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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 656-677
 Header Item Drugs Payment Scheme Administration
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Medical Card Reviews
 Header Item Home Help Service Provision
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Departmental Reports
 Header Item Tax Code
 Header Item Calorie Posting on Menus
 Header Item Medicinal Products Licensing
 Header Item Health Insurance Claims
 Header Item Medical Cards
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Departmental Agencies Board Remuneration
 Header Item Departmental Agencies Board Remuneration
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item Public Transport Provision
 Header Item National Lottery Funding 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. 656-677

Drugs Payment Scheme Administration

 656. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if there are any regulations or restrictions in place for the drugs payment scheme that prevent a patient from obtaining two months supply of their prescription in any one month period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54416/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White Under the Drug Payment Scheme (DPS), 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. The Health Service Executive Primary Care Reimbursement Service which is responsible for reimbursing community pharmacists under the DPS, advised all community pharmacists in 1999 on the establishment of the DPS that no more than 12 payments should be made in a year.

Medical Card Applications

 657. 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 If he will expedite an application for a medical card in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54418/12]

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.

Medical Card Applications

 658. 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 reason a person (details supplied) has been refused a medical card. [54426/12]

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.

Medical Card Reviews

 659. 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 reason a medical card has been revoked in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54429/12]

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.

Home Help Service Provision

 660. 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 the position regarding home help hours in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54433/12]

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.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 661. 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 the position regarding an operation in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; if she will expedite this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54437/12]

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.

Health Services Provision

 662. Deputy Gerald Nash Information on Gerald Nash Zoom on Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if his Department and the Health Service Executive have any plans to establish specialist facilities for the treatment and support of children with Ehler's Danios syndrome; if he will provide details of the number of children here with EDS; the services available on a multidisciplinary basis here; the financial supports available to allow patients to access services and interventions on an ongoing basis abroad; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54440/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly In relation to the query raised by the Deputy, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.

Departmental Reports

 663. 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 when he will publish the report on health spending commissioned from the World Health Organisation and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies; the conclusions of the report; his views on the conclusions; the action he will take on foot of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54443/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly My Department invited the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, an international partnership hosted by the World Health Organisation, to prepare a report on the implications for the Irish health system of our current financial pressures. The report in question “Health system responses to financial pressures in Ireland: policy options in an international context” has been published and is available on the Department’s website, www.doh.ie. The report deals with, among other things, the approaches taken to date in relation to achieving efficiencies; the timing of further savings; the implications of demographic trends, including an ageing population; and the challenge of avoiding serious disruption to the system while engaging in extensive health reform. I believe that the report is timely, and it is a valuable contribution to budgetary discussions and service planning for 2013.

Tax Code

 664. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his views, in view of the increase in obesity and the associated negative health effects on the introduction of a tax on sugar sweetened beverages, some of which contain a person's entire World Health Organisation recommended daily allowance of sugar in one single portion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54446/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Given the increases in obesity, especially in children and teenagers, and the links between obesity and chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk. I am considering a range of measures to halt this increase. I am aware that is evidence that Sugared Sweetened Drinks contribute to weight gain because of their high added sugar content, low satiety, and potential incomplete compensation for total energy, leading to increased energy intake. The World Health Organisation has serious concerns over the high and increasing consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks by children in many countries. Children who drink one regular carbonated drink a day have an average 10% more total energy than non-consumers. It has been estimated that each additional can or glass of sugar-sweetened drink that children consume every day increases the risk of becoming obese by 60%.

For these reasons, I have been considering a Sugar Sweetened Drinks levy and the need to provide an evidence base. I asked my Department to establish a Steering Group to oversee the carrying out a Health Impact Assessment on the health and economic aspects of introducing a Sugar Sweetened Drinks levy. The Health Impact Assessment Report has been completed and was presented to me recently by the Special Action Group on Obesity. I am considering the results of the Health Impact Assessment and recommendations of the Special Action Group on Obesity and am using them as part of the decision making process regarding any possible introduction of a levy on sugar-sweetened drinks.

Calorie Posting on Menus

 665. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if, in view of the increasing significance of the obesity issue, consideration will be given to introducing regulations which will make the publication of nutritional information, such as calorie amounts, obligatory on food and beverage menus particularly as many forward thinking restaurants and eateries have already done so thereby disproving the objections of others; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54447/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Given the increases in obesity, especially in children and teenagers, and the links between obesity and chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk. I am considering a range of measures to halt this increase. I established a Special Action Group on Obesity in 2011 and one of the measures being pursued at the moment is Calorie Posting on menu boards in fast food restaurants and coffee shops. The Special Action Group on Obesity identified this as a priority action which could have a positive impact in addressing the problem of our rising levels of overweight and obesity.

  In October 2011 and January 2012, I wrote to Fast Food chains and sandwich bars operating in Ireland to request that they introduce calorie posting in their restaurants and sandwich bars as quickly as possible. I have met with a number of these organisations and they, along with others, are now providing calories on menus. To take this initiative further, the Department of Health commissioned the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) to conduct a public consultation on the introduction of calorie posting on fast food outlet and restaurant menus. The consultation process shows that both the general public and the food outlets were positive about this initiative.

  Work is ongoing and the FSAI are currently looking at options on how best to support food outlets in calculating calories on dishes that appear more than 30 days on menus. An assessment is under way and this is being facilitated by the FSAI. The Special Action Group on Obesity will then consider progress in this area and make a recommendation to me regarding next steps.

Medicinal Products Licensing

 666. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will report on the progress made of introducing the medical product, Sativex, which is used to treat the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and which has passed through all stages of the European mutual recognition procedures; and if he will outline when this product may be available to citizens here with MS  [54448/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White My Department has been informed by the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) that it is in receipt of a market authorisation request from a manufacturer under the EU Mutual Recognition Procedure for a medicinal product containing Cannabis extract. This product is indicated for the relief of symptoms of spasticity for people with multiple sclerosis. Department officials have been engaging with experts on how best to legally describe authorised cannabis-based medicinal products so that they may be prescribed to patients in Ireland while maintaining existing controls on cannabis and cannabis substances similar to those that apply to other controlled drugs that can be misused. It is hoped to bring forward legislative proposals in early 2013.

  Question No. 667 answered with Question No. 581.

  Question No. 668 answered with Question No. 560.

Health Insurance Claims

 669. Deputy Willie O'Dea Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when the Health Service Executive will confirm insurance payment issues in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54490/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I understand that this issue concerns the payment of maternity costs arising for a private patient at Limerick Maternity Hospital. My Department has referred the matter to the HSE for examination and a reply will issue directly to the Deputy.

Medical Cards

 670. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if a medical card will be reinstated in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54496/12]

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.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 671. Deputy Dan Neville Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will respond to reports (details attached) that more than 23,000 persons are awaiting up to four years to see a consultant at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54544/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly A priority action for the HSE has been the development and implementation of standardised reporting for outpatient access through the HSE Outpatient Data Quality Programme. This has enabled reporting of Outpatient Waiting Lists from January 2012. Subsequently, waiting times have been published on www.hse.ie each month as part of the HSE Performance Reports. The latest HSE Performance Report for September 2012 shows that the total number of patients waiting for a first time outpatient appointment, as of 18th October is 385,462, 71.1% of whom are waiting less than 12 months.

Building on the work done by the HSE, the National Treatment Purchase Fund has now taken over the collection of outpatient waiting time data. Its methodology replicates the approach taken with the collection of inpatient and day case waiting times. The collation and analysis of outpatient waiting time data in a standardised format, revealing the distribution of long waiters across all hospitals, allows the SDU and the NTPF, in the first instance, to target their resources towards those patients who are waiting longest and ensure that they are seen and assessed. Over the course of 2013-2015 the HSE together with the SDU and the HSE Clinical Programmes intends to radically reform the structure, organisation and delivery of outpatient services to ensure that the right patient is seen and assessed by the right health professional at the right time. Key elements of this large programme of reform will include on-going validation of waiting lists, the systematic and standardised management of referrals from primary care, a reduction in unacceptably high ‘do not attend’ rates and appropriate discharging from outpatient services when clinically appropriate to do so.

A maximum waiting time target of 12 months for a first time outpatient appointment by 30 November 2013, 26 weeks by 30 November 2014 and 13 weeks by Nov 2015 are the goals for the HSE and the SDU. In relation to the particular issue raised by the Deputy, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy.

  Question No. 672 answered with Question No. 597.

Departmental Agencies Board Remuneration

 673. Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide in tabular form all payments made to board members of the National Transport Authority including payments, salaries, expenses, mileage, and other allowances and so on since the 1 of January 2012. [53705/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Departmental Agencies Board Remuneration

 674. Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if board members of the National Transport Authority are required to provide receipts when claiming expenses; the number of board members of the National Transport Authority who make regular use of public transport such as Dublin Bus, Luas and/or DART; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53706/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Proposed Legislation

 675. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when the taxi Bill will be published and when it will be introduced into Dáil Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53735/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly The Government gave its approval for the publication of the Taxi Regulation Bill 2012 and for its presentation to Seanad Eireann. The Bill will be published shortly with commencement of the first and second stages in the Seanad scheduled in the coming weeks.

Public Transport Provision

 676. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Buncrana, County Donegal is not serviced by Bus Éireann; and his plans to address this matter. [53740/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The provision of services by Bus Éireann is a matter for the company in conjunction with the National Transport Authority (NTA). I have referred the Deputy's question to company for direct reply. I have also referred the question to the NTA in relation to the licensing of bus services generally in the Buncrana area. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

National Lottery Funding Applications

 677. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the criteria in respect of grants from the National Lottery. [53816/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring Grants under the Sports Capital Programme are partially funded by the National Lottery. All applications received under the 2012 Sports Capital Programme were first checked to ensure eligibility and then eligible applications were initially assessed against the following criteria (the final 4 criteria only apply to regional and national projects):

Selection Criteria
Increase in the levels of active participation/ improved standards of sporting performance, especially among women and older citizens
Level of socio-economic disadvantage in the area
Technical merits of the project
Financial viability of project
Level of own funding available
Extent to which applicant will be able to maintain project after completion
Current and planned levels of sport and/or recreational sport facilities in the area
Current or proposed sharing of facilities with other sporting groups or schools
Level of SCP (or other Government) funding received in the past
Strategies to be used to attract people from disadvantaged areas
Priority of proposed improvements/ facility in relation to existing facilities
Priorities as identified by the NGB (national/regional projects only)
Priority as identified by the Irish Sports Council (NGB and third level only)
Location of facility within the network of national, regional and municipal facilities (non-local projects only)
Linkages with Local Authorities Swimming Pools Programme (municipal multi-sport only)
  

In deciding the final allocations of funding to local projects within each county I had regard to a number of additional factors, including: the performance of each application during the assessment process; ensuring a geographic spread of projects within each county; ensuring an appropriate spread of projects between rural and urban areas within each county; and ensuring that there is a spread of projects among different sports.


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