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Defence Forces

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 27 July 2021

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Questions (891)

John Brady

Question:

891. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Defence the measures in place to provide for the healthcare of members of the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39969/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

A wide range of medical services are provided to members of the Permanent Defence Force. These include:

an annual medical examination,

sick parades,

attendance at GP surgery outside of sick parade and out-of-hours GP services,

prescription services,

laboratory services,

physiotherapy,

chiropody,

radiology,

ophthalmic examinations,

clinical mental health services provided by an in-house psychiatrist and two in-house psychologists,

in-patient and outpatient public hospital charges,

routine dental treatment, and

the provision of overseas medical services, including global comprehensive medical insurance in the case of Defence Forces personnel (including dependents) assigned to longer term overseas administrative posts.

Commissioned Officers and members of the Army Nursing Service may also avail of private consultant appointments and diagnostic tests, and private/semi-private hospital treatment dependent on rank. The Programme for Government contains a committment to "ensure that all enlisted members of the Defence Forces have the same access to health care as officers currently do". A Working Group has been established with a view to bringing forward proposals on this matter during 2021.

In addition, the Defence Forces Personnel Support Services (PSS) provide a welfare, information, psycho-social support and referral service, that is professional, responsive and confidential, to serving members of the Defence Forces and their families to sustain and enhance the individual wellbeing of personnel, and to promote a safe and positive work culture in order to support the effectiveness of the Defence Forces.

As additional support, the Department of Defence has arranged the provision of a confidential counselling, referral and support service, on a wide range of personal and work related issues, for serving members of the Defence Forces, civilian employees and Civil Defence members. A Freephone confidential helpline is available on a 24/7 basis 365 days a year and is staffed by fully-trained and experienced counsellors.

The Chaplaincy Service also provides confidential, comprehensive pastoral support and spiritual care to personnel at home and overseas.

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