Dáil Éireann - Volume 620 - 31 May, 2006
Written Answers. - Irish Blood Transfusion Service.
Mr. Blaney Mr. Blaney
Mr. Blaney asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason for the nine year delay on implementation of an insurance scheme for persons infected with HIV or Hepatitis C through provision of contaminated blood  or blood products by the State; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21172/06]
Mr. Blaney Mr. Blaney
Mr. Blaney asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her views on whether the nine year delay on implementation of an insurance scheme is totally unacceptable and that any further delay will result in more persons dying in circumstances where inadequate or more likely no insurance cover is available for their families; and her further views on whether this situation must be rectified; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21173/06]
Ms Harney Ms Harney
Ms Harney: I propose to take Questions Nos. 62 and 63 together.
The insurance difficulties faced by persons infected with Hepatitis C and/or HIV through the administration of infected blood and blood products was one of a range of issues raised by their representative groups in the mid 1990s. The priority, at that time, was to put in place a fair and efficient Hepatitis C compensation scheme on a statutory basis. Attention then turned to the establishment of a Tribunal of Inquiry into the infection with HIV and Hepatitis C of persons with haemophilia (Lindsay Tribunal) and subsequently to the expansion of the compensation scheme to encompass persons infected with HIV.
When these matters had been dealt with, intensive consultations took place with the representative groups on the insurance issue. It was first necessary to establish the actual position regarding access to insurance by this cohort, and the potential mechanisms for addressing the difficulties being experienced. Following that, an in-depth examination of the preferred mechanism was necessary, and the parameters of the proposed scheme developed. No similar scheme was found to exist worldwide for any patient group, making the proposed scheme a unique and innovative response by the Government to the needs of persons infected with Hepatitis C and HIV.
The process of drafting the legislation to establish the insurance scheme is almost complete. As soon as I receive the final agreed text from my legal advisors, I will submit it to the Government for approval and will publish it as soon as approval is received. The legislation is included as a priority in the Government’s Legislative Programme for the current session and it is my firm intention that the enabling legislation will be enacted before the Summer recess.
Dáil Éireann 620 Written Answers. Irish Blood Transfusion Service.