Dáil Éireann - Volume 476 - 25 March, 1997
Written Answers. - Travelling Community.
Mr. E. Byrne Mr. E. Byrne
50. Mr. E. Byrne asked the Minister for Health the progress, if any, made in relation to implementing the health care recommendations of the report of the task force on the travelling community; the plans, if any, he has for the provision of mobile clinics to serve the travelling  community; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8077/97]
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East) Michael Noonan
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East): Since the publication of the report of the task force on the travelling community, the health boards have taken a number of initiatives in relation to travellers' health. These include the establishment of a pilot project by the Eastern Health Board in the training of travellers for jobs in primary health care, the appointment of an officer by the Western Health Board to co-ordinate health services for travellers and the setting up by the North-Eastern Health Board of a broadly based advisory committee on travellers' health.
Officials of my Department have, in consultation with the health boards, been working on a draft policy statement on travellers' health. The policy statement will set out a number of specific steps to be taken to increase the level of uptake of health services by the travelling community.
I propose to take steps in the immediate future to set up the traveller health advisory committee recommended by the task force. This will comprise officials of my Department, representatives of the health boards, travellers and representatives of traveller organisations. The first function of this committee will be to consider the draft policy statement. I expect to be in a position to publish this document within the next few months.
Following publication of the policy statement a traveller health unit as recommended by the task force will be established in each health board. This will bring together travellers, health service providers and other relevant statutory bodies, such as local authorities, in order to identify developments most likely to achieve greater takeup of health services by the travelling community. The question of mobile clinics will be considered in this context. Another crucial development which I will be pursuing will be the replication in all health boards of two pilot projects in the Eastern Health Board involving the training of travellers to participate in the delivery of health services.
Dáil Éireann 476 Written Answers. Travelling Community.