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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 593 - 613
 Header Item Health Services Staff Issues
 Header Item Care of the Elderly
 Header Item Medical Card Drugs
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Medical Card Drugs
 Header Item Mobility Allowance Applications
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Medical Card Drugs
 Header Item Home Help Service Provision
 Header Item Public Sector Staff Grades
 Header Item Eating Disorders
 Header Item Alcohol Sales
 Header Item Departmental Contracts
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Hospital Services
 Header Item Medicinal Products Supply
 Header Item Mobility Allowance Expenditure
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Mobility Allowance Expenditure
 Header Item Mobility Allowance Expenditure

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 787 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 96 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 593 - 613

Health Services Staff Issues

 593. 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 he will clarify reports that the Health Service Executive has announced a tender for 35 external leadership coaches; the proposed cost of such coaches and the budget from which this cost will be met; the purpose of such coaches; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56210/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The HSE will be undergoing radical reform in the coming years. Strong leadership and management in the health service will be of crucial importance in order to deliver on reforms and changes of this scale. As a result, the HSE is implementing a Succession Management Programme in order to strengthen management capacity.

It is anticipated that most executive coaching requirements will be delivered by qualified HSE staff. However, some additional coaching capacity is required and the HSE has tendered for such services on a regional basis. As this tendering process a matter for the HSE in the first instance, I have referred the Deputy's question to the HSE for a more detailed response.

Care of the Elderly

 594. 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 measures he has taken to close the loophole that prevents the Health Service Executive elder abuse service from legally entering non-HSE nursing homes; his views on the fact that these investigating officers have to be invited in; if he will address these loopholes in the interest in the population of our elderly; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [56211/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch Policy in relation to elder abuse is derived from Protecting our Future, the Working Group on Elder Abuse Report 2002 and the 2009 Review of that Report. The Health Service Executive's (HSE) Elder Abuse Service is comprised of a dedicated staffing structure throughout the country, unified data collection, national and regional oversight mechanisms, a research facility based in UCD and awareness and training programmes.

  The dedicated staffing structure provides for 32 Senior Case Workers for the Protection of Older People (Social Workers) and 4 Dedicated Officers for the Protection of Older People.

  The HSE's National Elder Abuse Steering Committee, oversees the HSE’s elder abuse service nationally. The work of the Committee is supported at regional level by four HSE Area Elder Abuse Steering Groups. The workings of the National Elder Abuse Steering Committee and the Area Elder Abuse Steering Groups are supported by Dedicated Officers for the Protection of Older People.

  The Deputy will be aware that, under the Health Act 2007, statutory responsibility is given to the Chief Inspector of Social Services, as part of the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), for the independent registration and inspection of all designated centres providing residential services for older people.    This regime is underpinned by a regulatory framework including Care and Welfare Regulations and National Quality Standards.

  Under the regulations the registered provider must ensure that all reasonable measures are taken to protect residents from all forms of abuse. The person in charge must notify the Chief Inspector of any allegation of abuse, suspected or confirmed, of any resident.

  In addition, all designated centres providing residential services for older people must have complaints processes and procedures in place as required by Article 39 of the Care and Welfare Regulations. The Regulations require that all designated centres must have an independent appeals process in place. In some situations the Senior Case Worker may be invited by the provider to advise or assist in an assessment of an elder abuse allegation.

  If the HSE receives an allegation of elder abuse in any designated centre the HSE should in turn report this to HIQA and to the proprietor of the home. HIQA welcomes information about any designated centre.   It records this information and the next steps the Authority takes will depend on the seriousness of the concern.

  The Chief Inspector has the power to refuse to register, attach conditions to a registration, or cancel the registration of a designated centre in the event of non-compliance with relevant regulations or standards.

  HIQA inspections

  Part 9 Section 72 of the Health Act 2007 provides for the appointment of qualified persons to assist the Chief Inspector. Senior Case Workers may be requested to accompany inspectors on inspections in accordance with Section 72 of the Health Act, 2007.

Medical Card Drugs

 595. 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 when a medical card will be restored to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56238/12]

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.

Health Services Provision

 596. 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 when a primary medical certificate and or a motorised transport grant will issue in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56239/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch 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.

Medical Card Drugs

 597. 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 refusal of a medical card on income grounds can be reviewed or set aside in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56243/12]

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.

Mobility Allowance Applications

 598. 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 monthly rates for mobility allowance that will apply in 2013 [56281/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch There is no change to the monthly rate for mobility allowance for 2013. The monthly rate in 2013 will remain at the current rate of €208.50.

Departmental Funding

 599. 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 if he will outline in detail the way it is intended to make a saving of €32 million in 2013 from other changes to primary care schemes as detailed in item C of his Department's section of the summary of measures in the Budget Expenditure Report 2013 with a breakdown of the intended saving for each measure under this heading [56283/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White Due to the very difficult and challenging economic environment the Government has committed to achieving additional savings in health expenditure during 2013 and 2014 with €781m savings targeted in 2013. The Government is committed to achieving these savings while protecting front line services to the most vulnerable to the greatest extent possible. Reductions in the cost of Primary Care Schemes will contribute €323m towards this overall savings target, as set out in the following table:

 

  Primary Care Reimbursement Service

Primary Care Scheme Savings Target
IPHA/APMI Agreement on Drug Price Reductions €120 million
Quality Prescribing Initiative €20 million
Reduce price of oral nutritional supplements €5 million
Reduce fees payable to health professionals €70 million
Increase prescription charges €51 million
Delisting products from GMS scheme €15 million
Changes in means test for medical cards €20 million
Replace medical cards with GP visit cards for persons over 70 with high incomes €12 million
Increase DPS threshold €10 million
Total Primary Care Schemes €323 million

Medical Card Drugs

 600. 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 provide an update on the medical application in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 3. [56318/12]

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

 601. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly regarding budget 2013 and its impact on home help hours and carer's, if he will confirm that there will be no cut to the home help budget in 2013 and that the budgeted amount will be restored to the 2012 level of funding, that is, the funding level before the recent cuts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56333/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch Protecting the vulnerable, including supporting older people to remain at home and in their communities for as long as possible, is a priority for this Government. The details raised by the Deputy in relation to home care provision for 2013 are being considered at present in the context of finalising the HSE Service plan for next year, which is due be published in the near future. However, as indicated in my recent Press Release concerning Mental Health and Social Care services under Budget 2013, I am pleased to re-iterate the Government's commitment to restore to 2012 levels of service the core community services of home help, home care packages and personal assistant hours.

Public Sector Staff Grades

 602. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the date on which he intends to review the salary grading structure of the public service as it affects his Department as committed to in the Programme for Government. [56387/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The revised Health Sector Action Plan (HSAP) for implementation of the Public Service Agreement includes a commitment to reduce the number of management grades in all disciplines and to rationalise management structures as hospital group structures are implemented. Management intend to engage with the relevant health sector trade unions on all measures contained in the HSAP, with a view to early implementation.

Eating Disorders

 603. Deputy Jim Daly Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the services, funding and treatments that are in place for a person suffering from eating disorders in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56408/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch HSE services for people with eating disorders are embedded in the Community Mental Health Service and in Primary Care. Individuals with eating disorders frequently present to the primary care practitioner with complications of their condition and early intervention at this level greatly improves outcomes. Community based Adult Mental Health Services receive referrals from Primary Care and provide assessment and treatment to individuals with eating disorders; Child and Adolescent Mental Health Teams provide a similar role for their cohort of referrals. Where the individual’s psychiatric or medical needs are more acute, in-patient admission is offered within the local psychiatric services or acute medical care where necessary.

As this is a service matter the question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Alcohol Sales

 604. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the action being taken to address the issue of below cost selling of alcohol in large retailers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56411/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Real and tangible proposals are currently being finalised on foot of the recommendations of the National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group report - including the recommendation on introducing a minimum price per gram of alcohol. I intend to submit these to Government for consideration and approval as soon as possible.

In the meantime, work on developing a framework for the necessary legislation is continuing. For example, in conjunction with Northern Ireland, a health impact assessment is being commissioned as part of the process of developing a legislative basis for minimum unit pricing. Scotland commissioned the same sort of assessment before it drafted its legislation on minimum unit pricing. The health impact assessment will study the impact of different minimum prices on a range of areas such as health, crime and likely economic impact.

Departmental Contracts

 605. 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 any concerns have been conveyed to him in relation to non-payment, underpayment or late payment for work done on projects funded by his Department since his appointment in March 2011. [56416/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Contracts for major works on behalf of my Department are tendered and managed by the Office of Public Works. I am not aware of any of my Department's contracts giving rise to any problems of this nature.

Health Services Provision

 606. Deputy John Paul Phelan Information on John Paul Phelan Zoom on John Paul Phelan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason the care needs of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny who is suffering from a number of physiological issues, is not being followed up by the Health Service Executive despite the fact that they are aware of his physical living conditions and health; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56427/12]

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 this question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Services Provision

 607. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of investigations and the timeframes for investigations being carried out in relation to the recent maternal death in Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56434/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly There are currently three investigative processes in place in relation to this case. The Health Service Executive (HSE) Investigation Team chaired by Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran is ongoing. The Team has not issued a timeframe for completion but its report will be completed as expeditiously as possible.

A Coroner's Inquest will also take place as is normal practice in such cases. The timing of this Inquest is a matter for the Coroner.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) is currently conducting an investigation into the safety, quality and standards of services provided by the HSE to patients, including pregnant women, at risk of clinical deterioration, including those provided in University College Hospital Galway (UCHG) and as reflected in, among other things, the care and treatment provided to Savita Halappanavar. As with all previous investigations conducted by the Authority, as the independent regulator of health and social care services, the Authority will carry out the investigation in line with published terms of reference.

The Authority will prepare a report of the findings of the investigation and make local and national recommendations as to the safety, quality and standards of services provided by the HSE, to the extent that the Authority considers appropriate. e report will then be submitted to the Board of the Authority for approval before publishing it a time the Authority deems appropriate.

Finally, all maternal deaths are notified to the Maternal Death Enquiry Ireland which conducts a confidential review of the case.

Hospital Services

 608. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald 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 Tullamore General Hospital County Offaly has lost the medical records of a person (details supplied) for the period 1966 to 1980 and that the hospital is also unable to provide details of the patients prescriptions and referrals; the action he will take to ensure that the persons medical records are returned to them in full [56439/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly 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.

Medicinal Products Supply

 609. 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 the 158 Cystic Fibrosis patients with a copy of the G551D mutation who would be eligible for the new life saving drug Kalydeco [56440/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White  The agreement provides for clearly documented procedures and timelines for the assessment of new medicines in as timely a fashion as possible.

The HSE has confirmed that it has received an application for inclusion of Kalydeco (generic name: Ivacaftor) under the community drugs schemes. The application will be considered in line with the agreed procedures. In accordance with these procedures, the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE) will initially conduct a Health Technology Assessment (HTA) which will provide detailed information to the HSE and Department on the potential budget impact of the medicine and will consider if the medicine is cost effective at the price offered to the HSE.

The HTA report will be an important input to assist decision making and is required to be available to assist the HSE in ensuring that the most appropriate decision is made. No further comment is possible at this time as the assessment process is ongoing.

Mobility Allowance Expenditure

 610. 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 if he will provide in tabular form the annual cost and number of recipients of the mobility allowance scheme in each of 2009, 2010, 2011 and to date in 2012. [56462/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch The Health Service Executive is currently collecting data in relation to the number of recipients and the total cost of the mobility allowance in 2010, 2011 and up to the end of September 2012. When the data is available the Department will forward it on to the Deputy.

Health Services Provision

 611. 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 if he will provide in tabular form the annual cost and number of recipients of the motorised transport grant in each of 2009, 2010, 2011 and to date in 2012. [56463/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch The Health Service Executive is currently collecting data in relation to the number of recipients and the total cost of the motorised transport grant in 2010, 2011 and up to the end of September 2012. When the data is available the Department will forward it on to the Deputy.

Mobility Allowance Expenditure

 612. 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 if he will provide in tabular form the estimated annual cost and number of recipients of the mobility allowance scheme in each of 2009, 2010, 2011 and to date in 2012 if the upper age limit of 66 years for eligibility for the allowance were to be in practice abolished. [56464/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch The Department accepts that significant issues have been raised by the Ombudsman in relation to the Mobility Allowance, the Motorised Transport Grant and the Equal Status Acts in relation to age limits and the definition of disability. The Department’s policy objective remains to ensure that all schemes meet the requirements of the Equal Status Acts while endeavouring to make sure that those who currently receive the allowance/grant, and rely on it, are protected as far as possible.

The Ombudsman recommended that the Department should remove the upper age limit in the circular governing the Mobility Allowance.

There are a lot of difficulties in estimating the possible costs in removing the upper age limit. Accurate figures in relation to the number of people over 65 years of age who have a “severe disability” and are “unable to walk” are limited. In addition it is difficult to ascertain the number of those over 65 years of age who would fail the means test.Indicative possible costs using data from the National Disability Survey (upwards of 59,000 people over the age of 65 have either a lot of difficulty in walking for 15 minutes or could not do it at all and therefore could be eligible for the mobility allowance as currently constituted) indicates that at a yearly rate of €2,502 the total cost of removing the upper age limit could be an additional €148m per annum. Even though those failing the means test could reduce the number of people over 65 years of age eligible for the allowance, should the definition of disability be expanded to include people with a disability other than a mobility difficulty (e.g. mental health/intellectual) then the number of people over 65 years of age eligible could increase further. Therefore, while it is difficult to predict, taking the various factors into account, the possible additional cost could, at least, be in excess of €100m.

Mobility Allowance Expenditure

 613. 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 if he will provide by year for 2009, 2010, 2011 and to date in 2012, the volume and value of settlements under the mobility allowance scheme pursuant to discrimination actions on the grounds the allowance was in practice subject to an upper age limit of 66 years. [56465/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch The Department has sought the information requested by the Deputy from the Health Service Executive. The Department will forward the information when it is received.


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