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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 271-290
 Header Item Infectious Diseases
 Header Item Dental Services Provision
 Header Item Hospitals Policy
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Medicinal Products Reimbursement
 Header Item Hospital Services
 Header Item Departmental Bodies
 Header Item Assisted Human Reproduction Services Provision
 Header Item Services for People with Disabilities
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists Data
 Header Item Budget 2018
 Header Item Respite Care Services Provision
 Header Item Medicinal Products Availability
 Header Item Counselling Services Provision

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 960 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 271-290

Infectious Diseases

 271. Deputy Darragh O'Brien Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he will provide a copy of the full case made to his Department by the applicants for the licence for the scientific study of a species (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43537/17]

 272. Deputy Darragh O'Brien Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if health risks from faecal contamination from gulls was a stated concern in a study of a species (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43539/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 271 and 272 together.

The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has previously considered the evidence pertaining to gulls and potential health risks. A number of scientific studies have looked at the specific issue of human disease and gulls (from the early 1980s on; the most recent in 2005). While there is some evidence that wild birds (including gulls) may transmit salmonella to animal feed and drinking water and by this mechanism potentially lead to human infection, the evidence for this in each instance was considered weak. Studies that have looked at the likelihood of direct spread of salmonella from gulls to humans conclude that gulls as carriers of Salmonella constitute little health hazard to human health concluding that there is only a low risk of transmitting Salmonella from either gulls or feed factories they may contaminate to humans or domestic animals.

The HPSC gathers information on the causes of outbreaks of infectious disease and for individual cases of infectious disease it collects information on individual risk factors (i.e. those factors known to contribute to disease development but not necessarily proven in the particular case being examined). A look back for the last ten years by the HPSC, indicates that out of 25,000 reported cases of campylobacter and 3,500 cases of salmonella there have been three cases of salmonellosis that could be explained by bird contact (two of these were pet birds) and two cases of campylobacter, one of which mentioned proximity to gulls. This means an association but does not mean that birds caused the disease.

In recognition of the serious and increasing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and the requirement for a ‘whole of Government’ approach to health issues, the Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) established a high level National Interdepartmental AMR Consultative Committee to address this issue. The Committee meets Ireland’s requirements to have an intersectoral co-ordination mechanism for addressing AMR at the European level.

As well as work on enhancing surveillance between the health and agriculture sectors, the Committee’s work in 2017 has overseen the development of Ireland’s first National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance 2017-2020. This ambitious 3-year Plan has been jointly prepared by the two Departments in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders and covers the use of antimicrobial medicines in animal health and agriculture, as well as human health. Following the World Health Organisation's Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (2015), which requires all countries to have a national action plan in place by mid-2017, Ireland's draft Plan lists Strategic Interventions and Activities, responsible bodies and priority rankings of timelines for implementation.

Ireland's National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance 2017-2020 (iNAP) will be launched on Wednesday 25th October next. The Plan will be launched by Minister Simon Harris TD and Minister Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine as the development of iNAP has been a cross-Departmental initiative, requiring a cross sectoral and whole of Government approach to addressing the world wide threat of AMR.

This ambitious 3-year Plan covers the use of antimicrobial medicines in animal health and agriculture, as well as human health - taking a 'One Health' approach to tackling AMR, encompassing all sectors. The Plan lists Strategic Interventions and Activities, responsible bodies and priority ranking of timelines for implementation. An implementation plan will be developed separately which will address means of tackling AMR as appropriate to each sector.

Dental Services Provision

 273. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if his Department has an input into the provision of dental services for primary school-going children (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43643/17]

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

Hospitals Policy

 274. Deputy Mick Wallace Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the sale price and date of sale of St. Senan's hospital and all associated lands in Enniscorthy; the alternative arrangements for remaining clients and staff; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43374/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As the management of the healthcare property estate is a service matter, your question has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Hospital Appointments Status

 275. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when a person (details supplied) in Dublin 7 will receive an appointment for occupational therapy; and the reason for the delay.  [43382/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.

Hospital Appointments Status

 276. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if an appointment for a person (details supplied) will be scheduled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43390/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

  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 HSE, 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.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

 277. Deputy Michael Harty Information on Michael Harty Zoom on Michael Harty asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he will direct the HSE to review its decision and the processes used in arriving at the decision not to approve for reimbursement of the drug Translarna for treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy in view of the fact that many other countries have given such approval; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43401/17]

 281. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his plans to make the drug Translarna available through the HSE for persons in view of the fact that this medication is available through the public health system in neighbouring jurisdictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43456/17]

 404. Deputy Michael Harty Information on Michael Harty Zoom on Michael Harty asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his plans to intervene in the unprecedented High Court appeal brought by a company (details supplied) against the HSE decision not to reimburse for Translarna for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy in two persons in view of the fact that this legal process will be more costly than providing the drug and may result in these two persons missing their opportunity for treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44063/17]

 405. Deputy Michael Harty Information on Michael Harty Zoom on Michael Harty asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if his Department or the HSE will work towards an interim arrangement to treat the persons with Duchenne muscular dystrophy who require Translarna here should a lengthy legal process unfold; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44064/17]

 406. Deputy Michael Harty Information on Michael Harty Zoom on Michael Harty asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the reason the HSE’s decision not to reimburse for Translarna was at odds with 22 other European countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44065/17]

 407. Deputy Michael Harty Information on Michael Harty Zoom on Michael Harty asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he is satisfied that appropriate negotiations have taken place between the HSE and a company (details supplied) ahead of the company resorting to legal action; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44066/17]

 408. Deputy Michael Harty Information on Michael Harty Zoom on Michael Harty asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his views on the fact that a High Court action is the only route of appeal available to a company (details supplied) and the lack of an independent review in the appeals process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44067/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 277, 281 and 404 to 408, inclusive, together.

  The Health Service Executive has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicines under the community drug schemes, in accordance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013.

  The HSE informed my Department of its decision not to reimburse Ataluren (Translarna) in July 2017. The HSE, in deciding not to reimburse Translarna, cited uncertainty around clinical evidence but advised the applicant that it would be open to reviewing any additional clinical evidence if any should become available. The HSE informed the applicant of this decision, in keeping with the requirements of the 2013 Act. The applicant has appealed the HSE’s decision to the High Court, which is part of the statutory process under Section 27 of the 2013 Act.

  As proceedings have now issued against the HSE, this is now subject to the Courts process.

  It would be inappropriate for me to comment on a matter currently before the Courts.

Hospital Services

 278. Deputy Michael Harty Information on Michael Harty Zoom on Michael Harty asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his plans for the development and funding of the national paediatric rheumatology services in Crumlin, which has a waiting list of 825 children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43406/17]

 374. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the competing priorities for funding (details supplied); the position regarding children with arthritis, who are waiting for two years on the list of priorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43885/17]

 375. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his plans to address a shortfall (details supplied) in care for children with JIA in the annual Estimates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43886/17]

 376. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the reason a submission by OLCHC requesting funding for the third rheumatology consultant has not been granted for the past three years (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43887/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 278 and 374 to 376, inclusive, together.

  In relation to the query raised, as this is a service issue I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly regarding the actions being taken to address waiting times for children who require rheumatology services across the three children's hospitals.

Departmental Bodies

 279. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the State bodies or boards that fall under the remit of his Department; and the number of members of each State body or board who are not qualified within the field in which the board or body has oversight. [43417/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris All members appointed to State Boards should have the appropriate competencies to fulfil their role as members on State Boards. The membership of the boards and State Bodies under my remit is normally specified in the establishing legislation for that board or State Body. Members of boards or bodies for which I have nominating rights, in line with Government Decision S180/20/10/1617 of 2014 and Guidelines set out by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, are appointed following application to the Public Appointments Service. This process results in only those candidates who are deemed to have the relevant competencies and skills to be shortlisted for my consideration for appointment as board members.

  I have interpreted the Deputy's question as relating to the regulators of health professions, where best practice would be that there should be a majority of members who are not registered in the profession which is being regulated by that Board. There are 6 Regulatory Bodies and the number of members in each who are registered professionals in the profession which is being regulated is set out in the following table.

Professional Regulatory Board Total number of members Board Members who are registrants of the Regulatory Body Other
Dental Council 19 12 7
Health and Social Care Professionals Council (CORU) 29 14 15
Medical Council 25 12 13
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland 23 11 12
Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland Council 21 10 11
Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council 17 6 11


  The Health and Social Care Professionals Council also provides the administrative support for 10 Registration Boards. The total number of members for each of these Registration Boards is thirteen, six of whom are professional members and seven non-professional members.

  The Department is currently developing new legislation to replace the Dentists Act 1985 and the membership of the Dental Council will be addressed in this context.

Assisted Human Reproduction Services Provision

 280. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if 2019 is the earliest date that public funding can be provided for assisted human reproduction; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that some persons are of the view that this may be too late for them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43449/17]

 286. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if the roll-out of IVF treatment will be widened from persons with medical cards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43478/17]

 354. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan Information on Jim O'Callaghan Zoom on Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when the subsidised funding for IVF will be available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43741/17]

 401. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when funding will be made available to couples for IVF treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43969/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 280, 286, 354 and 401 together.

On Tuesday 3 October 2017 the Government approved the drafting of a Bill on assisted human reproduction (AHR) and associated areas of research. Officials in my Department are engaging with the Office of the Attorney General in relation to the process of drafting this Bill.

In relation to the issue of public funding and AHR treatment, I intend to revert to Government by the end of this year with proposals for a potential model of public funding for AHR treatment for the Government's consideration and decision.

As the Deputy may be aware, the Health Research Board's (HRB) evidence review of international public funding models for AHR was published earlier this year. This evidence review examines the associated costs and benefits for the funder, provider and patient, the criteria for accessing the public funded service and the basis for these criteria in different jurisdictions.

An analysis of the HRB evidence review will feed into the development of policy options for a potential public funding model for AHR treatment by my officials. This policy options paper will be presented to me by the end of this year and I will then submit these proposals to Government. It is important to note that any funding model that may ultimately be introduced would need to operate within the broader regulatory framework set out in the AHR Bill.

Question No. 281 answered with Question No. 277.

Services for People with Disabilities

 282. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of an application for home support by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43457/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

As the Deputy's question relates to a service matter, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Waiting Lists Data

 283. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan Information on Maurice Quinlivan Zoom on Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the waiting times for cardiac rehabilitation in University Hospital Limerick and the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Ennis; the strategies in place to resolve these delays; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43471/17]

 284. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan Information on Maurice Quinlivan Zoom on Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if his attention has been drawn to the delays for cardiac rehabilitation in University Hospital Limerick and the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Ennis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43472/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 283 and 284 together.

  As the issues raised are operational matters, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.

Budget 2018

 285. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the amount of funding that has been allocated in budget 2018 for mental health services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43477/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly Budget 2018 made allowance for an additional €59 million for Mental Health Services for 2018. €35 million is made up of the €20 million continuing cost in 2018 of developments initiated in 2017, combined with a further €15 million for further new developments. €24 million will fund pay-related costs. In addition, the Minister for Health has committed to a further €55 million to be made available for mental health services in 2019.

This increase will result in a Mental Health Budget of €912.1 million, an increase of €200 million, or 28%, since 2012. In addition, the Minister for Health has committed to a further €55 million to be made available for mental health services in 2019.

Question No. 286 answered with Question No. 280.

Respite Care Services Provision

 287. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe Information on Kevin O'Keeffe Zoom on Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if a request for a public health nurse to call to a person (details supplied) in County Cork will be facilitated. [43479/17]

 288. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe Information on Kevin O'Keeffe Zoom on Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if respite care will be made available to a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [43480/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly I propose to take Questions Nos. 287 and 288 together.

  As these are service matters I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Medicinal Products Availability

 289. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if there have been issues for persons travelling abroad in accessing vaccines for hepatitis A and typhoid, in particular the ViATIM and Hepatyrix vaccines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43483/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has up to date travel advices on its website for people travelling abroad. For specific travel advice, including information on vaccinations you should contact your G.P. or travel clinic as the HSE does not offer private vaccinations for travellers. The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), which is responsible for the regulation of medicinal products in Ireland, is aware of supply issues in relation to Hepatitis A vaccines. These shortages are not specific to the Irish market and there are ongoing discussions at European level in relation to management of the shortages which have affected supply in a number of countries.

Based on the current information available to the HPRA, the current supply situation for the two vaccines is as follows:

- Viatim (Typhoid Vaccine, Hepatitis A Vaccine, Purified Inactivated, for Adults) - Sanofi Pasteur Europe. The company responsible for marketing the product (Sanofi) has advised that while the vaccine was recently out of stock in Ireland, it received a shipment of 10,000 units which was made available for sale in Ireland on the 10th October 2017. The company has also confirmed that at present no further shortages or supply constraints for Viatim are expected for the remainder of 2017 or in 2018.

- Hepatyrix (Hepatitis A (inactivated) and Typhoid Polysaccharide vaccine (adsorbed) - GlaxoSmithKline (Ireland) Ltd. This product has not been available in Ireland since approximately September 2016. It is also out of stock in other markets. The reason for the shortage is a combination of the company (GlaxoSmithKline) having insufficient manufacturing capacity to meet the increased global demand for Hepatitis A vaccine and also some manufacturing difficulties with the typhoid component of the vaccine. At this time, the company is unable to confirm when supply will be restored.

Counselling Services Provision

 290. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if funding of community counselling services as provided for by an organisation (details supplied) will be provided; the reason funding was refused by the lottery funding system; his plans to preserve this service into the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43492/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.


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