Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Ceisteanna (623, 624, 625, 626, 627, 628, 629)

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

623. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health if he will provide an update on his Department's attitude to the Drogheda review and requests for transcripts by complaining attendees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6748/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

624. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the amount legal challenges are costing his Department and-or the Health Service Executive in respect of the High Court proceedings with the Information Commissioner and the Circuit Court proceedings with the Office of the Ombudsman in respect of the Drogheda review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6749/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

625. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the amount the legal challenge is costing his Department and-or the Health Service Executive in respect of last year's court decision that the transcripts of the attendees at the Drogheda review be handed over to the Ombudsman; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6750/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

626. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the projected full costs to his Department and-or the Health Service Executive of the decision to legally challenge and oppose the release of the transcripts of the complaining attendees to the Drogheda review. [6751/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

627. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health his reasons for opposing the provision of the transcripts of complaining attendees' evidence to the Drogheda review to the Ombudsman; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6752/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

628. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health if he will review his decision not to hold a public inquiry into the circumstances of sexual abuse inflicted on patients in the hospital dealt with in the Drogheda review. [6753/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

629. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health if in view of his acknowledgement in his recent reply to parliamentary questions that Dignity 4 Patients provides very valuable work, that he accepts that some of those hurt and distressed by the sexual abuse in the hospital covered by the Drogheda review prefer to avail of counselling facilities provided by Dignity for Patients; if he will make available the necessary funding to Dignity for Patients to manage, access and provide the counselling that the victims require. [6754/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 623 to 629, inclusive, together.

The High Court proceedings with the Information Commissioner and also the Circuit Court proceedings, initiated by the Office of the Ombudsman, are on-going and accordingly I am not in a position to make any further comment, as these matters are sub judice. The legal costs of the Department associated with these proceedings are borne by the Chief State Solicitor's Office vote. It is not possible to provide a reliable estimate of legal costs or projected full costs for all parties at this stage.

In relation to setting up an Inquiry, I have no plans to set up a further Inquiry on foot of the Drogheda Review. In October 2009, the then Minister for Health and Children announced the establishment of an independent non statutory review, the “Drogheda Review”. The purpose of this review was to advise on whether a further investigation into the procedures and practices at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda during the period 1964 to 1995 to protect patients from sexual abuse while undergoing treatment or care at the hospital and to deal with allegations of sexual abuse against a certain doctor, would be likely to provide additional information or insights, which would be of significant public benefit in helping to improve best practice guidelines and policies. This review was carried out by retired High Court Judge T.C. Smyth. Judge Smyth submitted his report to the Minister in September 2010. The report recommended that a further investigation should not be held and that, in order to avoid prejudicing any civil or criminal cases, the report should not be published. I am aware that such proceedings are underway. A short summary of the report was, however, prepared and supplied to the patient support groups in January 2011.

Ongoing funding for health services is a matter for the HSE and I understand that the funding amounts set out in the table were provided to Dignity 4 Patients over the past four years to support the very valuable work that they offer to those who have suffered sexual assault or inappropriate sexual behaviour in a medical setting.

Year

Funding

2010

€171,890 National Lottery Grant

2011

€4,000 National Lottery Grant

€69,000 National Lottery Grant

2012

€22,500 funding in two instalments

2013

€22,500 funding in two instalments

2014

€11,250 has been approved for payment and is currently being processed.

The HSE has also indicated to Dignity 4 Patients that it is not in a position to provide funding towards ongoing staffing costs and accordingly, the funding provided may not be used to establish a counselling service for alleged victims. Dignity 4 Patients clients may avail of the HSE's National Counselling Service and the HSE has put in place arrangements which will permit clients referred by Dignity 4 Patients to be fast-tracked into counselling as is the case for victims of institutional abuse. The HSE has also suggested to Dignity 4 Patients that they consider establishing synergies with other similar agencies, in order that their client group can continue to be supported.