Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Ceisteanna (343)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

343. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health the number of cases ongoing against the State Claims Agency in relation to the swine flu vaccine; if the approach taken by the State in dealing with these claims will be reviewed in view of the recent outcome of the test case in the High Court; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52665/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The State Claims Agency (SCA) has a statutory remit to manage personal injury claims, including claims in respect of clinical negligence, on behalf of Delegated State Authorities (DSA’s) including the Health Service Executive. The management of the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine cases is delegated to the State Claims Agency which negotiated settlement of the lead case at a mediation. 

I have been informed by the State Claims Agency that there are 122 active claims currently being managed by the State Claims Agency in relation to the H1N1 Vaccine.  This information was extracted from the National Incident Management Framework (NIMS) and is correct as of 30/11/2019.

An Expert Group was established in June of last year, under Judge Meenan, to examine the law in relation to personal injuries arising in the healthcare context and to explore alternative mechanisms by which claims could be managed more effectively, particularly from the perspective of the person on whose behalf a claim has been made. A report from this Expert Group is expected in the coming weeks, the recommendations of which will be taken into account in relation to the development of any vaccine compensation scheme.

In addition, the Health Research Board recently completed a review of the evidence on vaccine injury redress programmes in other jurisdictions and this report will also be considered in conjunction with the Expert Group’s recommendation.  

Since 2012, the Department of Health, the HSE, and the Department of Education and Skills, and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection have worked together to provide a wide range of services and supports for those affected.  

The HSE’s Advocacy Unit acts as liaison with service and support providers and other Government Departments to facilitate access to required services.  It has also engaged with representatives of SOUND (Sufferers of Unique Narcolepsy Disorder).  Four regional narcolepsy co-ordinators have been appointed as single points of contact to assist patients and their families by providing advice, information and access to local services.

The ex-gratia health supports include: 

- clinical care pathways to ensure access to diagnosis and treatment;

- multi-disciplinary assessments led by clinical experts;

- counselling services for both the individuals and their families;

- discretionary medical cards for those who have been diagnosed;

- physiotherapy and occupational therapy assessments.