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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1601-1617
 Header Item Home Care Packages
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Hospital Services
 Header Item Translation Services
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Hospital Accommodation Provision
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Expenditure
 Header Item Job Creation
 Header Item Job Creation
 Header Item Job Creation
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Staff Data
 Header Item Appointments to State Boards
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure

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. 1601-1617

Home Care Packages

 1601. 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 the rules for the means test applied for assessing entitlement to a home care package for a person being cared for in the home; if this has changed since the budget; the level of funding in 2011 and 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37141/12]

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

Medical Card Applications

 1602. 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 the position regarding an application for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5.  [37142/12]

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.

Hospital Services

 1603. Deputy Patrick Nulty Information on Patrick Nulty Zoom on Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if his attention has been drawn to concerns expressed by the Irish Haemochromatosis Association regarding the lack of availability of venesection in certain areas and the wide variation in the charge for performing venesection; if he will classify haemochromatosis as a life-long chronic illness for which treatment should be covered by the general medical service at no cost to patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37143/12]

 1634. Deputy Patrick Nulty Information on Patrick Nulty Zoom on Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if his attention has been drawn to concerns expressed by the Irish Haemochromatosis Association about the lack of availability of venesection in certain areas and the wide variation in the charge for performing venesections; if he will classify haemochromatosis as a life-long chronic illness for which treatment will be covered by the general medical service at no cost to patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37651/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 1603 and 1634 together.

I am aware of the concerns raised by the Irish Haemochromatosis Association and I agree that a model of care needs to be established for haemochromatosis patients that would provide equal access in the most cost-effective manner possible. In this regard the HSE's National Clinical Programme for Blood Transfusion has reviewed services nationally for haemochromatosis patients with a view to providing a service that reflects best international practice in terms of patient care and value for money. I understand that discussions are ongoing with all relevant parties to implement a solution for haemochromatosis services and I look forward to hearing the outcome. There are no plans to extend the list of conditions covered by the Long Term Illness Scheme.

Under the Drug Payment Scheme, no individual or family pays more than €132 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme significantly reduces the cost burden for families and individuals incurring ongoing expenditure on medicines. In addition, people who cannot, without undue hardship, arrange for the provision of medical services for themselves and their dependants may be entitled to a medical card. In the assessment process, the Health Service Executive can take into account medical costs incurred by an individual or a family. Those who are not eligible for a medical card may still be able to avail of a GP visit card, which covers the cost of general practice consultation.

Translation Services

 1604. 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 the total cost of translation services by his Department and the agencies operating under his aegis for the years 2010 to 2012, inclusive; if his attention has been drawn to a translation service (details supplied); his opinion on the merits of this service; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37144/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The total cost of translation services provided to my Department during the period concerned was €59,532. Expenditure on translation services by agencies under my Department's remit is an operational matter for the agencies themselves. In the case of expenditure on translation services for my Department, the majority of expenditure is incurred by the translation of statutory instruments, policy and strategy documents. While every effort is made to keep translation costs to a minimum, the Deputy will appreciate that the translation of statutory instruments in particular, which may be required to give effect to provisions enforceable in law, requires the utmost care and precision to ensure that the intention behind the drafting of the original document is captured in the translation. This may not always be possible using the type of automated software package referred to by the Deputy.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 1605. 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 the waiting time for colonoscopy examinations in the public health system for the years 2008 to 2012, inclusive; the number of patients waiting for colonoscopies during the same period; if he will provide a breakdown of same per Health Service Executive region; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37145/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The target for patients prioritised as urgent for a colonoscopy is 28 days from referral. Census week of 26th June 2012 reported 2 patients waiting over 28 days referring to one hospital only Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore. These patients were subsequently treated. All hospitals actively manage their process to ensure that no urgent patients wait over 28 days. It is intended by 30th September that no patients would be waiting more than 3 months for a non-urgent referral. Hospitals are actively working to reach the September target. June census data identified a total of 6,813 patients waiting for colonoscopies with 2,433 (36%) of that figure waiting over 3 months.



Volumes waiting and median wait time for colonoscopy procedures
GI Colonoscopies 26/06/2008 26/06/2009 26/06/2010 26/06/2011 26/06/2012
Total 4,022 3,220 4,487 6,055 6,813
Dublin Mid Leinster HSE Area 1,146 1,133 1,229 1,327 1,600
Dublin North-East HSE Area 411 321 1,098 1,775 1,588
South HSE Area 1,224 816 950 1,680 1,425
West HSE Area 1,241 950 1,210 1,273 2,200
Median Months 3.6 1.6 1.8 2.1 2.1

  Questions Nos. 1606 and 1607 answered with Question No. 1512.

Hospital Accommodation Provision

 1608. 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 the reason 22 beds remain closed at a hospital (details supplied) in County Tipperary; the efforts he is making to ensure these beds are reopened at the earliest opportunity; the date on which they will be reopened; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37148/12]

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

Departmental Bodies Expenditure

 1609. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of agencies, authorities, boards, committees, working groups, tribunals, council services, task forces, agencies or other quangos set up by his Department since February 2011; the number abolished since then; the extra cost of quangos which were established; the savings from the abolition of quangos; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37247/12]

 1610. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the estimated cost of each quango in his Department; the amount expected to be saved from the mergers of quangos in his Department; the basis for this figure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37263/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 1609 and 1610 together.

  The information sought by the Deputy is currently being collated and will be forwarded to him as soon as it becomes available.

Job Creation

 1611. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of new jobs created by his Department as a result of the jobs initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37279/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The Department of Health has no role in the implementation of the Jobs Initiative of May 2011; therefore the subject matter of this question is not relevant to my Department.

Job Creation

 1612. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of new jobs created by his Department as a result of the action plan on jobs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37295/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The Action Plan on Jobs is geared towards carrying out the necessary changes across the sectors to make it easier to do business in Ireland so that as many jobs as possible can be protected and created over the coming years. The Plan states that it is not government which creates jobs. Successful enterprises do.

In keeping with this objective the actions included in the Plan for which the Department of Health has a role relate to fostering the right supports and environment within which to do business in Ireland. In the health area it is recognised that this should be done in a way that ensures benefits accrue to the health system and ultimately patients.

The actions include: Promoting greater competition and reduce costs in the health sector by enacting legislation relating to general practice (1.19); Deliver a Health Innovation Hub to drive collaboration between the health system and commercial enterprises leading to the development and commercialisation of new healthcare technologies, products, services and start-ups emerging from within the health system and/or firms (7.2.1); Enact a Health Information Bill to support a conducive environment for health research in Ireland (7.2.2); Prepare a detailed implementation plan for the development of a national biobanking structure (7.2.6).

Job Creation

 1613. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of new jobs created by his Department as a result of budget 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37311/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Since January 2012 two interns have been recruited by my Department under the JobBridge Scheme. A number of other staff have been seconded into my Department from the HSE but these were already existing public servants prior to that.

Departmental Expenditure

 1614. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the total amount spent on taxis by his Department since February 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37327/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The amount spent on taxis by my Department since February 2011 was €24,299. My Department's travel policy concerning the use of taxis is that their use should be kept to a minimum and they should be hired only when no suitable public transport is available.

Departmental Staff Data

 1615. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of press officers in his Department; the number of press officers in each agency under his auspices; the total cost of press officers in his Department and in agencies under his auspices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37343/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly There is one Press Officer in the Department of Health, at Higher Executive Officer grade, on a salary ranging from €43,816 to €55,415 and overtime is payable where extra attendance is required. He is supported by two Executive Officers.

  I am told by the HSE that the following outlines the position in relation to it:

HSE Region Number of Press Officers Salary Scale
National Communications Office One €47,015 - €57,243
South No-one employed specifically as a designated Press Officer  
Dublin North East One (Grade VII Level) €50,447 - €61,613
West Two (Grade VII Level) €50,447 - €61,613
Dublin Mid-Leinster No-one employed specifically as a designated Press Officer  
   The information requested by the Deputy in relation to the agencies under my auspices is not retained in my Department. I have arranged to have the information collated and forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Appointments to State Boards

 1616. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the total number of board appointments he has nominated since he came to office; the names, salaries and expenses of each appointee; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37359/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The information requested is currently being collated and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Departmental Expenditure

 1617. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will detail, in tabular form, the total photography costs for his Department since coming to office, inclusive of costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the breakdown of costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used; if there is a policy regarding the booking of photographers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37375/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly It is the policy of my Department to keep costs in relation to the use of photographers to a minimum.

  The information requested by the Deputy is as follows:

Occasion for which photography was booked Name of photographer Costs
2nd National Patient Safety Conference Mr. Derek Speirs €317.80
Launch of European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations Tommy Clancy Photography No cost to the Department (costs will be paid for by a communications company engaged by the European Commission)
Seminar: Parental Substance Misuse – Addressing its Impact on Children. A review of the Literature. Mr. Conor Healy €800.18
Consultation Day on Rare Disease Plan for Ireland Conor McCabe Photography €430.50
Total Cost   €1,548.48


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