Written Answers - Health Service Staff.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 640 No. 1

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  187.  Deputy Richard Bruton  Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton   asked the Minister for Health and Children  Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney   if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the proposed recruitment of two psychologists for a service (details supplied) in County Dublin has been blocked by the Health Service Executive ban on recruitment; if alternative arrangements will be made to proceed with this recruitment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24701/07]

Minister of State at the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Jimmy Devins): Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  The current recruitment pause is a temporary measure initiated as part of the Health Service Executive financial break-even plan. It will be reviewed at the end of October 2007. Of course, in any instance where a critical or essential vacancy arises it may be filled through redeployment of existing staff by the Line Manager or re-assignment of responsibilities based on assessment of priority need.

Notwithstanding this, it has been recognised that there are some circumstances where appointment of staff may be necessary in frontline services. Accordingly, a process has been put in place to evaluate, monitor and approve requests for derogation from the general recruitment pause. A small group has been established including a representative of the National Hospitals Office, PCCC and other Directorates and this group will meet weekly to consider such applications.

As the Deputy may be aware, an additional sum of €75m for revenue purposes was provided by the Health Service Executive for Disability Services in the 2007 Budget. This sum incorporates the 2007 element of the Government’s multi-[251]annual investment programme for the National Disability Strategy. This Strategy is committed to enhancing the level and range of multi-disciplinary support services to adults and children with an intellectual, physical and sensory disability and those with autism.

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. Accordingly, 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.

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