland.

One of the key initiatives from the Strategy's themes and objectives is the introduction of a new system of ethnic identifiers to be developed across the public sector to help track progress and/or challenges for the Traveller and Roma communities in Ireland.

The Department of Justice and Equality chair a cross-Departmental working group, with involvement from Traveller and Roma representatives, with a view to developing a methodology for the introduction of an ethnic identifier on all data sets to facilitate the monitoring of access, participation and outcomes to services for Travellers and Roma.

The Integration Data Mapping Study commissioned by the working group has now been completed by the ESRI. Many of the findings and recommendations, while focused on integration of migrants, are relevant to the Strategy's commitment. The report was published in March and is available on the ESRI website. The Integration Data working group has yet to meet again and it is hoped to reconvene the Ethnic Identifier subgroup next year.

When the methodology has been progressed, the HSE and other relevant bodies, in consultation with Traveller organisations and other stakeholders, will work towards a phased, incremental implementation of the standardised ethnic identifier across all health administrative systems to monitor access, participation and outcomes of all groups, including Travellers and Roma, and to inform the development of evidenced-based policies and services.

As part of this wider health initiative, the HSE will review the access and barriers to primary and secondary mental health services for Travellers and Roma, in the context of the implementation of the ethnic identifier, and in partnership with Traveller and Roma service users, carers and families in order to develop and implement appropriate steps to ensure greater inclusion and continued use of these services by Travellers and Roma.