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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 822-843
 Header Item Hospital Staff Data
 Header Item Hospital Staff Data
 Header Item Health Services
 Header Item Medical Card Eligibility
 Header Item Medical Card Eligibility
 Header Item Medical Card Data
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Freedom of Information Requests
 Header Item Medical Card Administration
 Header Item Open Disclosures Policy
 Header Item Psychological Services
 Header Item Psychological Services
 Header Item Counselling Services Provision
 Header Item Counselling Services Provision
 Header Item Mental Health Services Provision
 Header Item Medical Aids and Appliances Applications Data
 Header Item Hospital Staff Recruitment
 Header Item Ambulance Service Response Times
 Header Item Services for People with Disabilities
 Header Item Occupational Therapy Waiting Lists
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 970 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 120 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 822-843

Hospital Staff Data

 822. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of midwifery and obstetrician-gynaecologist staff employed in the maternity unit of South Tipperary General Hospital; the number employed in each of the past five years: the number of births in the past five years; the number of unfilled or vacant posts; the length of time that such posts have remained vacant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25258/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly on this matter as soon as possible.

Hospital Staff Data

 823. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of midwifery and obstetrician-gynaecologist staff employed by the HSE; the maternity units they are attached to; the number employed in each of the past five years; the number of births over the past five years by maternity hospital; the number of unfilled or vacant posts in maternity units nationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25259/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly on this matter.

Health Services

 824. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if night time seizure assistance and accommodation will be provided for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25262/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Medical Card Eligibility

 825. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his plans to increase the €500 eligibility limit for receipt of a medical card by a single person over 70 years of age and the €900 limit for a couple; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25271/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Under the Health (Alteration of Criteria for Eligibility) (No. 2) Act 2013, when a person attains the age of 70, the medical card income limits are €500 gross income per week for a single person and €900 gross income per week for a couple.

Persons aged 70 or older, who are assessed as ineligible under the gross income thresholds, may also have their eligibility assessed under the means-tested medical card scheme if they so wish, for example in the event that they face particularly high expenses, e.g. nursing home or medication costs. This scheme is open to all persons, irrespective of their age and assessment is based on net income and assessable outgoing expenses. The general scheme, although having lower income thresholds, provides for income disregards and relevant outgoings to be taken into account in the assessment process. 

Furthermore, persons, including those aged over 70 years, may be deemed eligible for a medical card on a discretionary basis, if they are judged to face undue hardship in arranging GP services as a result of medical or social circumstances. In addition, from August 2015, all persons aged 70 or older qualify for a GP Visit Card, regardless of income.

There are no proposals at present to amend the current income limits for the granting of eligibility for medical cards for persons aged 70 and over. However, it should be noted that the gross income limits are reviewed annually and considered in the context of the budget..

Medical Card Eligibility

 826. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the reviews that have taken place of the income thresholds for medical cards; if no review has taken place, when is it expected that one will be carried out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25272/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Reviews of income thresholds for medical cards and GP Visit cards generally is a budgetary matter and they can be reviewed in the context of the annual Estimates  process.  Any new policy measures around the income thresholds for either medical cards or GP visit cards to be incorporated into the forthcoming Budget will be considered by Government as part of the 2019 Estimates process  and, in that context, it is too early to comment on any proposed measure at this time..

Medical Card Data

 827. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of persons over 70 and 80 years of age, respectively that hold a medical card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25273/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The number of persons over 70 years who hold a medical card as at 1 May 2018 is 347,676 and the number of people over 80 years who hold a medical card is 137,184.  These numbers are up to 1 May 2018..

Hospital Appointments Status

 828. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25275/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly..

Freedom of Information Requests

 829. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of FOI requests for medical files that have been made from women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy or the families of such women; the number of requests approved; the number of requests pending; the steps he is taking to assist these women in accessing their full medical files; the process for this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25277/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I am advised by the HSE that, to date, 18 requests have been made under the Freedom of Information Act for personal records. Of those, 11 have been processed and completed and 7 remain open. The HSE has confirmed that all requests received to date have been and will continue to be processed within the timeframes set out under the Act.

More broadly, my Department of Health has written to the HSE emphasising that I expect that all patient information, including documents, files and audits related to patients, will be made available to patients or their representatives without delay..

Medical Card Administration

 830. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the details of the discretionary medical cards granted to women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy; if the medical cards are only granted to women; if their spouses and children are also eligible; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25278/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As the Deputy is  aware, the Government decided on 11 May 2018 to offer a comprehensive package of support measures to those women diagnosed with cervical cancer since 2008 for whom cytology review recommendations following clinical audit differed from the original test.  This support package also encompassed immediate family members, including the next-of-kin of those 18 women known to be deceased.

As part of this support package, a discretionary medical card is to be provided to all the  women affected and  to immediate members of their  family.  The women will retain lifelong eligibility while the eligibility of family members will be for a period of three years.  In addition, discretionary medical cards will be provided to the  next-of-kin of those women known to be deceased.

These cards will be provided  without the need for the standard assessment process, while the HSE has also made arrangements to ensure that the individuals concerned are not required to pay the statutory prescription charge.  The process of issuing medical cards to those affected is underway and applications are being processed as a priority..

Open Disclosures Policy

 831. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the timeline for the introduction of mandatory open disclosure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25279/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The Government recently gave approval to the drafting of legislative provisions to provide for mandatory open disclosure, through the development of the General Scheme of a Patient Safety Bill, which is currently being developed by officials of my Department as a matter of urgency.

These provisions to provide for mandatory open disclosure of serious patient safety incidents will be in addition to the provisions for open disclosure contained in the Civil Liability (Amendment) Act 2017. The Regulations to prescribe the process for open disclosure in line with the Civil Liability (Amendment) Act 2017 are also being drafted at present and are expected to be finalised shortly. 

The Patient Safety Bill, in addition to addressing mandatory open disclosure, will also provide for a number of other important patient safety concerns, including in relation to mandatory reporting of serious incidents to an appropriate regulatory body such as HIQA, allow the Minister for Health to issue guidance in relation to clinical audit, and the extension of the remit of HIQA to private hospitals.

It is intended to seek approval to publish the draft General Scheme of the Patient Safety Bill before the summer recess..

Psychological Services

 832. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of the 114 assistant psychologist posts and 20 psychologist posts that have been filled (details supplied); the locations in which these posts will be based; when the remaining posts will be filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25284/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.

Psychological Services

 833. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the impact the announced psychologist posts will have for children and young persons that are trying to access CAMHS services in County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25285/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Counselling Services Provision

 834. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of the undertaking of the HSE to examine the scope for improved ways of working through a service improvement initiative for counselling in primary care (details supplied); the outreach the HSE has undertaken with community service providers in each CHO area; the locations in which the HSE envisages these services will be rolled out; the estimated cost of same; and when the HSE expects the scoping exercise to be completed. [25286/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Counselling Services Provision

 835. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his plans to introduce a computerised cognitive behavioural programme; the engagement that has taken place with healthcare providers in each CHO area in advance of the initiative; the locations in which the programme will be rolled out; the additional resources that will be provided to enable same; the estimated overall cost of the programme; and when it is expected to be operational. [25287/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Mental Health Services Provision

 836. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when he plans to introduce a dedicated mental health telephone and text line in 2018 in addition to a pilot telepsych initiative that will deliver mental health treatment and therapies online; the specific areas in which the phone, text and pilot service will be rolled out; if additional resources will be provided for these services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25288/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly As Minister with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, I have set as a priority the development of a Mental Health Telephone/Text Helpline. My officials are currently working with the HSE Mental Health Services on a project aimed at improving access to mental health information and support through the harnessing of information and communication technologies.

  There are a number of strands to the project as follows:

  1. Enhanced web based mental health information with dynamic signposting to ensure the widest possible access to information on both mental health conditions and services.

  2. An enhanced synchronous text-based (SMS / I.M. / Live chat) active listening service that will respond to queries on mental health and a 24 hour telephone service that will direct people to appropriate and relevant mental health / support services.

  3. A feasibility study on the provision of online therapies and a framework for the quality standards that are required for the provision of such services.  Included in this work will be an exploratory pilot study examining the feasibility and utility of providing access to Internet-based counselling services within Primary Care Services.

  I expect to launch the new service before the end of the year.

Question No. 837 answered with Question No. 659.

Medical Aids and Appliances Applications Data

 838. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of patients who have applied for the FreeStyle Libre sensor for the monitoring of type 1 diabetes since the product's approval for young persons between four and 21 years of age under the reimbursement scheme; the number that have been approved since 3 April 2018; the information that has been given to type 1 diabetics regarding the product; and the reason he has not approved the product for all type 1 diabetics in view of the fact that the product is tested and proven to be cost effective. [25291/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, the HSE has statutory responsibility for the administration of the community drug schemes; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy..

Hospital Staff Recruitment

 839. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if an open recruitment process for the role of CEO of University Limerick hospital group was followed prior to the appointment of a new CEO in 2014. [25319/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly on this matter.

Ambulance Service Response Times

 840. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy Information on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy Zoom on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if his attention has been drawn to a recent policy change by the National Ambulance Service whereby in the event of an emergency, the national emergency operations centre issues just one SMS to a single nominee of all relevant community first responder groups in the locality of the emergency; if his attention has been further drawn to the delayed response times of community first responder groups to emergencies due to the change; if his attention has been drawn to the increased administrative burden that the change is imposing on local voluntary groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25330/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service issue, I have asked the HSE to reply to you directly.

Services for People with Disabilities

 841. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding services for children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25332/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy..

Occupational Therapy Waiting Lists

 842. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of an appointment with an occupational therapist for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25343/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.

Hospital Appointments Status

 843. Deputy Peter Burke Information on Peter Burke Zoom on Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if an appointment for a person (details supplied) will be expedited. [25346/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly..


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