To ask the Minister for Health the steps he has taken to abolish in loco parentis in view of the Motion unanimously accepted in Dáil Éireann on 27 March 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Paediatric Home Care Packages (PHCPs) are in place to support the discharge of seriously ill children from acute hospital into the care of their families. They are designed to maximise a child’s quality of life and developmental opportunities while also helping to keep children out of hospital as much as possible.
The in loco parentis rule reflects the fact that PHCPs are intended to serve as a clinical support and is in place to ensure that a second person will be present in the event of an acute emergency such as respiratory arrest, decanuation of a tracheostomy or status epileptus.
I acknowledge the cross-party concerns raised about the operation of the loco parentis provision and recognise that respite can be an issue for parents of children with complex medical needs. Indeed, the matter is already being examined as part of the Quality Assurance Process for PHCPs that was commenced by the HSE in 2017. This process will inform how PHCPs should be delivered, including the operation of the in loco parentis provision.
Many parents have already contributed to the Quality Assurance Process, and further engagement will take place in the coming weeks and months. Furthermore, the HSE intends to establish a Parental Reference Group that will help shape how care is delivered to children with complex medical needs.
The Government shares the commitment of all Deputies to supporting the families of these children and to ensuring the provision of a service that both works for parents and reflects their expertise in caring for their children.
All Parlamientary Questions I make and their answers can be viewed in this section