February 19, 2024
Sodium Valproate (Epilim) Inquiry
In November 2020, the Minister for Health, Mr Stephen Donnelly, announced that an inquiry would take place into the historical licensing and use of the epilepsy drug Sodium Valproate (also...
Mr. Justice Charles Meenan, who presides over the High Court Judicial Review List addressed the “dramatic” increase in the number of actions brought against the HSE over assessments of need on behalf of children with special needs.
On Monday 21 November, Mr. Justice Meenan noted that he was not making judgement as to who was responsible for the delays, but that it was “obvious there is a problem” and noted the “dramatic increase” as an average of seven of these applications now appear before him weekly. He directed that legal representatives for the HSE appear before him in the coming weeks to address this increase.
These applications are seeking permission from the court to bring judicial review challenges over delays in carrying out the assessment of need. In many cases, it is claimed that the failure to carry out the assessment has deprived the children of essential psychological and educational services and supports which adversely impact the lives of the children and their families.
Various reliefs are being sought by the applicants. Typically, they are seeking a declaration that the HSE has failed in their obligations under the Disability Act to carry out these assessments within a reasonable time. Other reliefs include orders compelling the HSE to carry out and complete the assessment within 6 weeks and/or damages.
Mr. Justice Meenan stated that he hopes the issues can be addressed when legal representatives of the HSE come before him next month. The matter is expected to be listed on a date in the middle of December.
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