Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Ceisteanna (406)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

406. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health his plans to ensure the retention of medical cards for Traveller health workers in view of the importance of Traveller community health workers in improving traveller health; if the retention of Traveller health workers will be ensured by increasing the funding to primary health care projects and by linking their payscales to the relevant HSE payscale taking into account the experience of these workers; if progression routes for Traveller health workers into mainstream employment will be identified including full-time employment; if redundancy and pension payments will be ensured for Traveller health workers in line with the rest of the HSE; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47515/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Traveller community health workers are employed to provide primary health care to members of the Traveller Community. The projects are supported by the HSE via Section 39 funding

The HSE grant-aids a range of service providers under section 39 of the Health Act 2004. Employees of agencies that receive grant-aid from the HSE under Section 39 are not public servants and are not specifically subject to the pay-scales approved for public servants. These employees have a private sector employment relationship with their employer.

The HSE does not have a role in determining the salaries or other terms and conditions applying to these staff. It is a matter for Section 39 organisations to negotiate salaries with their staff as part of their employment relationship and within the overall funding available for the delivery of agreed services.

In accordance with the provisions of the Health Act 1970 (as amended), eligibility for a medical card is determined by the HSE. Eligibility for health services is based primarily on residency and means. The HSE is obliged under the Act to undertake periodic reviews of eligibility in order to ensure that a person continues to meet the qualifying criteria required to continue holding eligibility. Where a medical card is due to expire, these cards are reviewed and a renewal notice is sent out to the medical card holder three months in advance of the expiry date. It is important to note that the person under review maintains eligibility for the card while the review is being conducted, including any period where additional information is requested.