Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Ceisteanna (202, 203)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

206 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the national positive aging strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23316/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

207 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health the steps he is taking to ensure that the country is prepared for the increase in the number of older persons in the country’s demographics in future years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23317/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 206 and 207 together.

In recognition that the population of Ireland is projected to age rapidly within a relatively short time, the Programme for Government has committed to completing and implementing the National Positive Aging so that older people are recognised, supported and enabled to live independent full lives. Traditionally, policy relating to older people has tended to deal almost exclusively with health and personal social services.

It is acknowledged that a wide range of policies, programmes and services impact directly on the lives of older people and a cross departmental group comprised of officials from 11 Government Departments, the Central Statistics Office and An Garda Síochána, and chaired by the Director of the Office for Older People was established in 2008 to oversee the development of the Strategy.

In keeping with the commitment to develop the Strategy in conjunction with the recognised voluntary groups, an NGO Liaison Group comprising representatives of twelve national level non-governmental organisations with an interest in older people's issues was established in 2009 under an independent Chair.

An internal Department of Health group with representatives of all relevant service areas and the HSE has also been established.

The Strategy will set the strategic direction for future policies, programmes and services for older people in Ireland. It will set out a common framework for the development of operational plans by a number of Government Departments which will clearly set out each Department's objectives relating to older people. Mechanisms designed to monitor the implementation of measures contained in operational plans will also be included in the Strategy. However, I do not envisage that the Strategy will propose new service developments. Rather it will set the strategic direction for future policies, programmes and services for older people in Ireland.

A considerable amount of preparatory work has already been completed. The drafting of the Strategy will proceed within the Department within the constraints of available staff and other priorities. At this stage I envisage the Strategy will be completed and published as soon as possible within these constraints.