Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 04 July 2012

Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings

The meeting commenced at 2.03 p.m. in public session.

1. Apologies

As above.

2. Chair’s Business

The Committee noted a Monetary Penalty Notice issued by the Information Commissioner to the Belfast Trust regarding the storage of files at Belvoir Park Hospital.

The Committee noted a letter from the Speaker regarding a petition presented to the Assembly on the Suicide Prevention and Awareness Project in Poleglass and agreed to host an event on 10 September to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.

The Committee noted that the Finance Minister announced the outcome of June monitoring on Tuesday 26th June 2012 and agreed to write to the Department for details of the funding awarded to it.

The Committee noted the 17,000 back-log of unreported x-rays at the Royal  Hospital and agreed to write to the Department for an update on this.

The Committee agreed to write to the Department for an update on the pharmacy contract negotiations.

The Committee agreed to write to the Department regarding the business plan and funding for Safefood.

3. Draft minutes of the meeting on Wednesday 20th June 2012

The minutes of the Committee meeting on Wednesday 20th June 2012 were agreed.

4. Statutory Rule. The draft Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display of Prices) Regulations (NI) 2012.

The Committee considered the draft Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display of Prices) Regulations (NI) 2012 and recommended that the Statutory Rule is approved by the Assembly.

5. Statutory Rule. SR 2012/244 - The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Specialist Tobacconists) Regulations (NI) 2012.

The Committee considered SR 2012/244, the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Specialist Tobacconists) Regulations (NI) 2012 and had no objection to the Rule subject to the report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules.

6. Statutory Rule. SR 2012/246 - The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display) Regulations (NI) 2012.

The Committee considered SR 2012/246, the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display) Regulations (NI) 2012 and had no objection to the Rule subject to the report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules.

7. NICE guidance in Northern Ireland.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Minister and AstraZeneca regarding the implementation & monitoring of NICE guidance and agreed to write to the Department for information on the availability of treatments in Northern Ireland.

8. Matters arising

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding Programme for Government 2012-15 Delivery Plans and agreed to take evidence from officials on this issue at a later date.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding June Monitoring and Forecast Outturn for 2011/12.

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

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the cost of cancelled hospital appointments and agreed to take evidence on this matter.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the Mental Capacity Bill and agreed to consider options for the Bill following summer recess.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding fluoridation of water and agreed to write to the Department for further information.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding suicide prevention.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the treatment of people in care homes.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding recommendations in the Rutler and Hinds reports.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding psychiatric facilities at the Ulster Hospital.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the Condition Management Programme.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the Patient and Client Council helpline.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding private nursing homes.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the Commissioning Plan, respite for carers and HPV testing.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding a Serious Adverse Incident report.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding funding for mental health groups.

The Committee noted a letter from the Minister regarding the Human Medicines Regulations 2012.

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

9. Evidence session with the Minister for Health, Social Services & Public Safety on Transforming Your Care

The Committee took evidence from:

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

Dr Andrew McCormick - Permanent Secretary, DHSSPS

Mr John Compton - Chief Executive, HSC Board

A question and answer session ensued.

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

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

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

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

10. Assembly Research briefing on Clinical Excellence Awards.

The Committee agreed to defer a briefing on Clinical Excellence Awards to a future meeting.

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

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

3.39 p.m. Meeting adjourned.

3.47 p.m. Meeting resumed.

11. Options Paper on Budget Scrutiny.

The Committee considered an options paper and agreed to carry out a review of budget scrutiny.

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

12. Evidence session on Health Inequalities.

The Committee took evidence from:

Dr Michael McBride - Chief Medical Officer, DHSSPS

Dr Eddie Rooney - Chief Executive, Public Health Agency

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

A question and answer session ensued.

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

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

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

5.06 p.m. Ms Paula Bradley left the meeting.

5.13 p.m. Ms Paula Bradley rejoined the meeting.

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

The Committee agreed to undertake a short review to identify effective interventions to address health inequalities in other regions/countries with the aim of contributing to the development of the Department’s new Strategy for Public Health – Fit and Well.

13. Correspondence

The Committee noted correspondence from the Minister regarding a consultation on the future delivery of GP Out of Hours Services.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Minister regarding a proposed Amendment to the Health and Social Care Reform Act Northern Ireland.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Minister regarding a consultation on a New Strategic Framework for Public Health.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Minister regarding the Welfare and Protection of Adult Victims of Human Trafficking.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Minister regarding proposals to introduce Independent Prescribing for Physiotherapists and Podiatrists.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Minister regarding draft Guidance for the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Minister, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, the Consulate of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Mr. Raymond Doherty regarding blood donation.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Minister regarding a Strategy for Maternity Care in Northern Ireland.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister regarding the European Union Drug Strategy.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister regarding Equality Impact Assessments.

The Committee noted correspondence from Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding European Union Funding.

The Committee noted correspondence from Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding Departmental Savings Delivery Plans.

The Committee noted correspondence from Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding Main Estimates.

The Committee agreed to forward a letter from the Committee for Education regarding access to inhalers in schools to the Department and seek its views on the amtter.

The Committee agreed to forward a letter from Committee for Education regarding Special Educational Needs provision to the Department.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Patient and Client Council regarding Transforming Your Care.

The Committee noted correspondence from Mr Bovaird.

The Committee noted correspondence from Save the Mid regarding Antrim Area Hospital and agreed to write back to them to thank them for the briefing provided.

The Committee noted a briefing paper from RCN on Local and Regional Pay in the NHS.

The Committee noted correspondence from HIV Support Centre seeking a meeting and agreed to invite the organization to an informal meeting.

The Committee noted correspondence from out of hours social work co-ordinators regarding proposals for a new Out of Hours Social Work Service and agreed to write to the Department to seek a summary of the consultation responses.

The Committee agreed to accept an invitation from Northern Ireland Hospice to visit Somerton Road Adult Hospice. The Committee alsoagreed to visit the Children’s Hospice at a later date.

The Committee agreed to sponsor an event to mark World Social Work Day.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Minister regarding proposals to re-introduce a charge for HSC prescriptions.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Minister regarding Human Tissue and Human Embryology and Fertilisation Authorities.

The Committee agreed to support a proposal from the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding the Assembly's contribution to the budget process.

The Committee noted correspondence from Age NI regarding a request for a committee inquiry into social care as a preventative tool.

The Committee noted correspondence from Deloitte regarding Primary Care.

The Committee noted correspondence from Belfast Healthy Cities seeking a meeting and agreed to invite the organization to an informal meeting.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Patient and Client Council regarding its Care at Home Document.

The Committee noted the Annual Report and Accounts for the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence.

14. Any Other Business.

The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request that the Health & Social Care Board’s review of cardiac catheterisation requirements is completed in a timely manner.

15. Date, time and place of next meeting.

The next Committee meeting will be on Wednesday 12th September 2012 at 2.00pm in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 5.31 p.m.

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