Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Venue: Room 29, Parliament Buildings

The meeting commenced at 2.02 p.m. in public session.

1. Apologies

Apologies as above.

2. Chair’s Business

The Chairperson reminded members that the Committee would be taking evidence from Dr Erio Ziglio, Head of the World Health Organization European Office on Health Inequalities on Thursday 25th October 2012.

The Committee agreed to have its photograph taken to mark World AIDS Day before its meeting on Wednesday 28 November 2012.

The Committee agreed to write to the Department requesting an update on proposals for new builds within the health estate.

The Committee noted that the NI Audit Office has issued a report on the safety of services provided by health and social care Trusts and that the Public Accounts Committee would be taking evidence on this.

The Committee noted that it was awaiting a response from the Department on the regulation of the Marie Stopes clinic and guidelines on the termination of pregnancy.

E Coli outbreak

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding an E Coli outbreak.

The Committee took evidence from:

Dr Liz Mitchell - Deputy Chief Medical Officer

Dr Carolyn Harper - Director of Public Health, Public Health Agency

Mr Damien Connolly - Environmental Health, Belfast City Council

Ms Maria Jennings - Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland

Ms Sue Ramsey made a declaration of interest that a relative had been affected by the outbreak.

Mr Gordon Dunne made a declaration of interest that he was a member of North Down Borough Council Council.

A question and answer session ensued.

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

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

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for attending. The Committee agreed to invite officials on the outcome of the investigation into the outbreak once complete.

3. Draft minutes of the meeting on Wednesday 17th October 2012

The minutes of the Committee meeting on Wednesday 17th October 2012 were agreed.

4. Evidence session on the proposed Registration of Tobacco Retailers Bill.

The Committee took evidence from:

Dr Liz Mitchell - Deputy Chief Medical Officer

Mr Gerard Collins - Principal, Health Improvement Policy Branch

Ms Jenny McAlarney - Deputy Principal, Health Improvement Policy Branch

A question and answer session ensued.

Mr Kieran McCarthy made a declaration of interest that he was a member of Ards Borough Council Council.

Mr Gordon Dunne made a declaration of interest that he was a member of North Down Borough Council Council.

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

3.30 p.m. Mr Conall McDevitt left the meeting.

The witnesses agreed to provide the Committee with additional information. The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for attending.

3.32 p.m. Ms Maeve McLaughlin left the meeting.

5. Evidence session with Departmental officials on the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service.

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

The Committee noted a letter from Mrs Ford regarding the Fire and Rescue Service and agreed to defer consideration of this until its next meeting.

3.34 p.m. Mr Conall McDevitt rejoined the meeting.

The Committee took evidence from:

Ms Julie Thompson - Deputy Secretary, Resources and Performance Management Group

Mr Noel McCann - Director of Corporate Services

Ms Lynne Curran - Public Safety Unit

A question and answer session ensued.

The Committee agreed to request legal advice regarding the Department’s decision to redact reports.

The witnesses agreed to provide the Committee with further information.

4.49 p.m. Ms Pam Brown left the meeting.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for attending.

4.54 p.m. meeting adjourned.

5.05 p.m. meeting resumed.

6. Evidence session with the Chief Executive & Chief Fire Officer on the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service.

The Committee took evidence from:

Mr Jim Wallace - Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service

Mr Chris Kerr - Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service

A question and answer session ensued. The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for attending.

The Committee agreed that the Committee Clerk would produce an options paper on possible approaches to scrutiny of the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service.

6.18 p.m. Mr Roy Beggs left the meeting.

7. Forward Work Programme.

The Committee noted its Forward Work Programme.

8. Matters arising.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding osteoporosis and agreed to forward this to the Osteoporosis Society.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding Rural Health Service Provision.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding waiting times for appointments with specialties and agreed to write to the Department for  information on cancelled appointments.

9. Correspondence.

The Committee noted a letter from the Minister providing an update on the implementation of the recommendations of the Independent Review of Incidents of Pseudomonas and agreed to write to the Department for further information.

The Committee noted a letter from the Department regarding a Commencement Order in relation to tobacco advertising and promotion legislation.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister regarding the Ministerial Sub Group meeting on the Prevention of Suicide and Self-Harm.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding Financial Forecasting.

The Committee noted correspondence from the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust regarding Ravara House Elderly Persons' Home.

The Committee noted the Northern Ireland Social Care Council’s Annual Report and Accounts.

The Committee noted a letter about the cross-border availability of oxygen for patients when on holiday and agreed to forward the letter to the Department seeking its views on the matter.

The Committee noted an invitation from WJ Law & Co to visit Ballantine Garden Village Retirement Cottage and agreed to respond stating that it was unable to accept the invitation at this time.

The Committee noted a letter from Imtac regarding barriers in the pedestrian environment.

The Committee noted a letter from the Department advising that the Minister is a co-signatory to a Statutory Instrument to amend the Medicines (Products for Human Use) (Fees) Regulations 2012.

The Committee agreed to forward letters from the Regional Development Committee regarding its inquiry into bus transport options to the Department and Health & Social Care Trusts.

10. Any other Business.

No other business was discussed.

11. Date, time and place of next meeting.

The next Committee meeting will be on Thursday 25th October 2012 at 10.30am in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 6.25 p.m.

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