The Government recently published its Spring Legislative Programme for 2021. In this briefing, we highlight some of the legislation for publication and prioritisation and bills which are expected to undergo pre-legislative scrutiny relevant to the Healthcare and Life Sciences sectors.
Priority legislation for publication
The following priority Bills, which have already undergone pre-legislative scrutiny, are expected to be put before Oireachtas for publication:
- The Assisted Human Reproduction Bill - the purpose of this Bill is to provide a legislative framework for the regulation of assisted human reproduction practices and associated research;
- The Nursing Home Support Scheme (Amendment) Bill - the purpose of this Bill is to implement the recommendation of the Fair Deal Review; and
Bills that are expected to undergo pre-legislative scrutiny
The following Bills of relevance to the Healthcare and Life Sciences sectors are expected to undergo pre-legislative scrutiny in Spring 2021:
- Disability Services (Transfer of Functions) Bill - the purpose of this Bill is to provide the legislative basis for the transfer of policy, functions and funding responsibility relating to specialist community-based disability services from the Minister for Health to the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth;
- Health Bill - the purpose of this Bill is to amend the Health Act 2004 to provide for changes to corporate and service planning processes for the HSE. Work is underway to prepare the heads of bill;
- Human Tissue (Transplantation, Post-Mortem, Anatomical Examination and Public Display) Bill - the purpose of this Bill is to deal with organ donation and transplantation in respect of both deceased and living donors. The heads of bill have been approved and pre-legislative scrutiny has not yet taken place; and
- Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill - the purpose of this Bill is to introduce a licensing system for the sale of tobacco and nicotine inhaling products (including e-cigarettes). The heads of bill have been approved and pre-legislative scrutiny has not yet taken place.
Other Bills relevant to the Healthcare and Life Sciences sectors which are undergoing preparatory work
Preparatory work is underway in respect of the following Bills:
- National Research Ethics Committees Bill - the purpose of this Bill is to reform and modernise the current research ethics committee ("REC") framework in Ireland by providing for the establishment of National RECs in key areas of health research;
- Health (Adult Safeguarding) Bill - the purpose of this Bill is to underpin a planned national health sector policy on safeguarding vulnerable or at-risk adults in the context of their interactions with the health sector;
- Health (Amendment) (Licensing of Professional Home Support Providers) Bill - the purpose of this Bill is to regulate home-support services through the licensing of both public and private providers;
- Health (Amendment) Bill - the purpose of this Bill is to enhance the oversight and regulation of nursing homes;
- Mental Health (Amendment) Bill - the purpose of the Bill is to amend the Mental Health Act 2001 to give effect to recommendations of an Expert Group Review on mental health legislation
- Health (Alteration of Criteria for Eligibility) Bill - the purpose of this Bill is to extend eligibility for medical cards in cases of terminal illness;
- Protection of Liberty Safeguards Bill - the purpose of this Bill is to provide legislative clarity on the issue of deprivation of liberty safeguards;
- Public Health (Calorie Posting and Workplace Wellbeing) Bill - the purpose of this Bill is to require food premises to display calories on menus and to require all public sector employers to have and to report on a Health and Wellbeing policy;
- Safe Access to Termination of Pregnancy Services Bill - the purpose of this Bill is to ensure safe access to premises at which termination of pregnancy services may be provided; and
- Support for Irish Survivors of Thalidomide Bill - the purpose of this Bill is to provide a package of health and personal social services and other supports to survivors of thalidomide on a statutory basis.
This article contains a general summary of developments and is not a complete or definitive statement of the law. Specific legal advice should be obtained where appropriate.