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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 690-713
 Header Item Nursing Homes Support Scheme Review
 Header Item Home Help Service Data
 Header Item Home Help Service Data
 Header Item Health Services Staff
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Hospital Staff
 Header Item HSE Staff
 Header Item Home Help Service Provision
 Header Item Audiology Services Provision
 Header Item Hospital Staff
 Header Item Hospital Services
 Header Item Health Services Staff Data
 Header Item Health Services Funding
 Header Item Home Care Packages Provision
 Header Item Hospital Staff
 Header Item Food Labelling

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 970 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 120 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 690-713

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Review

 690. Deputy Peter Burke Information on Peter Burke Zoom on Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of progress regarding the fair deal scheme in respect of farm assets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24698/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly A review of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS) was published in July 2015. Arising out of the review, a recommendation was made to examine the treatment of business and farm assets for the purposes of the financial assessment element of the scheme. The Programme for a Partnership Government also committed to reviewing the NHSS to remove any discrimination against small businesses and family farms.

At present, the capital value of an individual's principal private residence is only included in the financial assessment for the first three years of their time in care. This is known as the three year cap. This cap does not apply to productive assets such as farms and businesses, except in cases of sudden illness or disability where specific conditions are met.

It is proposed to amend the scheme to treat farm and business assets in the same manner as the principal private residence where a family successor commits to working the farm or business, i.e. to cap contributions at three years.

The Department of Health has been examining the potential for changes to the treatment of business and farm assets under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme. Any changes to the scheme, if approved by Government, will require amendment of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009.

A Memorandum for Government setting out the details of the proposed policy change and seeking Government approval to draft the General Scheme of a bill to amend the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009 has been circulated to other Government Departments for observations.

Home Help Service Data

 691. Deputy Peter Burke Information on Peter Burke Zoom on Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of persons in counties Roscommon and Galway in receipt of home help support; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24700/18]

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.

Home Help Service Data

 692. Deputy Peter Burke Information on Peter Burke Zoom on Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of persons in counties Roscommon and Galway, respectively, on the waiting list for home help support; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24701/18]

 693. Deputy Peter Burke Information on Peter Burke Zoom on Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of home help hours allocated to counties Roscommon and Galway in each of the years from 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018. [24702/18]

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. 692 and 693 together.

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

Health Services Staff

 694. Deputy Frank O'Rourke Information on Frank O'Rourke Zoom on Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if consideration has been given to appointing a dietician for north County Kildare, specifically as a support service for children with autism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24710/18]

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 service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Appointments Status

 695. 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 a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24711/18]

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 the Deputy directly.

Hospital Appointments Status

 696. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of an appointment for a person (detail supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24717/18]

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 the Deputy directly.

Hospital Staff

 697. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the progress being made to allocate additional advanced nurse practitioners to deliver adult and children's diabetes care services at Letterkenny University Hospital and Sligo University Hospital; when the additional posts are likely to be filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24745/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service issue, I have asked the HSE to reply to you directly. 

HSE Staff

 698. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if there is a recruitment embargo in operation for HSE south; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24761/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly on this matter.

Home Help Service Provision

 699. Deputy James Browne Information on James Browne Zoom on James Browne asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the position regarding the provision of home help or home care packages when a person (details supplied) is below 65 years of age but suffers from various diseases, including partial blindness and multiple sclerosis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24766/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath The Health Service Executive (HSE) is committed to protecting the level of Personal Assistant and Home Support services to persons with disabilities.  In the 2018 National Service Plan, the HSE's priority is to provide 1.46 million hours of personal assistance to more than 2,000 persons with a disability, representing an increase of 60,000 hours over the 2017 target of 1.4 million hours.  The HSE will also provide 2.93 million hours of Home Support to 7,447 adults and children with disabilities, representing an increase of 180,000 hours over the 2017 target of 2.75 million hours.

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.

Audiology Services Provision

 700. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris further to Parliamentary Question No. 187 of 17 May 2018, if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the position of at least some families is that they were not communicated with appropriately or kept informed. [24770/18]

 710. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris further to Parliamentary Question No. 187 of 17 May 2018, if his attention has been drawn to the fact that as of 24 May 2018 the chairman of the incident group was unable to give a date for the release of the report and that it was still being finalised as of that date; and when the report will be released, in view of the fact that it was to have been published in the week beginning 21 May 2018. [24798/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 700 and 710 together.

The HSE's Report of the look-back Review of Audiology Services in Mayo & Roscommon has been finalised and was sent to families on 8 June 2018.

The HSE has advised that families affected were informed that the audit was taking place and verbally advised as to the reasons why. The final Report and accompanying communication includes an apology from the HSE for the failures identified and for the anxiety that this has caused to families and those who may have been harmed.

It also includes an invitation to the parents of children affected to meet with a HSE senior manager and a senior audiologist to discuss the finding of the Report and to be updated on their child's care.

The HSE has confirmed that all 49 children who needed follow-up as a result of the look-back process are either currently receiving or have already received the appropriate care they need.

The look-back report represents a thorough analysis of the quality of service delivery in the area against the standards for such services that were set out in the National Audiology Review Group Report (2011). Since 2011, the recommendations of this Report, including clinical governance and quality assurance processes, have been the benchmark for the quality of service delivery throughout the country.

It is appropriate that our health service strives continually to improve the quality of the services it provides and promotes a culture of learning where shortcomings are identified. My priority in relation to the families and children who have been impacted by the findings of this look-back is that the HSE takes swift action, including the provision of appropriate care, and I am satisfied that this has been done in this case.

Hospital Staff

 701. 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 when the persons appointed to the two ANP posts confirmed for diabetes care in County Donegal will take up their posts. [24775/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service issue, I have asked the HSE to reply to you directly. 

Hospital Services

 702. 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 County Donegal has the requisite numbers of adults and children with diabetes types 1 and 2 to merit the locating of a centre of excellence for diabetes care at Letterkenny University Hospital. [24776/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service issue, I have asked the HSE to reply to you directly. 

Health Services Staff Data

 703. 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 the number of nursing staff at Buncrana nursing unit, County Donegal in comparison to 2016 and 2017; and if all beds within the unit are operational. [24777/18]

 704. 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 the number of nursing staff at Carndonagh Community Hospital, County Donegal, in comparison to 2016 and 2017; and whether all beds in the hospital are operational. [24778/18]

 705. 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 the number of nursing staff at Ramelton nursing unit, County Donegal, in comparison to 2016 and 2017; and whether all beds in the unit are operational. [24779/18]

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. 703 to 705, inclusive, together.

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

Health Services Funding

 706. 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 the way in which the €1 million allocated in budget 2018 for the Sláintecare implementation office has been spent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24780/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Funding for Sláintecare related initiatives in Budget 2018 included €1 million for the Sláintecare Programme Office. This is allocated for expenditure during 2018, and will be used to cover costs relating to the Sláintecare Programme Office when it is established, including staffing costs. No Programme Office expenditure has been incurred to date in 2018.

The appointment of an Executive Director for the Sláintecare Programme Office will be made shortly.

Home Care Packages Provision

 707. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if a home care package will be facilitated in the case of a person (details supplied); if this case will be facilitated at an early date in view of the anxiousness of their family to have them home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24789/18]

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.

Hospital Staff

 708. Deputy Willie O'Dea Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his views on the state of industrial relations in the University Limerick hospital group, especially at the hospital in Dooradoyle; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24793/18]

 709. Deputy Willie O'Dea Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the reason the HSE has failed to deal with an employee of the HSE at University Hospital Limerick (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24796/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 708 and 709 together.

The Department is aware that an individual case is being investigated locally in University Hospital Limerick (UHL) in line with the HSE's Dignity at Work Policy.  It is understood that details of investigators and draft Terms of Reference have been sent to the individual and their representative.

In relation to the general industrial relations climate at this location, it is understood that the hospital is engaged in process with the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) Advisory services, along with the trade union SIPTU.  This is with a view to the WRC making recommendations to improve IR/HR relationships between the parties at this location.

Question No. 710 answered with Question No. 700.

Food Labelling

 711. 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 his Department has been consulted on proposed EU comments on draft Codex guidelines on the use of front of pack nutrition labelling; if his Department has received a request to send DG SANTE an update of an earlier survey sent out in the context of the REFIT evaluation of the nutrition and health claims regulation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24799/18]

 712. 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 his Department will be represented at the second meeting on front of pack nutrition labelling, which will take place at the end of June 2018 or early in July 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24800/18]

 713. 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 his plans to meet stakeholders on the use of front of pack nutrition labelling as part of the European Commission's work under way on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24801/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): Information on Catherine Byrne Zoom on Catherine Byrne I propose to take Questions Nos. 711 to 713, inclusive, together.

  Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers (FIC) requires the European Commission to adopt a report on the use of additional forms of expression and presentation of the nutrition declaration, their effect on the internal market, and the advisability of further harmonisation in this field.  Such additional forms of expression are commonly referred to as “front of pack” (FOP) nutrition labelling.  A number of such schemes are already in operation within EU Member States.

  The Commission has postponed adoption of a report until the end of 2018, in order to consider the technical aspects related to FOP nutrition labelling and to examine, discuss and consider the experience to date in the adoption of such FOP schemes and their usefulness to the consumer.

  To that end, the European Commission convened a joint meeting between Member States, the Commission and multiple stakeholders on FOP nutrition labelling.  This took place on 23 April 2018.  The agenda, meeting summary and copies of the presentations are available on the Commission’s website at the following website:

  ec.europa.eu/food/expert-groups/ag-ap/adv-grp_fchaph/wg_2018

  An invitation has since been received from the Commission to attend a second joint meeting which is scheduled to take place in Brussels on 22 June.  The detailed agenda and papers for this meeting are awaited.  The meeting will be attended by officials from my Department and/or the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).

  At the meeting on 23 April, the Commission stated that Member States will receive a request to send DG SANTE any update of an earlier survey sent out in the context of the REFIT evaluation of the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation.  My Department, in consultation with the FSAI, will respond when the request is received.

  As regards FOP proposals generally, it is normal practice for the Department, in collaboration with the FSAI, to consider the views of stakeholders as appropriate.  It should be noted that the overall aim of any FOP nutrition information is that it should be of practical use and benefit to consumers.


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