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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 614-634
 Header Item Mobility Allowance Decision
 Header Item Departmental Legal Case Numbers
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Medicinal Products Supply
 Header Item Speech and Language Therapy
 Header Item Health Services Staff Issues
 Header Item Mental Health Commission Reports
 Header Item Ambulance Service Response Times
 Header Item European Council Meetings
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Orthodontic Services Waiting Lists
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Medicinal Products Prices
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Primary Care Centres Expenditure
 Header Item Seirbhísí Sláinte
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Home Help Service Provision
 Header Item Home Help Service Provision

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. 614-634

Mobility Allowance Decision

 614. 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 cost of the motorised transport grant if the recommendations of the Ombudsman's report of 22 November 2012 were to have been adopted. [56466/12]

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 Motorised Transport Grant, the Mobility Allowance 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 grant, and rely on it, are protected as far as possible.

The Ombudsman recommended that the Department should revise the definition of disability in the circular governing the Motorised Transport Grant having regard to the broad definition of disability set out in the Equal Status Acts.

To be eligible for the Motorised Transport Grant an applicant must have a severe functional disability such as an inability to walk. The Ombudsman recommends that this definition be expanded to include a very broad definition of disability which is contained in the Equal Status Acts which encompasses all conditions that can amount to a disability.

There are a lot of difficulties in estimating the possible costs of expanding the definition of disability in the case of the Motorised Transport Grant. Accurate figures in relation to the number of people covered by the definition of disability in the Equal Status Acts and the numbers who would fail the means test are very difficult to ascertain. However, the expansion of the definition of disability has the potential to result in a colossal exponential increase in the cost of the grant to the HSE. The Central Statistics Office in its publication in November 2012 "Census 2011 - Profile 8 - Our Bill of Health" identified 542,277 people aged 15 and over with a disability of which 112,502 were at work.

The Motorised Transport Grant is a Health Service Executive payment to enable a person with a severe disability to purchase or adapt a car where that car is essential to retain employment. The maximum grant is €5,020 every three years. Over 300 people receive the grant each year.

Having regard to the possible number of people that would become eligible for the grant should the definition of disability be expanded as recommended by the Ombudsman, the Department is now considering the overall position of the Motorised Transport Grant. Expansion of the definition would impose serious financial constraints on the Department, the HSE and the State generally. The recommendations, if implemented as outlined, would create liabilities that the State could not afford.

Therefore, while it is difficult to predict, taking the various factors into account, the possible additional cost could, at least, be in excess of €200m.

Departmental Legal Case Numbers

 615. 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 for 2009, 2010, 2011 and to date in 2012 the total compensation, and the associated volume of cases, paid by his Department in respect of legal actions taken on foot of the 1970 Health Act and the failure of his Department to provide places in public nursing homes. [56467/12]

 629. 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 for 2009, 2010, 2011 and to date in 2012 the total compensation, and the associated volume of cases, paid by his Department in respect of legal actions taken on foot of the 1970 Health Act and the failure of his Department to provide places in public nursing homes. [56636/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 615 and 629 together.

Public nursing home care has, in line with the policy of successive Governments since the introduction of the Health Act 1970, been provided within the annual resources available for long term care. Finite levels of resources in any given year necessitate limitations on the overall quantum of care which can be delivered, as is the case in all publicly funded health care systems.

I understand that the Deputy's question refers to settlements concluded in legal cases brought by or on behalf of individuals who received care in private long stay facilities. The facts differ significantly across these cases and each one has to be treated individually in accordance with legal advice received.

A small number of such cases have been settled in line with legal advice which takes account of the particular circumstances of each individual case. Over the period from 2009 to date settlements have concluded in a total of 21 such cases with associated settlement costs of €843,000.

Medical Card Applications

 616. 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 reverse the decision not to provide a medical card to a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56474/12]

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.

Medicinal Products Supply

 617. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will provide in tabular form for each publicly funded hospital in the country, if it prescribes or provides patients with generic or branded paracetamol as required during their stay; and if in the table he will indicate whether that hospital medicates patients with the paracetamol product (details supplied); the amount that was spent by the Health Service Executive in each year from 2007 to date in 2012 on that branded product and the total spend on paracetamol products in that period on an annual basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56487/12]

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

Speech and Language Therapy

 618. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he has considered a proposal regarding graduate speech and language therapists (details supplied) [56495/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly My Department is not aware of the proposal referred to by the Deputy.

Upon graduation from one of the recommended Irish training programmes speech and language therapy graduates are deemed fully qualified to work in the Irish health service having fulfilled the required hours of practice placements prior to graduation. Students on existing Irish programmes which lead to recognised qualifications in speech and language therapy are facilitated by the Irish health service to undertake clinical placements during the course and as part of their education and training programme. There is no postgraduate supervised practice required as a prerequisite to employment.

Irish graduates seeking work abroad in any of the EEA countries are assessed for qualification equivalence under Directive 2005/36/EC. A letter of good standing from the Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists is not a requirement under the Directive.

Health Services Staff Issues

 619. 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 in view of the Health Service Executive plan to cut 3,200 full time equivalent posts in the health service in 2013, his views on whether persons availing of the services of the HSE will receive the same service without these staff as they would if they were retained; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56496/12]

 620. 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 the Health Service Executive cut 3,200 full time equivalent posts in the health service in 2013, where will the majority of these persons be drawn from; if they will be from frontline services or from management; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56497/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 619 and 620 together.

The Government has decided that the numbers employed across the public service must be reduced to 282,500 by the end of 2014 in order to meet its fiscal and budgetary targets. The health sector must make a proportionate contribution to the achievement of this reduction.

Following the publication of the Health Estimates on 5 December, the HSE's National Service Plan is in preparation. In accordance with the Act, the HSE's service plan will set out the type and volume of health and personal social services to be provided by the Executive in 2013. The plan will also set out the net employment reduction to be achieved for 2013.

Mental Health Commission Reports

 621. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the date on which he received the 2012 Inspection Report from the Mental Health Commission; the steps he is taking to ensure that all issues raised in these reports are addressed; the timeline for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56502/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch Under Section 51 of the Mental Health Act 2001, the Inspector of Mental Health Services must visit and inspect every approved centre at least once in each year and may visit and inspect any other premises where mental health services are provided. In some cases the Inspector may decide to re-visit an approved centre where issues of non-compliance are identified.

All inspection reports are made available to, and reviewed by, the Mental Health Commission. The Commission follows up on any specific issues identified directly with the approved centre. Follow-up actions include a requirement for Statutory Compliance Reports to be furnished to the Commission detailing the corrective actions that will be undertaken to address areas of non-compliance as ascertained by the Inspector. Meetings with senior management of the Commission and the approved centre may also be required. Upon receipt of all information, the Commission makes a decision in relation to the registration of an approved centre in accordance with Section 64 of the Mental Health Act 2001.

Reports of inspections are also submitted to the Department for information purposes only and in 2012 such reports were received by the Department in May, June, August, October, November and December.

Ambulance Service Response Times

 622. Deputy Robert Dowds Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the numbers of ambulances being held up for significant lengths of time that is greater than half an hour at each of the Dublin hospitals (details supplied) because the ambulances are waiting for their trolleys to be returned; the figures for the first three months of 2012; and the length of time each ambulance has been delayed [56510/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The period that an emergency ambulance spends at an emergency department varies for a number of reasons. These include the presenting patient's condition and the complexity of the clinical handover. The HSE National Ambulance Service (NAS), as part of an ongoing work programme to address delays in releasing ambulances from EDs, has introduced named officers to liaise with relevant hospital staff and management.

The HSE Emergency Medical Programme has also developed a set of performance indicators to measure ED performance, including an indicator for the maximum time an ambulance should be held at an ED. Measurement of this performance indicator will be implemented over the coming months.

I refer the Deputy to my previous answer of 6th June 2012 to his question (Reference Number 26172/12) and the information remains the same.

European Council Meetings

 623. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the formations of the EU Councils of Ministers on which he sits; the number of meetings of that Council held from 9 March 2011 to date in 2012; the number of those meetings he attended; the number attended by a Minister of State; the number attended by an Irish official; and if he will provide the names of those who attended in tabular form. [56549/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly These Councils are normally held four times a year over two days, with health items being dealt with at two of these meetings held in June and December. Since March 2011, the EPSCO Council met on seven occasions, four of which dealt with health items. I attended three of those meetings and the Irish Deputy Permanent Representative attended the other meeting as Head of the Irish Delegation.

  The attendance information requested by the Deputy is set out in the table as follows:

Date and meeting
Venue
Head of Delegation
Council of Ministers meeting 6th June 2011
Luxembourg
Ms Geraldine Byrne Nason (Deputy Permanent Representative)
Council of Ministers meeting 1st & 2nd December 2011
Brussels
Minister James Reilly
Council of Ministers meeting 21st & 22nd June
Luxembourg
Minister James Reilly
Council of Ministers meeting 6th & 7th December 2012
Brussels
Minister James Reilly

Medical Card Applications

 624. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason a medical card was removed and refused on reapplication in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56560/12]

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.

Orthodontic Services Waiting Lists

 625. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when a person (details supplied) in County Laois will receive orthodontic treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56568/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The HSE provides orthodontic treatment to patients based on their level of clinical need. An individual's access to orthodontic treatment is determined against a set of clinical guidelines and priority is given to patients with greatest needs. The HSE has been asked to examine the specific query raised by the Deputy and to reply to him as soon as possible.

Health Services Provision

 626. Deputy Robert Dowds Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will consider providing regular bone density scans to at risk groups to allow early diagnosis and monitoring of osteoporosis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56592/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Medicinal Products Prices

 627. Deputy Robert Dowds Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will provide an update on his efforts to reduce the price of prescription medications; and if he will provide an estimate of when he anticipates that many price cuts to medication will take effect [56593/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White Following intensive negotiations involving the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA), the HSE and the Department of Health, a major new deal on the cost of drugs in the State was concluded in October last. It will deliver a number of important benefits, including

- significant reductions for patients in the cost of drugs,

- a lowering of the drugs bill to the State,

- timely access for patients to new cutting-edge drugs for certain conditions, and

- reducing the cost base of the health system into the future.

  The gross savings arising from this deal will be in excess of €400m over 3 years. €210 million from the gross savings will make available new drugs to patients over 3 years. Thus, the deal will result in a net reduction in the HSE expenditure on drugs of about €190m.

  The Department of Health and the HSE have also successfully finalised discussions with the Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers in Ireland (APMI), which represent the generic industry, on a new agreement to deliver further savings in the cost of generic drugs. It is estimated that the combined gross savings from the IPHA and APMI deals will be in excess of €120 million in 2013.

  Price reductions for some products came into effect on the 1st of November 2012. Reductions in the prices of further products will follow on the 1st of January 2013.

Vaccination Programme

 628. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when he intends making a statement in relation to narcolepsy including the proposed actions to be taken to support the sufferers of this condition and their families in view of the promises made in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56620/12]

 655. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when he will being a memorandum outlining the package of supports being put in place for those who have acquired narcolepsy and associated conditions due to inoculation with pandemrix; when it will be published for the information of Members; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56924/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 628 and 655 together.

My priority is to ensure that those 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.

I am committed to bringing a Memorandum to Government setting out the full response to the issue.

  Question No. 629 answered with Question No. 615.

Primary Care Centres Expenditure

 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 if the funding is being provided for primary care schemes in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56642/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The allocation to Primary Care will be determined in the context of the HSE Service Plan for 2013, which is still under preparation.

Seirbhísí Sláinte

 631. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Sláinte Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly cén fáth nach bhfuil vacsaín BCG ar fáil do pháistí nuabheirthe i gContae na Gaillimhe nuair atá an vacsaín ar fáil do pháistí nuabheirthe i gcontaetha eile timpeall na tíre; an bhfuil sé i gceist aige socruithe a chur i bhfeidhm leis an vacsaín BCG a chur ar fáil do pháistí nuabheirthe i gContae na Gaillimhe; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [56652/12]

: Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Molann an An Coiste Comhairleach Imdhíonadh Náisiúnta (CCIN) polasaí vacsaín BCG uilíoch a bheith i bhfeidhm. Le blianta fada anuas, tugtar vacsaín BCG do pháistí bunscoile i réigiúin Iarthair na Feidhmeannachta Seirbhíse Sláinte (FSS) i ranganna 5 agus 6 agus do pháistí nuabheirthe sna hearnála “i mbaol”. Leantar leis an gcleachtas seo, atá éifeachtach maidir le torthaí, le comhaontú an CCIN. Is í 2010 an bhliain is déanaí faoina bhfuil figiúirí bailíochtaithe le haghaidh eipidéimeolaíocht eitinne in Éirinn ar fáil. I 2010, b’é 10.1 as 100,000 an ráta náisiúnta minicíochta eitinne sa daonra (ráta a réisigh ó 5.1 i réigiún Iarthair na FSS go 14.5 sa Deisceart). B’í 41.4 bliana an aois meánach do chásanna eitinne fógartha.

Medical Card Applications

 632. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason a medical card was refused in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56654/12]

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

 633. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if an appeal for the reinstatement of home help service hours in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow will be reinstated to its original position before a review was carried out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56658/12]

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.

Home Help Service Provision

 634. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when additional home help will be provided in respect of a person (details provided) in County Carlow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56672/12]

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.


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