Dáil Éireann - Volume 647 - 14 February, 2008

Written Answers. - Health Reports.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the report, Taking the first steps to a Healthier Fettercairn, launched in September 2007; and the actions she will take to address the many serious issues raised in the report. [5860/08]

  Deputy Mary Harney: I am conscious of the complex range of social and environmental circumstances which affect Fettercairn and a number of other disadvantaged urban areas around the country. The health services have a key role to play in working with communities and a range of other statutory and non-statutory interests to ensure a co-ordinated and integrated response in such areas.

I am also aware of the research study entitled “Taking the First Steps to a Healthier Fettercairn” which was launched in 2007. In this regard, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has indicated that it met with Fettercairn Community Project Team on 26th November 2007 to discuss and progress implementation of the report’s recommendations on health services. The HSE continues to liaise closely with the Project Team. The Primary Care Strategy aims to develop services in the community to give people direct access to integrated mutli-disciplinary teams of general practitioners, nurses, home helps, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and others.

It has been estimated that up to 95% of people’s health and social services needs can be properly met within a primary care setting and the establishment of new Primary Care Teams can contribute greatly to enhancing community based services. The HSE received additional funding of €40m over the period 2006 to 2008 for the establishment of some 200 primary care teams involving 600 front line professionals. The Programme for Government commits to ensuring that there is a primary care team serving every community, with particular reference to new and rapidly growing areas. The HSE has indicated that it intends to establish 3 Primary Care Teams in the West Tallaght area and that a needs assessment has been commenced to establish the precise needs of the area.

Under the Health Act 2004, the management and delivery of health and personal social services are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive. This includes operational responsibility for the selection and recruitment of general practitioners to provide services under the General Medical Services Scheme and also the selection of locations for Primary Care Teams. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to address these matters and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the possible health implications from dust and rock blasting as raised in the Taking the first steps to a Healthier Fettercairn report launched in September 2007; and if her Department has had contact with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government on the issue of dust emissions and its possible effect on local residents. [5861/08]

[421]   Deputy Mary Harney: These issues are for the relevant local authority to consider.