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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1496-1512
 Header Item Mental Health Services Provision
 Header Item Cancer Screening Programmes
 Header Item Health Services Staff
 Header Item Community Employment Drug Rehabilitation Projects
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Staffing
 Header Item Services for People with Disabilities
 Header Item Health Services Staff
 Header Item Hospital Equipment
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Health Services Staff
 Header Item Health Services Staff
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item General Practitioner Services

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 774 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 162 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 1496-1512

Mental Health Services Provision

 1496. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if any weaknesses in the child and adolescent mental health services have been identified over recent years; the extent to which new demands are not being met on time; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37890/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch A special allocation of €35 million for mental health was provided in Budget 2012 in line with commitments in the Programme for Government. Funding from this special allocation will be used primarily to strengthen Community Mental Health Teams in both Adult and Children’s mental health services by ensuring, at a minimum, that at least one of each mental health professional discipline is represented on every team.

In terms of in-patient facilities, psychiatric bed capacity for children and adolescents has increased from 12 beds in 2007 to 44 at present - 12 in Dublin, 12 in Cork and 20 in Galway. Work has been completed on the second phase of the Child and Adolescent Unit at St. Vincent's Hospital, Fairview, and pending approval from the Mental Health Commission this will increase capacity from 12 to 18 beds in Dublin. The increase in bed capacity is reflected in an almost 50% decrease in admissions of children to adult units since 2008.

In terms of new developments it is proposed to construct a 22 bed in-patient facility in Dublin which, it is anticipated, will be completed by the end of 2013 / early 2014. It is also proposed to provide a 10 bed Child and Adolescent Forensic Mental Health Unit as part of the National Forensic Mental Health Project. The Unit will be based in Portrane, co-terminus with the new Central Mental Hospital.

Despite a significant increase in demand for child and adolescent mental health services the number of children on the waiting list for an appointment has reduced over the last 12 months. At the end of June 2012 there were 2,198 children waiting for an appointment representing a decrease of 12%.

Cancer Screening Programmes

 1497. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his views on a matter relating to the bowel cancer screening programme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38155/12]

 1512. Deputy Pat Deering Information on Patrick Deering Zoom on Patrick Deering asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if bowel cancer screening will commence before the end of 2012 as committed and if necessary funding and facilities are available to ensure its success.  [37050/12]

 1520. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if the national bowel cancer screening programme will be sufficiently funded and available to all who need it by the end of 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37060/12]

 1606. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his plans to ensure that adequate capacity is in place to facilitate the roll-out of the national cancer screening programme in 2012; that the bowel cancer screening programme is extended to people aged 55 to 74 years; that multi-annual funding is in place to support the programme by the end of 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37146/12]

 1607. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will ensure that multi-annual, long-term funding is in place in order that the bowel cancer screening programme will be delivered to all who need it by the end of 2012; if he will ensure that the introduction of screening does not jeopardise endoscopy services for symptomatic patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37147/12]

 1701. Deputy Ciara Conway Information on Ciara Conway Zoom on Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will prioritise bowel cancer screening post-2012; if he will confirm that this screening programme will be extended to cover people in the 55 to 74 age group and if he will confirm a timeframe for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38100/12]

 1702. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will support bowel cancer screening as a matter of priority.  [38116/12]

 1728. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the funding available in 2012 for the bowel cancer screening programme; if this is sufficient to meet the targets of the programme; if funding will continue to be available to ensure screening is available for all persons aged 55 to 74 years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38279/12]

 1757. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the numbers of persons who die annually from bowel related illnesses including cancer; his plans to introduce a national bowel cancer screening programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38458/12]

 1770. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton Information on Paul Connaughton Zoom on Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his plans in relation to the introduction of the first phase of the bowel cancer screening programme; and if plans exist to make the screening available to all persons aged 55 to 74; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38625/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 1497, 1512, 1520, 1606, 1607, 1701, 1702, 1728, 1757 and 1770 together.

Colorectal cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among both men and women in Ireland. Approximately 2,200 new cases are diagnosed each year, and it is cause of death in around 950 people each year. Colorectal screening works on two fronts: it provides early detection and therefore earlier and more effective treatment, and it helps to prevent cancer in the first place by detecting pre-cancerous growths such as polyps. It is therefore imperative that the programme commences and continues on a sustainable basis.

Plans for the implementation of a national colorectal screening programme are at an advanced stage within the HSE-National Cancer Screening Service (NCSS) and the programme will be introduced on a phased basis in quarter four 2012, as stated in the HSE Service Plan 2012. When fully implemented the programme will offer free screening to men and women aged 55-74 every two years. As 50% of cancers within this age group are found in people aged 60-69 the programme will begin with this age cohort (a population of approximately 500,000).

The screening programme is the first call/ recall screening programme in Ireland to be offered to men as well as women. Organised population-based call, re-call screening for colorectal cancer is complex and to ensure quality and safety it is imperative that it is introduced in a carefully managed and monitored way to ensure that risks to patients are minimised and best clinical outcomes are maximised. Over time the phasing of the programme will allow development of colonoscopy capacity to cater for the full 55-74 year old population.

The HSE-NCSS and the Special Delivery Unit in my Department have been working together to develop the appropriate capacity in colonoscopy services nationwide to support the introduction, sustainability and growth of the screening programme, while maintaining and enhancing the capability of the symptomatic endoscopy service. The focus is on improving quality and access at all publicly-funded screening colonoscopy units, not just for those referred for colonoscopy as part of the screening programme, but for all men and women who require a colonoscopy or any other diagnostic endoscopic procedure. This will be achieved by building sufficient capacity in endoscopy services nationwide to sustain the implementation of the national screening programme, while maintaining and enhancing the symptomatic service.

Fifteen candidate colonoscopy units have been identified around the country to support the screening programme and these must achieve accreditation in order to provide colonoscopy services on behalf of the programme.

An academic partner has been identified to provide an educational programme for clinical nurse specialists to train with the aim of becoming registered as Advanced Nurse Practitioners with An Bord Altranais. Interviews have been completed and a panel has been established. A Clinical Advisory Group has recently been established to support the ongoing development of the programme and to provide ongoing clinical advice to the HSE-NCSS.

Health Services Staff

 1498. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the steps he has taken to ensure that all agency staff in hospital settings are receiving EU agency worker directive pay and that all back moneys due have been paid; if he will confirm that there will be no further withholding of pay due to staff, either Health Service Executive directly employed or agency recruited; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38166/12]

 1508. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if, as a result of budget constraints, some Health Service Executive staff are no longer rostered to work on weekends and that instead agency staff are hired to plug these gaps; and the cost or saving implications of measures such as these.  [37045/12]

 1551. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he expects agency costs to be reduced by 50% this year; the revised saving to be achieved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37091/12]

 1552. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he expects agency costs to be reduced by 50% this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37092/12]

 1672. Deputy Nicky McFadden Information on Nicky McFadden Zoom on Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will review the use of agency staff within the Health Service Executive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37785/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 1498, 1508, 1551, 1552 and 1672 together.

The HSE’s National Service Plan 2012 set a target reduction of up to 50% in expenditure on agency staffing. On the basis of the pattern of expenditure to July 2012, it is not expected that this level of reduction will be achieved. In the light of the current serious budgetary situation in the HSE, senior management have issued strict instructions on the use of agency staffing. Agency staff may be used only in the most exceptional of circumstances and when all alternative avenues have been exhausted. Such staff may only be engaged when signed off by identified senior management.

Following the enactment of the Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act this year, the HSE provided guidance to public service employers on the Act, including the fact that the equal pay provisions of the Act have retrospective effect to 5th December 2011. All agency staff employed through agencies contracted by the HSE have now had their basic pay adjusted in accordance with the Act. The HSE and the contracted agencies are currently making arrangements for the calculation and payment of back money due to agency staff.

Community Employment Drug Rehabilitation Projects

 1499. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if there is a scheme available to compensate community representatives for attending drugs task force meetings which are often held during working hours and which many community representatives have to take time off work to attend; and, if so, which drugs task forces operate it and the fee payable to those attending meetings on behalf of their community.  [38195/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Róisín Shortall): Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall The Local and Regional Drugs Task Force Handbook, which is available on my Department's website, outlines the supports available for Community Sector representatives on Drugs Task Forces. The operational or administrative budgets of Drugs Task Forces include provision for the travel, subsistence expenses and family care costs of Community Sector representatives who attend regional, national and network meetings as part of their Task Force role. In relation to fees payable, the underlying principle governing the membership of the Drugs Task Forces by community representatives is that they do so on a voluntary basis. Therefore, payments by way of salary, fee payments or loss of earnings or for giving up their own time to attend meetings are ineligible for funding.

Health Services Provision

 1500. Deputy Joan Collins Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the position regarding the cut in funding of the day service and transport service in Cheeverstown, Airton Road, Tallaght, Dublin 12; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38420/12]

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

Special Educational Needs Staffing

 1501. Deputy Brian Stanley Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his plans to provide extra supports or increased capitation for children with Down's Syndrome during the preschool year.  [38565/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Services for People with Disabilities

 1502. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if there is funding available in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wexford whose child has a number of disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38692/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch The Revenue Commissioners operate a Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Tax Concessions Scheme, whereby a family member of a disabled passenger can qualify for tax relief linked to the purchase of vehicles, provided he/she is living with and is responsible for the transport of the disabled person in question, has acquired the vehicle for that purpose and the disabled passenger is the holder of a Primary Medical Certificate. Applications for Primary Medical Certificates are processed by the Health Service Executive (HSE) through local health offices. With regard to the other circumstances raised by the Deputy which are related to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the HSE, for a direct reply to the Deputy

Health Services Staff

 1503. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly further to Parliamentary Question No. 168 of 30 June 2011, if the Labour Court recommendation in relation to the inclusion of senior staff nursing increments under the moratorium has been considered by his Department. [37036/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Following consideration of this matter, officials of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, my Department and the HSE have met the nursing unions and confirmed that Senior Staff Nurse appointments are considered promotions and are therefore prohibited by the public service moratorium introduced in March 2009.

Hospital Equipment

 1504. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of insulin pumps now in operation at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda. [37041/12]

 1505. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the timeframe for children to be fitted with insulin pumps at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, County Louth.  [37042/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 1504 and 1505 together.

As these are service matters, they have been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Health Services Provision

 1506. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when a person (details supplied) in County Louth will be fitted with an insulin pump. [37043/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Health Services Staff

 1507. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if a care provider (details supplied) in County Louth was engaged by the Health Service Executive to train staff; the reason the training was outsourced; its cost; and his views on whether such practices are cost effective considering that most HSE training takes place within HSE facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37044/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

  Question No. 1508 answered with Question No. 1498.

Health Services Staff

 1509. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton Information on Paul Connaughton Zoom on Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his plans regarding the appointment of occupational therapists to serve the Galway/ Roscommon area as there has been no meaningful occupational therapy service in the region for three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37047/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Róisín Shortall): Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Medical Card Applications

 1510. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if and when a medical card will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37048/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Róisín Shortall): Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

General Practitioner Services

 1511. Deputy Pat Deering Information on Patrick Deering Zoom on Patrick Deering asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when persons with long-term illnesses will receive their medical cards as announced in budget 2012.  [37049/12]

 1718. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will extend free general practitioner visits to long-term illness card holders this year.  [38202/12]

 1796. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the position regarding the policy to provide free general practitioner care to citizens; when the first phase of this plan, which will involve free GP care being provided to patients with long-term illnesses, will be progressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38843/12]

 1812. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when free general practitioner visits will be extended to long-term illness card holders; and if he will expedite the measure.  [38942/12]

 1823. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly further to the announcement in budget 2012, the current status of the extension of free general practitioner care to all claimants of medicines under the long-term illness scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39077/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Róisín Shortall): Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall I propose to take Questions Nos. 1511, 1718, 1796, 1812 and 1823 together.

The Programme for Government commits to reforming the current public health system by introducing Universal Health Insurance with equal access to care for all. As part of this, the Government is committed to introducing, on a phased basis, GP care without fees within its first term of office. Primary legislation is required to give effect to Government commitment to introduce a universal GP service without fees. Legislation to allow the Minister for Health to make regulations to extend access to GP services without fees to persons with prescribed illnesses is currently being drafted by this Department and the Office of the Attorney General and will be published shortly. Implementation dates and application details will be announced in due course.

  Question No. 1512 answered with Question No. 1497.


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