We were due to have four sessions of this committee today. Three sessions would have involved hearing from NPHET, the HSE and the Minister for Health.
Despite the fact that we got the clár, the Oireachtas schedule for the week last Friday, we were notified yesterday, 24 hours in advance of this meeting, that neither NPHET, the HSE nor the Minister would be before the committee today. That is unacceptable. The reason given is that they are preparing the winter plan. The winter plan has to be more than a winter plan anyway, but I do not think that taking them away for a couple of hours would have prevented them from completing the plan. It is bad form that they are not here.
We have not had any debate in the Oireachtas yet on the Government's plan that was announced last week. There has been no scrutiny whatsoever. Regulations have been introduced by the Minister for Health that have not been scrutinised. In fact, we are not even getting notification before they go up on the website. That is unacceptable. I know that efforts have been made to reschedule the meetings for next week and some in government asked what difference it would make. That is the same as saying that the Dáil should not sit for one week and sure we will do it next week. We deserve to be treated with respect. The Minister and the HSE should be here today.
I put the HSE on notice that there is anecdotal evidence coming to Deputies from all parties about a delay in the roll-out of the flu vaccine. I do not know the reason for that. I am not even sure if that is the case or what the actual delay involves, but people have been told that by pharmacists and GPs and we need to get the facts.