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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 537, 766, 768 & 770 - Addiction treatment services [Gambling] [33738/17, 34222/17, 34224/17 & 34227/17].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 537, 766, 768 & 770 - Addiction treatment services [Gambling] [33738/17, 34222/17, 34224/17 & 34227/17]. (13 Jul 2017)

URL: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20a...


537. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health his plans to make provision for gambling addiction in the next HSE service plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33738/17]

766. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health the number of HSE funded beds there are allocated for gambling addiction as a primary addiction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34222/17]

768. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health if he has met with the private health insurance providers to discuss with them extending cover for gambling addiction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34224/17]

770. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health his plans to make provision for gambling addiction in the next HSE service plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34227/17]

 

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): I propose to take Questions Nos. 537, 766, 768 and 770 together.

 

People who present to the HSE for addiction treatment for gambling are offered the same range of interventions as those who present with a drug and alcohol addiction, or a mental health concern, including an initial assessment, a comprehensive assessment, and individual counselling. Counselling and rehabilitation services provide care to those presenting with a gambling addiction through one to one counselling, financial advice and onward referral to other services and supports where appropriate, such as Gamblers Anonymous.

 

The HSE provides funding to a number of voluntary sector providers who, in addition to treating drug and alcohol addictions, also treat gambling addiction. However, it is not possible to identify the number of HSE funded beds that are allocated specifically for the treatment of gambling addiction. According to the National Drug Treatment Reporting System, 208 cases were treated for gambling in Ireland in 2015, the latest year for which data is available. These addiction services are already covered in the HSE’s 2017 service plan as part of primary care.

 

I am informed by the Minister for Justice and Equality that his department will proceed with gambling legislation at the earliest opportunity. The preparation of a Gambling Control Bill continues on that basis. However, it should be acknowledged that it will require some significant updating to take account of developments since 2013. The preparation of legislation will be a major and complex undertaking.

 

In relation to private health insurance providers, under the Minimum Benefit Regulations, 1996, all health insurance products that provide cover for in-patient hospital treatment must provide a certain minimum level of benefits. The key purpose of the Regulations is to ensure the continued availability of the type of broad hospital cover traditionally held as a minimum by the insured population and to ensure that individuals do not significantly under-insure.

 

Insurers are free to design and sell private health insurance plans, providing the plans comply with the minimum benefits regulations. The Minister has no role to play in commercial decisions taken by health insurers when determining whether to provide cover for any particular procedure or treatment, beyond those specified in the regulations.

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