Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Venue: Room 29, Parliament Buildings

The meeting commenced at 2.04 p.m. in closed session.

1. Apologies

Apologies noted above.

2. Chair’s Business

The Committee noted a letter from the Minister to the Chair of the Public Account Committee.

The Chair advised Members that she had held a meeting with the Minister on suicide and self-harm and the Committee agreed to write to all departments for an update on the actions they are taking to address suicide and self-harm.

The Committee noted a record of the informal meeting with the Royal College of Nurses held on 26 March 2012.

The Committee noted an invitation to an osteoporosis event.

2.08 p.m. Mr Mark H Durkan joined the meeting.

2.11 p.m. The meeting was declared open to the public.

3. Draft minutes of the meeting on Wednesday 14th March 2012

The minutes of the Committee meeting on Wednesday 14th March 2012 were agreed.

4. Statutory Rule. SR2012/91. The Sunbeds (Information) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

The Committee considered SR2012/91 The Sunbeds (Information) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and had no objection to the Rule subject to the report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules.

5. Statutory Rule. SR2012/93. The Sunbeds (Fixed Penalty) (General) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

The Committee considered SR2012/93 The Sunbeds (Fixed Penalty) (General) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and had no objection to the Rule subject to the report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules.

6. Statutory Rule. SR2012/111. The Recovery of Health Services Charges (Amounts) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

The Committee considered SR2012/111 The Recovery of Health Services Charges (Amounts) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and had no objection to the Rule subject to the report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules.

7. Evidence session on the Health and Social Care Review

The Committee took evidence from:

Mr Edwin Poots MLA - Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety

Dr Andrew McCormick - Permanent Secretary, DHSSPS

Mr John Compton - Chief Executive, Health and Social Care Board

2.16 p.m. Mr Sam Gardiner joined the meeting.

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

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

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

3.40 p.m. Mr Mark H Durkan and Mr Gordon Dunne left the meeting.

8. Evidence session on the Health and Social Care Review with the Allied Health Professions Federation NI

The Committee took evidence from:

Mrs Liz Cavan - Chair, AHP Federation NI

Ms Alison McCullough              Policy Officer, Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists NI

Mr Tom Sullivan                         Policy Officer, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy NI

Mrs Janet Fletcher                      National Officer, Society and College of Radiographers NI

Ms Kerry Clarke                         Vice Chair, Society of Chiropody and Podiatry NI

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

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

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

3.53 p.m. Ms Pam Brown rejoined the meeting.

3.56 p.m. Mr Mark H Durkan rejoined the meeting.

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

The Committee agreed to forward the briefing provided by the AHP Federation NI to the Department for its views on the issues raised.

4.40 p.m. The meeting was adjourned.

4.53 p.m. The meeting resumed.

9. Evidence session on Safeguarding Board Northern Ireland Regulations

The Committee took evidence from:

Mr Hugh Connor                       Chair (Designate), Safeguarding Board NI

Ms Eilis McDaniel                     Child Care Branch, DHSSPS

Ms Patricia Nicholl                    Social Services Officer, DHSSPS

Ms Isobell Riddell                     Child Care Branch, DHSSPS

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

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

5.08 p.m. Mr John McCallister rejoined the meeting.

5.09 p.m. Mr Sam Gardiner and Mr John McCallister left the meeting.

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

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

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

10. Statutory Rule. SR2012/130. The Food Hygiene (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

The Committee considered SR2012/130 The Food Hygiene (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and had no objection to the Rule subject to the report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules.

11. Proposed Statutory Rule – The Mental Health (Private Hospital) Regulations 2012.

The Committee agreed to defer consideration of the Mental Health (Private Hospital) Regulations 2012 until the next Committee meeting.

12. Proposed Statutory Rule – The Food Safety (Sampling & Qualifications) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

The Committee considered The Food Safety (Sampling & Qualifications) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and agreed that it was content for the Food Standards Agency to prepare the rule.

13. Proposed Statutory Rule – The Healthcare (Reimbursement of the Cost of EEA Services etc.) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

The Committee considered The Healthcare (Reimbursement of the Cost of EEA Services etc.) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and agreed that it was content for the Department to prepare the rule.

14. Proposed Statutory Rule – The Fuel Payments Scheme (Patients Receiving Treatment for Cancer) (Northern Ireland) 2012.

The Committee considered SR2012/141 The Fuel Payments Scheme (Patients Receiving Treatment for Cancer) (Northern Ireland) 2012 and had no objection to the Rule subject to the report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules.

The Committee agreed to write to the Department to seek assurances on the process of GPs issuing letters to eligible patients.

15. Report of the Committee meeting with the Joint Committee for Health and Children

The Committee noted the official report of the meeting with the Joint Committee for Health and Children held in Dublin on 1 March 2012.

16. Matters arising

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding reasons why the Department did not bid for funding for anti TNF drugs in the January monitoring round and agreed to schedule a briefing with departmental officials on the PEDU report.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding electromagnetic radiation.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the number of GPs who offer the osteoporosis fracture service and agreed to write to the Department to ask for further information on the GP surgeries who do not offer the service.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding concerns in relation to social worker caseloads and agreed to copy the response to Mr Maguire who raised the issue with the Committee.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister about the use of 0844 numbers by GPs and agreed to write to the Royal College of GPs and the BMA GP Committee for their views on the matter and to ask what actions they are taking to encourage practices to stop using 0844 numbers.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the costs associated with the Judicial Reviews on Community Pharmacy.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding community pharmacy and agreed to forward the response to Community Pharmacy NI to ask for their comments.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister in relation to the recommendations of the previous Committee’s inquiry into Suicide and Self Harm. 

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding waiting times for ophthalmic appointments and agreed to write to the Department to ask if Trusts are fined if they do not meet targets.

The Committee noted a letter from the Minister providing information on cooperation with DEL on apprentice schemes.

The Committee noted a letter from the Minister advising that an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill 2011 in Westminster has been withdrawn.

The Committee noted a copy of a letter from the Department to Envirogen Ireland.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding an update on the inquiry into the hyponatraemia related deaths.

The Committee noted a response from the Belfast Trust in relation to proposals to change the Mater Hospital to a stand-alone midwifery unit.

The Committee noted a response from Group B Strep Support relating to correspondence from Dr Fogarty and the Minister.

The Committee noted a briefing paper from Assembly Research on Malnutrition in the Community.

17. Correspondence

The Committee noted a letter from the Minister regarding the Commissioning Plan Direction and agreed to seek an update from the Department on the performance indicators every quarter.

The Committee noted a letter from the Department inviting members to attend the NICS Live event on 24 April 2012.

The Committee noted the DHSSPS ISNI report for March 2012.

The Committee noted a letter from the Public Health Agency and agreed to sponsor an early years event.

The Committee noted correspondence from the OFMDFM Committee about the redistribution of the responsibilities of the Department of Employment and Learning.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Finance and Personnel Committee in relation to an Assembly Research briefing called ‘Linking Budgets to outcomes: international experience’.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Social Development Committee regarding minimum unit pricing for alcohol.

The Committee noted a letter from Mr Gerry Bond about hospital hygiene and agreed to write to the Department for an update and advise Mr Bond accordingly.

The Committee noted a letter from the Reminiscence Network and agreed to invite them to an informal meeting.

The Committee noted an email sent to the Chair regarding Accident and Emergency at the Royal Hospital.

The Committee noted a copy of a letter from the Cardiac Patients’ Forum to the Minister about waiting times in A&E units.

The Committee noted a letter from Ms Jackson about HSC Trusts.

The Committee noted a letter from Down District Council supporting the introduction of an opt out system for organ donation.

The Committee noted an email from Mr Houston regarding a Committee evidence session on 14 March 2012.

The Committee noted an email from Mr Blair about acute services in the Causeway Hospital.

The Committee noted correspondence from the BDA and agreed to invite the BDA and Department to give evidence to the Committee about proposed changes to dental services.

The Committee noted an email from Ms Harris regarding late payments by the HSC Trusts. The Committee agreed to consider the Minister’s recent correspondence on this issue at its next meeting.

The Committee noted correspondence from Lady Hermon MP about a constituency issue and agreed to respond to Lady Hermon advising that it does not become involved in individual cases.

The Committee noted an invitation for an event for European Immunisation week on 2 May 2012.

18. Any Other Business

The Committee agreed to write to the Department to ask for more information on whether there would be an underspend at the end of 2011/2012.

Members discussed a possible visit to the Ulster Hospital and agreed to include it on the Forward Work Programme for future visits.

19. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next Committee meeting will be on Wednesday 18th April 2012 at 2.00pm in room 29, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 6.03 p.m.

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