Dáil Éireann - Volume 639 - 10 October, 2007

Written Answers. - Court Proceedings.

Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of law suits her Department and the Health Service Executive are in receipt of regarding the failure to provide adequate and timely assessment of children with autism, cervical cancer screening, breast cancer screening and other such services; and [707] if she will make a statement on the matter. [23011/07]

  Deputy Mary Harney: My Department is a named Respondent/Defendant in approximately 70 ongoing High Court actions taken by parents of children with Autism seeking to obtain specific educational and health related support services for their children.

Neither my Department nor the National Cancer Screening Service has received notice of legal proceedings in relation to breast cancer screening or cervical cancer screening. I am committed to ensuring that the BreastCheck and Irish Cervical Screening Programmes are rolled out nationally as soon as possible. That is why I established a National Cancer Screening Service in January this year. This will maximise the expertise in both programmes, ensure improved efficiency and develop a single governance model for cancer screening. BreastCheck will commence roll-out later this month and the Irish Cervical Screening Programme will commence roll-out in January 2008.

As the Deputy may be aware, my Department does not have responsibility in relation to the provision of services to individuals. The Health Act 2004 provided for the creation of the Health Service Executive (HSE) which was established on 1 January 2005. Pursuant to the Act, the HSE has the responsibility to manage and deliver or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. This includes responsibility for all health related supports. Accordingly as the HSE is a separate legal entity, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.