Committee Reports::Annual Report of the Joint Committee on Health and Children, 1997-1998::28 January, 1999::Appendix


Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children

Work Programme 1999


In accordance with Standing Order 79A(4) of the Standing Orders relative to Public Business of Dáil Éireann and Standing Order 63(4) of the Standing Orders relative to Public Business of Seanad Éireann the following details the Work Programme of the Oireachtas Committees on Health and Children agreed by the Joint Committee at its meeting on 28 January, 1999.

In view of the specific function of the Select Committee on Health and Children under the Orders of Reference and the resources and facilities available to the Joint Committee it is anticipated that the Joint Committee will be in a position to hold some 20 meetings in the course of 1999. It is hoped that the Joint Committee can incorporate some of the matters for consideration in with the consideration of Department of Health and Children’s Strategy Statement.

Orders of Reference of the Joint Committee on Health and Children.

Paragraph (2) (a) of the Order of Dáil Éireann of 13 November, 1997 and paragraph (1) (a) of the Order of Seanad Éireann of 19 November, 1997, empowers the Joint Committee to consider—

“(i)such public affairs administered by the Department of Health and Children as it may select, including bodies under the aegis of that Department in respect of Government policy,

(ii)such matters of policy for which the Minister in charge of that Department is officially responsible as it may select,

(iii)the strategy statement laid before each House of the Oireachtas by the Minister in charge of that Department pursuant to section 5(2) of the Public Service Management Act, 1997, and shall be authorised for the purposes of section 10 of that Act,

(iv)such Annual Reports or Annual Reports and Accounts, required by law and laid before either or both Houses of the Oireachtas, of bodies under the aegis of the Department(s) specified in paragraph 2(a)(i), and the overall operational results, statements of strategy and corporate plans of these bodies, as it may select.

Provided that the Joint Committee shall not, at any time, consider any matter relating to such a body which is, which has been, or which is, at that time, proposed to be considered by the Committee of Public Accounts pursuant to the Orders of Reference of that Committee and/or the Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Act, 1993

Provided further that the Joint Committee shall refrain from inquiring into in public session, or publishing confidential information regarding, any such matter if so requested either by the body or by the Minister in charge of that Department; and

(v)such other matters as may be jointly referred to it from time to time by both Houses of the Oireachtas,

and shall report thereon to both Houses of the Oireachtas.”.

Accordingly, the items listed in this Work Programme will be considered by the Joint Committee within the parameters defined by the Orders of Reference of the Joint Committee, as amended from time to time.

Order of Consideration of items and Amendment of Work Programme of Joint Committee on Health and Children.

The items listed for consideration in this Work Programme are not in any order of priority. The Joint Committee is of the opinion that to accord priority and agree a timetable for consideration of the various items would impose a rigid structure that would not enable the Joint Committee to respond to events that may or may not occur in the course of the year. As the Committee could not be required to anticipate all developments in the area of responsibility of the Department, it has agreed that, in response to a particular event, it shall, if it deems it necessary to do so, amend this Work Programme to include further items or delete or revise existing items for consideration. Any such amendment of this Work Programme shall be laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas as soon as may be following such amendment.

A.Joint Committee on Health and Children

Items for Consideration :


Agenda 2000, For a Stronger and Wider Union; the Policies of the Union and the Challenge of Enlargement (European Commission, 1997).

The Strategy Statement of the Department of the Health and Children pursuant to the Public Service Management Act, 1997.

(a)Policy with Minister / Minister of State

(b)Administration with Secretary General / Designated Officer

-Policies of Bodies under the aegis of the Department.

Food Safety

Government Policy on Food Safety in the light of recent food scares(CJD and e-Coli)

-May wish to consider the holding of a Joint meeting with the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine on this matter.

-Plans to establish a National Food Safety and Quality Authority.

Safety of Blood Products

Possibility of transmission of a new variant CJD from Blood products, Blood transfusion.

progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the Finlay Report.

Hospital Services

Hospital Waiting lists in particular for Cardiac Surgery and Hip Replacements.

Nursing Issues.

Cystic Fibrosis - proposals to establish a Heart / Lung Transplant facility in this country.

General Medical Service

The fragmentation of general practice and the isolation of general practioners.

Skills shortages in the Health Services

Treatment of Infectious Diseases

Hepatitis C.

Aids /HIV and other S.T.D.s.

Meningitis - increase in incidence(if any) and recent breakthrough in the treatment of one form of the disease.

Treatment of Addictions

Alcohol, drug and substance addiction.

Health services for the Elderly.

Update on demographic trends.

Home Help Service and update on progress of the Interdepartmental Working Group on review of the Carers Allowance - Possibility of a Joint meeting with the Committee on Family, Community and Social Affairs on this matter.

Health services for People with Disabilities.

Provision of residential day and respite services for those with a mental or physical disability.

Implementation of the recommendations of the Department’s assessment of need, 1997 to 2001 of service to persons with a mental handicap and intellectual disability.

Health issues for Men and Women

Update on the Plan for Women’s Health announced in April 1997.

-Possible extension of the availability of Cervical smear testing free of charge.

-Waiting period for the reporting of cervical smear results.

-Breast Cancer Screening Programme - progress to date on the implementation of the programme.

Report of the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme Review Group published in April 1997 - update on progress.

Post Natal Depression - possiblity of provision of hospital facilities in maternity hospitals where hospitalisation is required rather than admission to psychiatric hospitals.

Prostate Cancer


Establishment of a National Cancer Screening Register.

Possible health dangers posed by use of mobile phones and the location of masts.

Preventative Health Measures

Health Promotion

Mental Health

Mental Health and the possible need for changes in this area as a result of recent court cases.

Evaluation of the Report of the Inspector of Mental Hospitals



Health services for children

Adoption by Irish residents of children in China

-Establishment of a Voluntary Contact Register for adult adoptees to contact both natural parents.

Abuse of Children - 1987 guidelines on procedures for the identification, investigation and management of child abuse.

Residential Child Care in Ireland - implementation of the provisions in Child Care Act 1991.

Implementation of those provisions in Part VII of the Child Care Act 1991 relating to the regulations governing safety and health standards in pre school services.

Review of the provisions in Part II of the Child Care Act 1991 in relation to Family Support Services.

Funding for the Diagnosis and the support services available to sufferers of Attention Deficit Disorder

Implementation of the UN Charter on the Rights of the Child

B.Such other matters as may be referred by both Houses.

C.Such other matters under the Orders of Reference of the Joint Committee as it may decide.

D.Subject to Standing Order 78 A of the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann relative to Public Business and Standing Order 62A of the Standing Orders of Seanad Éireann relative to Public Business, the Committee may decide to undertake Travel as necessary in the context of a matter under consideration.

E.Dáil Select Committee on Health and Children

Consideration of:-

-Bills referred to the Committee by Dáil Éireann

-Estimates for Public Services within the aegis of the Department of Health and Children.