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 Header Item Abortion Law Reform
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Health Services Staff Issues
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Home Help Service Provision
 Header Item Substance Misuse
 Header Item Hospital Staff Issues
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Substance Misuse
 Header Item Accident and Emergency Services Provision
 Header Item Accident and Emergency Services Provision
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Medical Card Appeals
 Header Item Medical Card Applications

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 774 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 162 Next Page Last Page

Abortion Law Reform

 1723. 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 names of any groups he has met or consulted with on the issue of abortion law or abortion law reform since he has taken office and the number of times he met each group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38235/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly As the Deputy might be aware, I have met with representatives from a group called 'Terminations for Medical Reasons Ireland' on one occasion in June of this year. This group represents women and men whose babies were diagnosed with having fatal foetal abnormalities. I have not met with any other groups on this issue.

Health Services Provision

 1724. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will provide, for each county, the number of children aged up to 18 years who have received a diagnosis on the autism disorder spectrum from the Health Service Executive or a recognised service provider for each year since 2000 to 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38243/12]

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.

Health Services Staff Issues

 1725. Deputy Joe McHugh Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of personnel and the grades of these personnel, in tabular form, who are employed by the Health Service Executive within primary care and hospital and community services settings in the following disciplines: health promotion, communication, consumer affairs, training and development; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38247/12]

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.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 1726. Deputy Joe McHugh Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the current waiting lists that obtain in public hospitals in respect of the various medical disciplines; if he will compare these figures with the pertinent figures for 1 September 2011 and 1 September 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38248/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the table.

Specialty Sep-10 Sep-11 Jun-12
Anaesthetics 290 267 213
Cardiology 2061 2376 2546
Cardiac Thoracic Surgery 347 416 390
Clinical Genetics 0 0 1
Dental Surgery 286 170 95
Dermatology 368 525 518
Diabetes Mellitus 1 0 0
Endocrinology 71 50 44
Gastro-enterology 3955 5705 4638
General Medicine 1425 2421 2910
General Surgery 9419 14439 13663
Geriatric Medicine 9 15 9
Gynaecology 1838 2478 2569
Haematology 20 15 43
Immunology 8 26 15
Infectious Diseases 15 24 10
Maxillo-Facial 855 902 947
Neonatology 2 2 11
Nephrology 122 59 35
Neurology 387 278 225
Neurosurgery 346 447 494
Oncology 38 10 61
Ophthalmology 4932 6194 6164
Oral Surgery 495 665 478
Orthopaedics 5523 6798 6200
Otolaryngology (ENT) 3699 4712 4743
Paed Metabolic Medicine 24 4 10
Paediatrics 26 47 16
Pain Relief 1391 2063 2069
Palliative Medicine 0 0 1
Plastic Surgery 2528 3367 2961
Radiology 15 15 29
Renal Transplantation 1 1 6
Respiratory Medicine 664 626 576
Rheumatology 16 59 28
Urology 2972 3809 3950
Vascular Surgery 624 1045 1040
Totals 44773 60030 57708

Home Help Service Provision

 1727. 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 the fact that 0.5 million home help hours have already been cut and that he now proposes to slash another 600,000 home help hours; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38257/12]

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.

  Question No. 1728 answered with Question No. 1497.

Substance Misuse

 1729. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if the recommendation by the national substance misuse strategy steering group that drinks industry sponsorship of sport and other large public events should be phased out through legislation by 2016 applies to events created by the alcohol industry such as Arthur’s Day; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38281/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly It is probable that when the National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group was phrasing this recommendation, large public events - such as that mentioned by the Deputy - were within the scope of it.

An Action Plan on alcohol, which will take account of the recommendations of the Steering Group - including the one referred to by the Deputy - is being prepared for the purpose of submitting to the Government for consideration.

Hospital Staff Issues

 1730. Deputy Joanna Tuffy Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly in view of the fact that the Health Service Executive had to carry out a major recruitment drive for doctors outside of Ireland in response to a shortage of doctors in the HSE last year, if he will give an update on this shortage; if he foresees similar shortages in future; if he has brought this shortfall to the attention of Irish hospitals that provide clinical training for medical students and also to the attention to of the Department of Education and Skill and that there is a need to increase places to study medicine at colleges here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38283/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly In February 2012, the Health Service Executive launched a national centralised application process for Non Consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHDs). The purpose of the process was to generate sufficient numbers of qualified applicants for the July 2012 intake and for future intakes of NCHDs. This process is intended to provide a continual stream of suitable candidates to meet the demand in particularly challenging specialties such as Emergency Medicine and Psychiatry.

The HSE recruits approximately 15% of NCHDs – all of whom are recruited to non-training posts. 81% of NCHDs are recruited by postgraduate training bodies for placement in hospitals/agencies. While deficits in the NCHD workforce have been a priority issue for the past three years, the HSE response has ensured that there has been little, if any, service reduction or change arising from problems filling posts. The key issue is the quality of applicants rather than whether the post can be filled.

Three separate recruitment processes have been undertaken in preparation for the January and July 2013 rotations:

- Postgraduate training bodies are filling posts on training schemes

- the HSE Centralised Applications process – where NCHDs apply centrally but are recruited at hospital group level

- Other external HSE-funded initiatives (the most recent in South Africa)

As of 13 September 2012 there were 47 posts in HSE hospitals and agencies which were reported as vacant. This 1% of all NCHD posts.

The are no reported vacancies at Specialist Registrar level and it is also anticipated that there will be no vacancies at Intern level.

In 2006 the Government agreed a programme of reform of medical education and training which included a phased increase in EU medical places at undergraduate level. The reforms included an increase of 420 medical places for Irish and EU students on a phased basis over the period 2006 to 2011 with the objective of achieving self-sufficiency in terms of medical staffing and to reduce our reliance on the recruitment of overseas doctors. This increased intake will result in a greater availability of medical graduates to the Irish health service in the coming years.

Vaccination Programme

 1731. Deputy Joanna Tuffy Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will provide an update on reports that 300 children were given the wrong vaccines at a GP practice (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38284/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Following a query from a service user, the HSE recently determined that childhood vaccinations given by one GP in the Newcastle area of County Dublin may not have been effective due to an issue with their administration. There were no known safety issues with the vaccines received previously by the children identified. However, as the children did not receive the vaccines in accordance with the vaccine licence and may not have full immunity from preventable diseases.

From HSE records available there were 290 children who may have been under-vaccinated.

An Incident Management Team carried out an investigation regarding the GP's administration of Primary Childhood Immunisations. A report was prepared by the Incident Management Team leading to recommendations on three core issues: Immunisation practices of the GP concerned; Assessment of any risk to children immunised; Assurance on correct immunisation practices in General Practitioner settings nationwide.

An implementation team was established to implement these recommendations, and have completed all actions with respect to these three issues. On advice from the National Immunisation Office and the Department of Public Health, a re-vaccination exercise was offered. The re-vaccination clinics took place on 30th August and 8th September 2012.

An Implementation Report will issue on completion of the vaccination programme, and I look forward to receiving this report.

Substance Misuse

 1732. 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 a matter regarding support for the Drugs Treatment Centre Board (details supplied)  [38311/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Róisín Shortall): Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall A moratorium is in place in relation to recruitment and promotion within the public service. While there is some flexibility in relation to filling posts in order to protect frontline services as far as possible, any such recruitment is subject to the normal public recruitment procedures including public advertising and a competitive selection process.

The HSE, in consultation with my Department, are currently finalising the arrangements to transfer the Drug Treatment Centre into the HSE in line with the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009. Following this transfer, HSE management will continually review service needs and priorities and will endeavour to provide the level of staff considered necessary.

Accident and Emergency Services Provision

 1733. Deputy Robert Dowds Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the amount of money that is being received by the health service from the €100 charge for accident and emergency care in hospitals; and if he will provide figures of the percentage of those liable for the charge who fail to pay.  [38335/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The Health Service Executive has confirmed that the amount of Emergency Department income received by the HSE statutory and voluntary hospitals in 2011 was €16.4 million. Bad debts written off in 2011 as a percentage of income raised in 2011 was approximately 25%.

Accident and Emergency Services Provision

 1734. Deputy Robert Dowds Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will consider reducing or removing the €100 charge for accident and emergency care for those under the age of 18 years.  [38336/12]

 1735. Deputy Robert Dowds Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will consider waiving or reducing the fees for accident and emergency care for children who suffer from conditions which necessitate regular attendance at hospital accident and emergency units.  [38337/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 1734 and 1735 together.

  The A&E charge which is currently €100, is provided for by the Health (Out-Patient Charges) Regulations 1994 (as amended). The charge applies to persons attending Accident and Emergency and Casualty Departments subject to exemptions set out in these regulations, including medical card holders and those who have a letter of referral from a registered medical practitioner. There are no plans at present to change the A&E charge.

Health Services Provision

 1736. 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 his plans to cut services to disabled and senior citizens in 2012-2013  [38342/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch As reflected in the Programme for Government, it is our policy intention to develop, insofar as possible, the specific services raised by the Deputy in the context of reforming our health and personal social services. However, this intention has to take account of all relevant factors such as evolving service priorities and resource availability overall. The position in relation to this year is subject to agreed changes to the HSE Service Plan 2012, and that relating to 2013 will be subject to the normal Budgetary process.

Medical Card Applications

 1737. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding a medical card; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38345/12]

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

 1738. 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 a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5.  [38356/12]

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 Appeals

 1739. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare is covered by the GMS scheme while a decision is being made on their medical card appeal; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38377/12]

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.

  If a medical card applicant is unhappy with a decision made concerning their entitlement to a medical card/GP visit card, they have a right of appeal to the Health Service Executive (HSE) Appeals Officer. The Appeals Officer will review the original decision and make a decision taking into consideration relevant legislation and guidelines.

  When HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service is notified of an appeal by the Appeals Officer, the individual's medical card/GP visit card is reactivated pending the final outcome of the appeal.

Medical Card Applications

 1740. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38381/12]

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.


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