Written Answers - Medicinal Products.

Tuesday, 21 February 2006

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 615 No. 14

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  190.  Dr. Twomey  Information on Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children,  Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney   further to Question No. 201 of 31 January 2006, if she will confirm that the recommendations referred to in this question are Government policy; and if the Health Service Executive has been instructed to implement same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6314/06]

Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children (Ms Harney): Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The Deputy’s question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004.

The report to which the Deputy’s question refers was prepared by the benzodiazepine committee at the behest of the then Minister for Health and Children and published in 2002. The committee was comprised of representatives from the Department, former health boards and relevant professional bodies and was chaired by the then assistant chief executive officer of the East Coast Area Health Board, now the HSE eastern area.

The report, which was undertaken under action 41 of the National Drugs Strategy 2001-2008, contains 24 recommendations which are addressed to the Department, the Health Service Executive, the General Medical Services (Payments) Board, general practitioners and other professional bodies and fall to be considered for action by the body to which the action is addressed.

One of the key recommendations of this report was the dissemination of good practice guidelines to clinicians on the prescribing of benzodiazepines. These guidelines have been circulated widely to the Health Service Executive areas and to general practitioners throughout the country. In addition, arrangements have been put in place by Health Service Executive drug treatment clinics and general practitioners to reduce sources of [221]multi-prescribing to known drug users. The Department is also considering what legislative changes are appropriate in light of the UN convention.

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