Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Venue: The Senate Chamber

The meeting commenced at 2.06 p.m. in public session.

1. Apologies

As above.

2. Chair’s Business

The Committee noted a letter from the Society of Parents and Friends of Muckamore Abbey regarding funding for the Bridge Association and agreed to forward the letter to the Northern Health & Social Care Trust and reply to the Society suggesting they engage directly with the Northern Trust with the assistance of their local MLAs.

2.08 p.m. Mr Jim Wells joined the meeting.

2.10 p.m. Mr Mickey Brady joined the meeting.

The Chairperson advised members that she had met with the First and deputy First Ministers regarding suicide prevention and the Protect Life Strategy.  The Committee agreed to write to the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister to request an update following the next Ministerial Sub-Group meeting on the matter.  

The Committee noted that members were briefed by the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust regarding the Information Commissioner’s judgement on the Belvoir Park Hospital records and accompanying fine. Members noted that the fine goes to a Consolidated Public Fund and agreed to write to the Department to seek clarification on whether the Executive can access money from this Fund.

The Committee agreed to write to the Minister for further information regarding his decision to maintain the ban on men who have sex with men donating blood. The Committee agreed to consider taking evidence on this matter following receipt of this information.

The Committee noted information from Assembly Research regarding funding for mental health groups and agreed to write to the Department for further information.

The Committee agreed to delegate authority to the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson to submit views on Freedom of Information requests on behalf of the Committee over the summer recess.

3. Forward Work Programme

The Committee agreed not to hold a meeting on Wednesday 27th June 2012 and to reschedule an evidence session on health inequalities to Wednesday 4th July.

The Committee agreed to write to the Department requesting a written brief on performance indicators.

4. Draft minutes of the meeting on Wednesday 6th June 2012

The minutes of the Committee meetings on Wednesday 6th June 2012 were agreed.

5. Assembly Research briefing on waiting times

The Committee was briefed on outpatient, inpatient and diagnostic waiting times by the Assembly Research & Library Service.

The Committee agreed to hold an evidence session on this issue at a later date.

2.23 p.m. Mr John McCallister joined the meeting.

2.31 p.m. Mr Kieran McCarthy joined the meeting.

6. Evidence session on the work of the Accident & Emergency Improvement Action Group

The Committee noted an Assembly Research and Library Service paper entitled “Supplementary departmental data on emergency care”.

The Committee noted information provided on A&E services by the BMA, the RCN, the Trade Union Office, UNISON and Save the Mid.

The Committee took evidence from:

Ms Catherine Daly, Deputy Secretary, Healthcare Policy Group

Ms Margaret Rose McNaughton, Assistant Secretary, Secondary Care Directorate

Mr John Compton, Chief Executive, Health & Social Care Board          

Ms Mary Hinds, Public Health Agency

A question and answer session ensued. The witnesses agreed to provide the Committee with additional information.

2.56 p.m. Ms Paula Bradley joined the meeting.

3.29 p.m. Mr Jim Wells left the meeting.

3.40 p.m. Mr Jim Wells rejoined the meeting.

3.43 p.m. Mr Kieran McCarthy left the meeting.

3.46 p.m. Mr Kieran McCarthy rejoined the meeting.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for attending.            

7. Statutory Rule. SR 2012/229. The Foster Placement (Children) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012

The Committee considered SR 2012/229 The Foster Placement (Children) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012 and had no objection to the Rule subject to the report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules.

8. Proposed Statutory Rule. The Optical Charges and Payments (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012

The Committee considered the Optical Charges and Payments (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012 and agreed that it was content for the Department to prepare the rule.

9. Proposed Statutory Rule. The Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (Appointments and Procedure) Regulations (NI) 2012

The Committee considered the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (Appointments and Procedure) Regulations (NI) 2012 and agreed that it was content for the Department to prepare the rule.

10. Proposed Statutory Rule. The Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (Statutory Committee, Scrutiny Committee and Advisers) Regulations (NI) 2012

The Committee considered the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (Statutory Committee, Scrutiny Committee and Advisers) Regulations (NI) 2012 and agreed that it was content for the Department to prepare the rule.

11. Proposed Statutory Rule. The Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (Fitness to Practise and Disqualification) Regulations (NI) 2012

The Committee considered the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (Fitness to Practise and Disqualification) Regulations (NI) 2012and agreed that it was content for the Department to prepare the rule.

12. Proposed Statutory Rule. The Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (Continuing Professional Development) Regulations (NI) 2012

The Committee considered the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (Continuing Professional Development) Regulations (NI) 2012 and agreed that it was content for the Department to prepare the rule.

13. Proposed Statutory Instrument. The Human Medicines Regulations 2012

The Committee noted a letter from the Belfast Health Initiative regarding homeopathic medicines.

The Committee took evidence from:

Mr Seamus Camplisson - Health Protection Branch

4.00 p.m. Mr Gordon Dunne left the meeting.

4.06 p.m. Mr John McCallister left the meeting.

4.07 p.m. Mr Gordon Dunne rejoined the meeting.

The Department agreed to write to the Belfast Health Initiative in relation to the impact of the Statutory Instrument on homeopathic medicines and to copy the Committee into that correspondence.

4.09 p.m. Ms Sue Ramsey left the meeting.

4.09 p.m. Mr Jim Wells took the Chair.

4.09 p.m. Ms Michelle Gildernew left the meeting.

4.09 p.m. Mr Mickey Brady left the meeting.

14. Matters arising

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding Community Meals.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding services for adults abused as children and agreed to copy this to NAPAC.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and agreed to copy this to Action Duchenne.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the membership of the Transforming Your Care expert panel.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the Health Service Teeth Cleaning Policy.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the lead Allied Health Professions post and agreed to copy this to the Allied Health Professions Federation.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the New Women and Children's Hospital.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding Owenvale Nursing Home.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the Paediatric Cardiac Service at the Royal Victoria Hospital and agreed to copy this to Mr O’Neill who raised this matter.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the RQIA review of the reporting arrangements for radiological investigations.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the cost of cancelled hospital appointments.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding new indicators for Osteoporosis in the Quality and Outcomes Framework.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister to the Committee for Education regarding the use of threshold in the SEN assessment process.

The Committee noted a response from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister regarding Historical Institutional Abuse.

The Committee noted a response from the Department for Social Development regarding the Protect Life Strategy.

The Committee noted a response from the Department of Education regarding the Protect Life Strategy.

The Committee noted a response from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure regarding the Protect Life Strategy.

The Committee noted a response from the Children's Law Centre to evidence given by departmental officials on the Mental Capacity Bill.

The Committee noted a Research and Information Service Briefing Paper on child protection and crimes against children.

The Committee agreed to discuss again at its next meeting the Information Commissioner’s judgement on the Belvoir Park Hospital records and accompanying fine.

15. Correspondence

The Committee noted a letter from the Minister regarding Transforming Your Care.

The Committee noted a letter from the Minister regarding Minimum Kinship Care Standards for Northern Ireland.

The Committee noted a letter from Ms Dickson regarding Holywell Hospital, Antrim.

The Committee noted a letter from the Minister regarding a consultation on the Draft Generic Standards for Service Frameworks.

The Committee noted a letter from the Minister regarding a consultation on proposals for new arrangements for pre-registration pharmacy training.

The Committee noted a letter from the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust regarding a consultation on the reorganisation of Adult Rheumatology and Dermatology Services.

The Committee noted a letter from the Committee for the Environment regarding the Business in the Community Workplace 2020 Campaign.

The Committee noted a letter from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment regarding the Sustainable Energy Action Plan.

The Committee noted a letter from the Public Accounts Committee regarding correspondence from the Save the Mid campaign.

The Committee noted a letter from the Save the Mid campaign regarding the Antrim Hospital Review Report.

The Committee noted a letter from the Save the Mid campaign the Causeway Hospital.

The Committee noted a letter from the Save the Mid campaign regarding doctors hired by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

The Committee noted correspondence from Mr Barry McElduff MLA regarding access to drugs for cancer patients and agreed to respond to Mr McElduff stating that it has commissioned research on this matter.

The Committee noted an invitation to attend the launch of an Action on Hearing Loss public advertising campaign on 4th July 2012.

The Committee noted a letter from the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

The Committee noted a letter from the VOYPIC seeking a meeting with it and agreed to invite the organisation to an informal meeting.

The Committee noted a letter from Ofcom Northern Ireland regarding the motion on the use of 0844 numbers by GP surgeries.

The committee noted a letter from Mr Hickson on the use of 0844 numbers by GP surgeries.

The Committee noted a letter from the Office of Fair Trading regarding its market study on dentistry.

The Committee noted a letter from the UK Councils against Fluoridation.

The Committee noted a briefing paper from Barnardo's Northern Ireland on community schools.

The Committee noted a letter from Down Community Care.

The Committee noted a letter from the Big Lottery Fund.

The Committee noted a letter from the Mr Dermod Ryder regarding the Children's Homes (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012 and agreed to advise Mr Ryder that it approved the Regulations on 16 May 2012.

16. Report on informal Committee meeting of 24th May 2012

The Committee agreed to write to the Department, the Public Health Agency and the HSC Board regarding the issues raised by Allergy NI.

The Committee agreed to write to the HSC Board regarding the issues raised by the Good Morning NI Network.

The Committee agreed to write to the Department regarding the issues raised by the NI Association of Social Workers.

The Committee agreed to write to the Department regarding the issues raised by the Patient Client Council.

17. Any Other Business

The Committee agreed to write to the Department for an update on screening for Group B Streptococcus.

The Committee agreed to write to the Department regarding funding for the relocation of the Summerton Road hospice.

The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request a redacted copy of the Serious Adverse Incident relating to a death in the Royal Hospital and for details of number of Serious Adverse Incidents at the Royal Hospital A&E since January 2009.  

The Committee agreed to write to the Department regarding funding for plastic surgery services at the Ulster Hospital.

The Committee agreed to write to the Department regarding bariatric surgery services.

18. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next Committee meeting will be on Wednesday 4th July 2012 at 2.00pm in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.27 p.m.

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