Written Answers. - Care of AIDS Victims.
Mr. B. O'Keeffe
Minister for Health
if he has satisfied himself regarding the arrangements put in place to care for AIDS victims in the Southern Health Board area.
Limerick East): As the Deputy will be aware, the provision of services for people with AIDS in the Southern Health Board area is a matter for the board in the first instance. The board adopted a comprehensive five year HIV/AIDS strategy in May, 1993. Under the strategy the following developments have occurred.
Two outreach workers have been appointed, one in collaboration with Gay Information Cork and one attached to Cork AIDS Alliance. In addition, the staff at the board's sexually transmissible diseases clinic play a major role in sexual health education, both at the clinic and at other venues in the Southern Health Board area. Staff placements and participation in specialised courses are used as a means of gaining practical experience in the care of HIV/AIDS patients. The board is also engaged in targeted programmes for second level schools and health professionals and informal outreach at third level and community group level is under way.
Information and education are available to general practice trainees. The development of programmes of education and training to assist individual general practice and primary health care teams in the context of HIV/AIDS is also being considered.
Clinical investigation and management of persons with HIV/AIDS is the responsibility of the physician to whom patients present. The majority of HIV/AIDS patients in the region requiring hospital treatment are referred to Cork University Hospital. Arrangements are made for access to specialised HIV/AIDS services in St. James's Hospital and Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, when required.
The STD clinic provides a specialised STD and HIV service with medical assessment, counselling and social support services. The medical service is provided by doctors who are trained in public health.
Domiciliary services are provided by area public health nurses and general practitioners. A twenty-four hour home nursing service is available, where medically indicated. Recently, a community liaison service was set up for the region. The provision of respite care and hospice care are under consideration.
A key recommendation of the board's AIDS strategy was the appointment of a consultant in infectious diseases. This appointment has been approved by my Department and Comhairle na nOspidéal and has been advertised recently.
I am satisfied that the Southern Health Board has arrangements in place to adequately meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS.