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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 295-306
 Header Item Medical Card Eligibility
 Header Item Hospitals Building Programme
 Header Item National Lottery Funding Applications
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Services for People with Disabilities
 Header Item Medical Card Appeals
 Header Item Health Services Expenditure
 Header Item Health Insurance Regulation
 Header Item Hospital Procedures

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 861 No. 1

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Written Answers Nos. 295-306

Medical Card Eligibility

 295. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans to enable over 70s whose general practitioners are non-public sector to avail of free medical card and GP cover. [46740/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch The provision of GP services without fees to persons aged 70 and over will be facilitated under the existing General Medical Services contract after the relevant legislation has been passed by the Oireachtas.

As with the existing medical card and GP visit card contracts, it will be open to GPs to choose to participate or not in the over 70s scheme when the legislation has been passed. If a GP does not hold a contract for the provision of services to persons over 70 years, the patient may obtain a list of contract holders from their local HSE office. If the patient has three unsuccessful attempts to secure a GMS doctor who will register them on his/her panel, the patient should contact the HSE, providing details of the doctors they have contacted, and the HSE will assign them to a GMS doctor within the locality.

Hospitals Building Programme

 296. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the position regarding the proposed phase 2 development at our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, County Louth which will include 90 extra beds, five theatres and an extended emergency department at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital; if all construction and fitting out costs have been included in the budget for 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46743/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Most construction projects including those of the scale of the phased development at OLOL Drogheda are completed over a multi-annual period with funding required over a similar period.

The proposal envisages, a phased delivery over a period, of a five storey block with an initial fit out of 60 beds on two floors. The remaining three floors have been designed to accommodate an expanded ED on the ground floor, a possible additional 30 beds on the third floor and five theatres and ancillary services on the fourth floor.

As with all capital projects this project must be considered within the overall capital envelope available to the health service. There will always be more construction projects than can be funded by the Exchequer. The method and timescale for the delivery of health care infrastructure is a dynamic process which is constantly evolving to take account of changing circumstances, including the feasibility of implementation. There is limited funding available for new projects over the period 2015-2019 given the level of commitments and the costs to completion already in place. The HSE is concentrating on applying the limited funding available for capital works in the most effective way possible to meet needs now and in the future.

The HSE has submitted its draft Capital Plan for the period 2015-2019 which I have approved. It also requires the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform which will be sought shortly. Although the Plan is multi-annual it requires annual approval and consent.

National Lottery Funding Applications

 297. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the details of National Lottery funding applications for community and voluntary groups for County Louth for each year since 2012; the number of applications received for each year by location; the number granted and refused; the marking scheme used; if unsuccessful applications have been advised of the reason for not succeeding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46757/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The information requested by the Deputy for the years 2012 and 2013 is provided in the tables attached. My Department is currently finalising the processing of decisions on applications for 2014 and the information will be provided to the Deputy as soon as it is complete.

  National Lottery applications are received by my Department from a range of community and voluntary organisations involved in various health related activities. The relevant Unit in my Department liaises with the appropriate personnel in the Health Service Executive to assess each individual application and consider whether the application should be recommended for funding. When the assessment has been completed and a recommendation has been made, I review each application and prioritise them according to their merits before awarding National Lottery funding. All organisations who apply to my Department for National Lottery funding are notified of my decision.



  UNSUCCESSFUL APPLICANTS 2013

COMMUNITY/VOLUNTARY GROUPLOCATION
South Louth Branch of the Alzheimer's Day Care CentreDrogheda, Co Louth
SOSAD IrelandDrogheda, Co Louth
Drogheda & District Support 4 Older PeopleThe Haymarket, Drogheda
Cooley Complex Ltd.Carlingford, Co. Louth
Lourdes Community & Recreation CentreDrogheda, Co. Louth
Dromin United F.C.
SNAP - Special Needs Active ParentsDundalk, Co. Louth
Autism Support Louth & MeathDrogheda, Co. Louth
Autism Spectrum Disorder InitiativeDundalk, Co. Louth
pYe Programme112 Ard Easmuinn Dundalk
Drogheda River Rescue47 Ballsgrove Drogheda
The Seagull Club Institute of Technology Dublin Road Dundalk
Cooley Active Retirement ClubHarbour Cottages Carlingford
St. Gerard's Senior CitizensMeadow Grove Dundalk
Holly's Horse Haven CharityHowes Hill Knocknagoran Omeath
Drogheda Special Olympics ClubBoyne Hall Slane Road Drogheda
CURA17 Jocelyn Street Dundalk


  ALLOCATED FUNDING 2013
COMMUNITY/VOLUNTARY GROUPFUNDINGLOCATION
Down Syndrome Ireland - Louth/Meath2,560Termonfeckin
Good Morning Louth2,500Dundalk
Ardee Sports Project - IWA8,500Ardee
Faughart Social Group800Dundalk
Turas Counselling Services Ltd.4,500Dundalk
The Ferrard Day Centre3,000Clogherhead
North Louth Branch Alzheimer Society of Ireland20,000Dundalk
Cooley & District Community Alert5,000Carlinford
Drogheda Community Services Trust20,000Drogheda
Le Chéile - C.D.P12,200Dundalk

Medical Card Applications

 298. Deputy Paul Murphy Information on  Zoom on  asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46785/14]

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

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has issued to Oireachtas members.

If the Deputy has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office who will follow up the matter with them.

Services for People with Disabilities

 299. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the position regarding the future of services at the St. John of God facility at St Mary's Drumcar, County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46797/14]

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 (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy. If the Deputy has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, he can contact my Private Office and they will follow the matter up with the HSE.

Medical Card Appeals

 300. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the position regarding a medical card appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46799/14]

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

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has issued to Oireachtas members.

If the Deputy has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office who will follow up the matter with them.

Health Services Expenditure

 301. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide in detail the measures that will be introduced to achieve projected savings of €95 million from the annual drugs budget as outlined in the Health Service Executive national service plan for 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46823/14]

 302. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when talks to renegotiate existing pricing agreements with the representatives of the Irish pharmaceutical industry will commence in 2015; if his Department has set a date for the conclusion of these negotiations; the top line priority outcomes of his Department from these negotiations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46824/14]

 303. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if the €95 million in projected savings outlined in the Health Service Executive national service plan published on 27 November 2014 include savings to be realised as part of revised agreements on drug pricing to be agreed during 2015 with representatives of the Irish pharmaceutical industry; if so, the amount of savings envisaged; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46825/14]

 304. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the measures his Department plans to introduce to improve the procurement of medicines in order to realise savings in the drugs budget as outlined in the Health Service Executive national service plan for 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46826/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 301 to 304, inclusive, together.

  The Health Service Executive's National Service Plan for 2015 provides for savings of €95m to be achieved from a range of initiatives including general procurement, drug costs and the continued application of reference pricing. The exact measures to achieve this saving target are still under consideration.

  The 2012 Agreement with the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) provided for a mid-term review in 2014 and this is currently underway. As the outcome of this review is dependent on negotiations with IPHA it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.

  The 2012 Agreement is a three year agreement and will remain in place until 1 November 2015. Any successor agreement will require the cooperation of the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive and IPHA.   This will be considered further early next year.

Health Insurance Regulation

 305. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if a health insurer (details supplied) will receive authorisation from the Central Bank of Ireland by 31 December 2014; if not, the extension that will be provided to the health insurer to continue to seek authorisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46827/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Government agreed in December 2011 to address the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling of September 2011 which found that Ireland had failed to fulfil its obligations under the EU non-life Directives by exempting VHI from being regulated (i.e. holding authorisation) by the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI).

Significant progress has been made since the subsequent Government Decision of 3 December 2013 towards achieving authorisation of VHI by end 2014. VHI submitted its application to the CBI on 16th May 2014. It continues to engage closely with the CBI to provide clarifications in respect of their application, and my Department has has also provided a number of clarifications to the Bank to assist them in their understanding of the private health insurance market.

The CBI is not subject to the ECJ infringement deadline which applies to the State. However, as the independent regulator, the CBI continues to assess the application to determine VHI's readiness for authorisation. It is my intention that VHI will be authorised at the earliest opportunity, upon approval by the CBI.

Hospital Procedures

 306. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when a shoulder operation will be arranged in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; if he will expedite the matter as the case is urgent and the person is on the waiting list for a considerable time.  [46837/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The National Waiting List Management Policy, A standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the Health Service Executive, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials will follow the matter up with them.


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