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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 614-633
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Diabetes Strategy
 Header Item Medicinal Products Supply
 Header Item Home Help Service Provision
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Services for People with Disabilities
 Header Item Budget Consultation Process
 Header Item Medicinal Products Supply
 Header Item Medical Card Appeals
 Header Item Drugs Payment Scheme Administration
 Header Item General Medical Services Scheme Review
 Header Item Cross-Border Co-operation
 Header Item Medical Card Applications

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 614-633

Hospital Waiting Lists

 614. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will address the waiting lists for ear nose and throat services at Kerry General Hospital where currently 739 adults and 427 children are on the waiting list; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that following a validation exercise the figures for County Kerry have increased significantly; if he will ensure that the County Kerry public receive the service they deserve; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53990/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Immediately following his appointment, the Minister for Health established the Special Delivery Unit, as set out in the Programme for Government. The aim of the SDU is to unblock access to acute services by improving the flow of patients through the system. The initial focus for the SDU's Scheduled Care Team has been on waiting times for in-patient and daycase elective surgery.

For adults, the target is that no-one should be waiting more than nine months for inpatient and day case treatments. Overall, by the end of September progress towards the target is strong – the number waiting more than nine months has fallen by more than 90% on the figure at the start of the year (4678 in Jan down to 415 in September). For children, the target is that by the end of 2012 no child should be waiting for inpatient or daycase treatment for more than 20 weeks. Again, huge progress has been made towards this target – by the end of September the number of children waiting longer than 20 weeks nationally was down to 276 from 1,844 at the start of the year.

Improving access to outpatient services is the next priority. A maximum waiting time target has now been set of 12 months for a first time outpatient appointment by 30 November 2013. In relation to the specific query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

  Question No. 615 answered with Question No. 582.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 616. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a person (details supplied), who is extremely ill, has to wait nine months for an operation in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin [54001/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The management of inpatient and daycase waiting lists for patients awaiting public health care is based on the principle that after urgent and cancer patients are treated, then clinically assessed routine patients should be seen in chronological order (i.e. longest waiter first). Should the patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition warrants an earlier appointment, he/she would be in the best position to take the matter up with the consultant and hospital involved. In relation to the specific query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

  Question No. 617 answered with Question No. 557.

Diabetes Strategy

 618. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the hospitals here that provide insulin pump treatment to children; and the number of children who receive this treatment in each hospital [54007/12]

 619. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of children from County Donegal who receive insulin pump treatment in hospitals outside County Donegal; the hospitals to which they must travel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54008/12]

 620. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he has considered providing an insulin pump service in Letterkenny, County Donegal; if this has been costed by the Health Service Executive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54009/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 618 to 620, inclusive, together.

The HSE National Clinical Programme for Diabetes - which includes the care of children and adolescents with diabetes - was established within the Clinical Strategy and Programmes Directorate. The purpose of the Programme is to define the way diabetic Clinical Services should be delivered, resourced and measured; and a clinician has been appointed to lead on the development of the programme. In relation to the specific queries raised by the Deputy, as these are local service issues, they have been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Medicinal Products Supply

 621. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will ensure that antiepileptic drugs will be excluded from generic substitution as recommended by the Moran report in view of the fact that a number of other EU countries do not allow for substitutes as well as the USA  [54022/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White Under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Bill, the Irish Medicines Board has statutory responsibility for establishing and publishing a List of Interchangeable Medicinal Products. In deciding whether to add a group of medicinal products to the List of Interchangeable Medicinal Products, the Board must be satisfied that each medicinal product which falls within the group:

(a) has the same qualitative and quantitative composition in each of its active substances as each of the other medicinal products which fall within the group;

(b) is in the same pharmaceutical form as, or in a pharmaceutical form that is appropriate for substitution for, each of the other products in the group; and

(c) has the same route of administration as each of the other medicinal products which fall within the group.

In addition, the Bill provides that the Board is not permitted to add a group of medicinal products to the List of Interchangeable Medicinal Products where, for example, any of the medicinal products cannot be safely substituted for any one or more of the other medicinal products in the group. To further enhance the patient safety aspect of generic substitution, Section 13 of the Bill allows a prescriber to indicate on a prescription that a branded interchangeable medicinal product should, for clinical reasons, not be substituted. I am satisfied that these provisions address the concerns raised by the Deputy.

It is important to point out that generic medicines must meet exactly the same standards of quality and safety and have the same effect as the originator medicine. All of the generic medicines on the Irish market are required to be properly licensed and meet the requirements of the Irish Medicines Board. The Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Bill 2012 was published on the 13th of July 2012. The Bill completed its passage through the Seanad on Wednesday, the 19th of September, and is currently continuing its passage through the Dáil. An Implementation Group on Generic Substitution and Reference Pricing has been established and it held its inaugural meeting on the 9th of August 2012. The Group met with the Irish Epilepsy Association, amongst others, on the 20th of November as part of its stakeholder meetings.

Home Help Service Provision

 622. 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 review the provision of home care assistance to a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54027/12]

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.

Proposed Legislation

 623. 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 the commitment in the Programme for Government to establish a patient safety authority still stands; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54036/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly My Department is continuing to consider the options and possible organisational structures of the Patient Safety Agency (PSA) taking account of the international experience and the existing and emerging structures and organisations in the Irish system. The role and inter-relationship of the PSA with the reforming health system needs to be carefully designed and developed. The Department is liaising with the Health Service Executive on the details surrounding the establishment of the PSA to ensure an identifiable and distinct leadership responsibility for patient safety and quality at national level having regard to the need for a robust quality and safety function within the new delivery structures of the Reform Programme. Our intention is to establish a Patient Safety Agency on an administrative basis in 2013.

Medical Card Applications

 624. Deputy Eric Byrne Information on Eric J. Byrne Zoom on Eric J. Byrne 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 8; and if an exemption can be made in view of the extenuating circumstances of this application [54046/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible

Services for People with Disabilities

 625. Deputy Regina Doherty Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the criteria for a child to qualify for a bone-anchored hearing aid procedure and the number of children with Downs' syndrome that have benefited from it for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54068/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The decision on whether a bone anchored device is part of the appropriate management for a child's hearing impairment is a clinical decision involving audiological, ENT, nursing and other input from a multidisciplinary team in the context of parental informed choice. Cases suitable for bone anchored devices would be children with congenital or acquired hearing loss where surgery or conventional hearing aids are contra-indicated, inappropriate or refused.

  Three sites have provided Bone Anchored Hearing Devices (BAHAs) over the past three years. The main site is Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children. The other two sites are the Children's University Hospital, Temple Street and the Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore. Figures provided by the HSE are as follows:

  Cork University Hospital

  2011: BAHA procedures: 1

  (None done on children with Downs Syndrome)

  Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children

  2010: BAHA procedures: 4

  (No information on children with Downs Syndrome)

  Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore

  2009: BAHA procedures: 1

  2010: BAHA procedures: 2

  2011: BAHA procedures: 0

  (No information on children with Downs Syndrome)

  I have asked the HSE to confirm whether it has any further information on children with Downs Syndrome for the years in question.

Budget Consultation Process

 626. 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 the organisations he met in the preparation for Budget 2013; the organisations that sought a meeting but had their request declined; and the reason for these decisions.  [54080/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I did not meet with any organisations during the preparation for Budget 2013. The following organisations requested to meet with me but regrettably I was unable to facilitate them: Irish Dental Association, Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute, Asthma Society, Prosper Fingal, Construction Industry Council, Áine Collins T.D. (representing 6 Oireachtas members to discuss any proposed cuts to schools in the Budget), LauraLynn Children's Hospice, Irish Heart Foundation.

Medicinal Products Supply

 627. 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 there will be any changes to generic branded drugs legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54100/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Bill 2012 was published on the 13th of July 2012. The Bill provides for the introduction of a system of generic substitution and reference pricing. The Bill completed its passage through the Seanad on Wednesday, the 19th of September, and is currently continuing its passage through the Dáil. As the Deputy will be aware, it is possible to make amendments to the Bill at Committee stage in the Dáil.

  Question No. 628 answered with Question No. 581.

Medical Card Appeals

 629. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason it takes an average four to six weeks for a medical card file that has been refused by the PCRS in Dublin to reach appeals in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54120/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White I have asked the Health Service Executive for a report on the issue raised by the Deputy. I will revert to the Deputy on the matter as soon as possible.

Drugs Payment Scheme Administration

 630. 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 his views on reintroducing the indicative drugs target saving scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54127/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White There are no plans to reintroduce the indicative drugs target saving scheme.

General Medical Services Scheme Review

 631. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the cost of providing free general practitioner care for all newborns for one year [54135/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White I take it that the Deputy's question relates to the cost of providing free General Practitioner (GP) care to children up to one year of age. In the time available, it is difficult to provide an accurate estimate of the cost of providing a free GP service to all children under one year of age. Assuming an annual birth rate between 70,000 and 75,000 the total cost of providing free GP care to all children under one year is provisionally estimated at between €10.5m and €11.5m. I would emphasise, however, that the Deputy's proposal has not been the subject of detailed analysis and this estimate should be treated with a high degree of caution.

Cross-Border Co-operation

 632. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will outline the projects on which his Department cooperates with the Department of Health, Social Service and Public Safety in the North [54157/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly My Department is involved in ongoing North South engagement. Collaboration takes place on a wide range of health and social care issues including, for example, Radiotherapy Services, Paediatric Congenital Cardiac Services, Health Promotion, Cancer Research, Food Safety, Suicide Prevention, GP Out of Hours and Air Ambulance services. Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) is involved in cross-border collaborative working in the field of health and social care and also manages and delivers a range of activities that are being supported by   the EU Structural Fund Initiative - INTERREG IVA. The current INTERREG IVA Programme 2007 – 2013 has supported one project, diverse in nature and driven by CAWT on behalf of the Department of Health and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS). The Project involves twelve strands of activity, namely acute service, alcohol harm, eating disorder, GUM, obesity, turning the curve, workforce mobility, diabetes, health inequalities, people with a disability, independence for older people and planning for children and families. The two Departments continue to explore areas in which there is potential for co-operation and in which there is a mutual benefit for the people of both jurisdictions.

Medical Card Applications

 633. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when a decision will be made on a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; the reason for the delay in issuing a reply; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54212/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.


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