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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 92 - 113
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Staff Data
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Payments
 Header Item Preschool Services
 Header Item Child Protection
 Header Item HSE Staff Remuneration
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Nursing Homes Support Scheme Oversight
 Header Item HSE Funding
 Header Item Services for People with Disabilities
 Header Item Symphysiotomy Report
 Header Item Home Help Service Provision
 Header Item Medical Card Reviews
 Header Item Medical Card Eligibility
 Header Item Home Care Packages
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Lourdes Hospital Redress Scheme Extension
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item HSE Staff Remuneration

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 72 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 92 - 113

Departmental Expenditure

 92. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will provide in tabular form the moneys provided by his Department to the Food Dudes programme yearly since its inception; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54689/12]

 93. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if his Department has undertaken a value for money review of the Food Dudes programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54690/12]

 94. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his plans to extend the reach of the Food Dudes programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54691/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I propose to take Questions Nos. 92 to 94, inclusive, together.

  Scientific studies of Children’s Diet by IUNA (Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance) have shown that children’s intake of fruit and vegetables is less than that recommended. This is being addressed in Ireland with some success through the Food Dude Programme, managed by Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board), with funding from my Department and the European Union School Fruit Scheme.

  The Food Dude Programme was developed by Professor Fergus Lowe of Bangor University, Wales, and aims to encourage increased consumption of fruit and vegetables by primary school children. The programme is based on positive role models cartoon peer models (Food Dudes), repeated tastings of raw fruit and vegetables and small prizes to change attitudes and cultivate a liking for fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetable portions are provided to school children over an intervention period of 16 consecutive school days. Consumption diaries, DVD of Food Dude superheroes, small prizes, certificates and school room wall charts are also provided to maintain fruit and vegetable consumption in the longer term.

  The national roll out of the programme commenced in 2007. The EU funded School Fruit Scheme which commenced in 2009 enabled the expansion of the programme. To date, over 70% of all primary schools in Ireland have participated in the programme, with 384 schools and 63,644 children participating in the 2011/2012 school year. The EU School Fruit Scheme contributes 50% of the cost of fruit and vegetables and my Department contributes matching funds as well as the full costs of the rewards, videos and programme co-ordinators.

  The programme has been evaluated a number of times since it was first rolled out. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with high satisfaction rates being recorded amongst both parents and children. The most recent evaluation was carried out by an expert team from University College Dublin in 2011 and it showed that the Food Dude Programme has effectively increased the consumption of fruit and vegetables among the school going children that participated in the evaluation.

  The amounts contributed by my Department since 2009 are as follows:

Year Amount Paid
2009 €1,966,000
2010 €1,500,000
2011 €1,826,711.62
2012* €1,127,500
 *contributed year to date

  My Department is currently in the process in extending the reach of the Food Dude Programme to target new intake of children in schools that have already participated in the Food Dude Programme.

Departmental Staff Data

 95. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the current staffing complement in the disadvantaged area scheme office; and if there is any plans to add additional staff to assist processing applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54741/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I can confirm that the vast majority of applications under the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme have been fully processed and that adequate staff resources are in place to deal with outstanding applications. Any delay in payment is not simply an issue of staff resources. It should be noted that many applicants that are fully processed are not yet currently eligible for payment under the Terms and Conditions of the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme. These applicants have yet to satisfy the six-month minimum stocking density requirement and/or the twelve-month annual average minimum stocking density requirement of 0.15 livestock units per hectare. Payments continue to issue each week as individual cases are confirmed eligible.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

 96. Deputy Billy Timmins Information on Billy Timmins Zoom on Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will provide a statement of single payment, area based initiative, rep scheme and agri environment option scheme payment details for 2011 in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow [54818/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney A statement is issuing to the person in this case confirming that no payments were made to him by my Department under any scheme for 2011.

Preschool Services

 97. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the reason for the withdrawal of Health Service Executive funding to a preschool (details supplied) in Dublin 1; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [54729/12]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy with the most up-to-date information.

Child Protection

 98. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding emergency services for children. [54816/12]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I have received the relevant correspondence and my officials have been in contact directly with the person in question. As the Deputy will appreciate the issues raised in this correspondence must be dealt with on a confidential basis.

HSE Staff Remuneration

 99. 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 the increment that was paid to staff nurses who took on additional responsibilities and moved to the position of senior staff nurse which was discontinued in 2009 will be reinstated; if the change in the allowance was covered by the Croke Park agreement; the number that were affected; the savings that have been made; if he has had discussions with the relevant union on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54731/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Under the moratorium on staff recruitment and promotions in place since 2009, appointments to the post of Senior Staff Nurse, which had been granted after 20 years service, have been withheld since November 2009, on the basis that such appointments constitute promotion. The position has been explained to the relevant unions. This matter does not come within the scope of the Public Service Agreement. I have asked the HSE to reply directly to the Deputy in relation to the number of nurses not promoted and the savings that have been made since such promotions ceased.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 100. 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 when a person (details supplied) will be admitted to St. Clare's unit, Temple Street Children's University Hospital, Dublin, for urgent medical treatment and support.  [54596/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly As advised to the Deputy's office by telephone on 3rd December the sensitivities of this case are such that my Department is corresponding directly with the Children and Family Services Directorate of the HSE on this matter and when the information is received I will forward it to the Deputy.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Oversight

 101. 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 the progress he has made with the review of the fair deal scheme; if in this review, active consideration will be given to the role the sheltered housing provided by non-profit housing associations could play in the housing and care needs of older persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54606/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch A public consultation process to inform the review of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme concluded in mid-July. The Department will be publishing a summary report of the submissions received. I can confirm that the role of sheltered housing was raised during the consultation process. After the summary report is published, the Department will be seeking tenders through the public procurement process for the carrying out of the review.

The Terms of Reference for the review of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme are:

Taking account of Government policy, demographic trends and the fiscal situation -

1.To examine the on-going sustainability of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme,

2.To examine the overall cost of long-term residential care in public and private nursing homes and the effectiveness of the current methods of negotiating/setting prices,

3.Having regard to 1. and 2. above, to consider the balance of funding between long-term residential care and community based services,

4.To consider the extension of the scheme to community based services and to other sectors (Disability and Mental Health), and

5.To make recommendations for the future operation and management of the scheme.

As the Scheme is statutory based, the implementation of any recommendations arising from the review may require significant amendments to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act, 2009.

A considerable amount of preparatory work for the review has already been completed. It will progress within the constraints of available staff and other priorities. At this stage I envisage that the review will be completed in 2013.

HSE Funding

 102. 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 the bodies that are funded under section 38 of the Health Act 2004; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54607/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Section 38 of the Health Act 2004 provides for the Health Service Executive, subject to its available resources, to enter into an arrangement with a group or agency to provide services on its behalf. It is for the Executive to determine the maximum amount of funding that it proposes to make available in any year and the level of service it expects to be provided for that funding. I am not directly involved in decisions regarding these grants, which are determined locally/regionally within the HSE. I have asked the Executive to reply directly to the Deputy with regard to this matter.

Services for People with Disabilities

 103. 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 the funding that has been allocated in 2012 for the transfer of residents living in congregated settings into supported housing in the community; his plans in the next three years in relation to funding this transition; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54608/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch Over 3,600 people with disabilities currently reside in segregated and congregated settings. The report sets out a framework to guide the transfer of identified individuals from congregated settings to live in the community. The HSE is currently developing a national plan and change-programme for transferring these people to the community. The Government approved a National Housing Strategy for people with disabilities in October 2011, which sets out a framework for the delivery of housing for people with disabilities through mainstream housing policy, in the period 2011-2016. The Strategy was developed on a partnership basis by a National Advisory Group Chaired by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and involving the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive, local authorities and organisations representing people with disabilities

The Minister for Housing & Planning, Ms. Jan O’Sullivan, TD, and the Minister for Disability, Equality, Mental Health & Older People, Ms. Kathleen Lynch, TD, published the National Implementation Framework to support the Government’s National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability, 2011–2016 on 20th July 2012. The Framework sets out a range of priority actions to support people with disabilities to live in communities as independently as possible, by providing mainstream assessment of housing need and appropriate housing solutions. Despite the extremely difficult economic conditions, initial funding of €1 million will be made available in 2013 to support the commencement of the transitioning programme. The funding, which will be ring fenced to meet the housing needs of people leaving institutions in 2013, will enable housing authorities to provide up to 150 new homes in the community for people with disabilities.

Over the past few years, disability service provision has been moving towards a community based and inclusive model rather than being institutional and segregated. The key lessons from these Reports as well as the Value for Money and Policy Review will provide a catalyst for achieving a more effective, person centered disability service provision, in line with international best practice. The implementation of these reports will be progressed though the HSE’s National Disability Governance Group and through the National Consultative Forum. The radical change is not the sole responsibility of the Health Sector but rather, a collaborative responsibility shared between the person, their families and carers, a multiplicity of agencies, Government and society as a whole.

Symphysiotomy Report

 104. 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 when the Walsh report in relation to symphysiotomy will be issued; his plans to deal with the fall out from this treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54617/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly My first priority is to ensure that the women who have had this procedure have their health needs comprehensively and professionally met. In this regard, the HSE provides a range of services to women who continue to suffer the effects of having had this procedure. These services include the provision of medical cards, the availability of independent clinical advice and the organisation of individual pathways of care and the arrangement of appropriate follow-up.

As the Deputy is aware, my Department has commissioned an independent research report in relation to the practice of symphysiotomy in Ireland. The Research included a consultation process involving patient groups, health professionals and in particular the women who have experienced symphysiotomy. It is expected that this report will be presented to the Department in the near future. The research report will inform the Department’s overall consideration of this matter, including the consideration of any actions that may be required and possible legal implications. It would be premature for me to make any other comments at this stage on what actions might be taken, prior to giving full consideration to the recommendations of the report.

Home Help Service Provision

 105. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason home help workers in the direct employment of the Health Service Executive in County Mayo are having their hours reduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54629/12]

 106. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason home help workers in the direct employment of the Health Service Executive in County Mayo are having their hours reduced while at the same time the HSE in County Mayo is retaining a private company (details supplied) for 2,000 home help hours per month; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54632/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch I propose to take Questions Nos. 105 and 106 together.

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

Medical Card Reviews

 107. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his plans regarding providing legislation to allow for comprehensive data sharing among State agencies to underpin the medical card self-assessment system in respect of the renewal of medical cards; the timescale he is working to for the passing and commencement of this legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54633/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Department for Health is currently preparing legislative proposals to facilitate the exchange of relevant data between the Health Service Executive (HSE), the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Social Protection. This will reduce the need for medical card applicants to provide documentation to the HSE. The exchange of data will also improve the accuracy of the medical card database and payments to GPs. It is the Governments intention to have the legislative proposals passed into law as soon as possible.

Medical Card Eligibility

 108. 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 medical cards will be provided to mature students who are over the age of 25 years and return to education and have no source of income. [54636/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White Under the provisions of the Health Act 1970, medical cards are provided to persons who are, in the opinion of the Health Service Executive (HSE) unable without undue hardship to arrange GP services for themselves and their dependants. Assessment for a medical card is determined primarily by reference to the means, including the income and reasonable expenditure, of the applicant and his or her partner and dependants. The HSE has produced national assessment guidelines to provide a clear framework to assist in the making of reasonable, consistent and equitable decisions when assessing an applicant for the General Medical Services scheme. These guidelines are publicly available and can be downloaded from the HSE's medical card website.

Home Care Packages

 109. 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 person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive a decision on their application for a home care package; the reason for the delay in making a decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54637/12]

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.

Vaccination Programme

 110. 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 his attention has been drawn to the increased incidence of narcolepsy in children and adolescents in Ireland as a result of a side-effect of the Pandemrix vaccine; if he will outline his future plans to support the network of families now affected by this with particular reference to a package of supports he proposes to put in place in the coming months; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54667/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The association between Pandemic vaccination and an increased risk of narcolepsy in children/adolescents is acknowledged in the epidemiological report of the National Narcolepsy Study Steering Committee. However, causation has not been established. My priority is to ensure that children/adolescents affected by narcolepsy with symptom onset post pandemic vaccination are provided with services and supports to meet their health needs.

The HSE and the Department of Education and Skills together provide a comprehensive range of services and supports to those affected. These supports and services include access to rapid diagnosis, clear treatment pathways, temporary medical cards and reimbursement of expenses incurred. Multi-disciplinary assessments which allow for the appropriate individualised health and educational supports to be put in place are ongoing. The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) is also engaging with the HSE and with the individual schools and parents of children concerned to identify and provide educational supports for the children and adolescents affected.

Lourdes Hospital Redress Scheme Extension

 111. Deputy Michael McCarthy Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when a review undertaken by his Department on the case of the 35 Neary women who were excluded from the redress scheme in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, County Louth, will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54673/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The Programme for Government contains a commitment to seek a mechanism to compensate those women who were excluded on age grounds alone from the Lourdes Hospital Redress Scheme. My Department has been engaged in a review to identify the most appropriate mechanism to compensate the women concerned. This review has included taking instructions and legal advice, including advice from the Office of the Attorney General, with a view to bringing proposals to Government for a decision. This process is ongoing and will be concluded as quickly as possible.

Health Services Provision

 112. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9 received a bill for legal fees; and if he will clarify the legitimacy of this charge. [54674/12]

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.

HSE Staff Remuneration

 113. Deputy Paschal Donohoe Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will outline the measures to date, throughout the past 18 months, by the State to reduce costs by dental practitioners and medical practitioners in our economy in response to our economic difficulties; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54676/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White In relation to GPs, regulations made in 2009 and 2010 under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009 (FEMPI) reduced fees payable under the General Medical Services (GMS) Scheme; the Maternity & Infant Care Scheme; the Health (Amendment) Act 1996 (Hepatitis C patients); and the HeartWatch Programme, resulting in full year savings of approximately €78million. Regulations made in November 2011 reduced fees payable in respect of primary childhood immunisations (by 7.5%) and other immunisations, such as influenza and pneumococcal (by 33%), resulting in an estimated full year saving of €6.7million. Regulations made in 2009 and 2011 reduced fees payable to dentists who provide services under the Dental Treatment Services Scheme. In addition, funding for the Scheme has been capped at the 2008 level of €63million.


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