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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 445-462
 Header Item Hospital Transfers
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Nursing Homes Support Scheme
 Header Item Dental Services
 Header Item General Practitioner Services
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Disability Services Funding
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Health Services Staff
 Header Item Mental Health Services
 Header Item Mental Health Services
 Header Item Youth Services

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 999 No. 2
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 100 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 445-462

Hospital Transfers

 445. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if a person (details supplied) will receive a hospital transfer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29658/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Saolta University Health Care Group advise that the person in question received their hospital transfer, as requested, and is currently receiving treatment.

Hospital Appointments Status

 446. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if a person (details supplied) will receive a date for an operation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29659/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly It is recognised that waiting times for scheduled appointments and procedures have been impacted as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic the HSE had to take measures to defer most scheduled care activity in March, April, and May of this year. This was to ensure patient safety and that all appropriate resources were made available for Covid-19 related activity and time-critical essential work. This decision was in line with the advice issued by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) in accordance with the advice of the World Health Organisation.

The resumption of services from June onwards has allowed for increased activity, with the HSE utilising innovative methods including telemedicine to facilitate patient appointments. Patient safety remains at the forefront of service resumption. To ensure services are re-introduced in a safe, clinically-aligned and prioritised way, hospitals are following HSE clinical guidelines and protocols which has resulted in reduced capacity and activity

The HSE continues to optimise productivity through alternative work practices such the use of alternative settings including private hospitals, community facilities and alternative outpatient settings.

The National Treatment Purchase Fund has also recommenced arranging treatment in both private and public hospitals for clinically suitable patients who have been waiting for long periods on public hospital waiting lists.

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 is a standardised approach used by the HSE to manage scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures. It sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists and was developed in 2014 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.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

 447. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the way in which a person that is an Irish citizen that requires long term care that is resident in a nursing home in Northern Ireland can apply for the fair deal scheme and return to live here; the way in which the assessment can take place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29660/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Mary Butler): Information on Mary Butler Zoom on Mary Butler As this is an operational matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Dental Services

 448. Deputy Michael McNamara Information on Michael McNamara Zoom on Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if funding will be provided for personal protective equipment for dentists (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29665/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS) provides dental care free of charge to medical card holders aged 16 and over. These services are provided by over 1,400 independent dental practitioners who have a contract with the HSE. I understand that since the beginning of March, 155 dentists have withdrawn from the DTSS and that 50 new applications are being processed. I expect due process to be followed in respect of any withdrawal from the terms of a DTSS contract, in particular regarding an appropriate period of notice. I also expect dentists to continue to honour their ethical and contractual obligations to patients during the notice withdrawal period, to either provide a service or to ensure that patients are referred to another dentist who will provide a service. The HSE will assist medical card holders in accessing such treatment, if required.

I am aware of the difficulties that the current Covid-19 pandemic poses for the dental profession. My Department, in conjunction with the HSE, is examining the issue of the provision of PPE across all parts of the health service, including health service contractors.

General Practitioner Services

 449. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Rush, County Dublin will be without a general practitioner delivering HSE contract services; and his views on putting additional supports in place to ensure that medical card holders can access general practitioner services. [29676/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The Government is committed to the continued development of GP capacity to ensure that patients across the country continue to have access to GP services, especially in remote rural areas and also in disadvantaged urban areas, and that general practice is sustainable in all areas into the future. The aim is to ensure that existing GP services are retained and that general practice remains an attractive career option for newly-qualified GPs.

There are currently five GPs providing GMS services to medical card and GP visit card holders in Rush, Co. Dublin. The HSE has advised that one GP that has indicated their intention to resign from the GMS scheme in January 2021 but will continue to provide services until this time. The GMS panel vacancy has been advertised with interviews scheduled to take place during the first week of November 2020.

The HSE is committed to maintaining GP numbers in Rush to ensure that people living in this area have access to GP services.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 450. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of primary schools that has had a confirmed case of Covid-19. [29677/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 451. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of secondary schools that has had a confirmed case of Covid-19. [29678/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 452. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of primary and secondary schoolteachers that have contracted Covid-19 in the workplace by county in tabular form. [29679/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 453. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the process by which the members of the Covid-19 expert panel on nursing homes established by his predecessor were selected. [29681/20]

 454. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if his attention has been drawn to concern amongst those that lost a loved one in nursing home (details supplied) that a person from the nursing home was appointed to the Covid-19 expert panel on nursing homes in view of the fact that the nursing home in question had received a number of judgments of being not compliant across a range of areas in a HIQA inspection in October 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29682/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Mary Butler): Information on Mary Butler Zoom on Mary Butler I propose to take Questions Nos. 453 and 454 together.

Both myself and Minister Donnelly have received and responded to correspondence on this matter.

NPHET recommended the establishment of an Expert Panel on Nursing Homes on 14th May 2020, to examine the complex issues surrounding the management of COVID-19 among this particularly vulnerable cohort. Later that month, the Nursing Homes Expert Panel was appointed by the Minister for Health

All of the available evidence and practical experience shows that older persons are particularly impacted by the virus and nationally and internationally the challenges facing nursing homes has been specifically highlighted. Even in a context where a nursing home remains COVID free, the impacts of necessary safeguards introduced through public health measures, such as cocooning, may have clinical and other impacts. The clinical management of COVID-19 and other matters such as potentially increased frailty and deconditioning in older persons will be important considerations as we learn to live with the virus for an extended period of time.

From both a clinical and a general operational perspective, the day-to-day running and management of a nursing home in a landscape with COVID-19 has required significant adjustment both in terms of preparation and mitigation against the virus, and in circumstances where the virus has appeared. These operational considerations will remain part of the landscape for the time being. Given these issues, it was critical that the package of expertise provided by the expert panel would capture all of the skills and experience required effectively deliver the terms of reference of the group, including: Public Health expertise; track record in research and evidence based review; relevant experience in geriatric medicine; clinical, operational and nursing experience regarding nursing home care. It was also important, in line with normal Departmental policy, that the perspective of the service user was embedded in the process

These were the primary considerations in establishing the Panel. The membership of the Expert Panel reflected the requisite skills and experience.

Disability Services Funding

 455. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if additional funding in addition to the €10 million recently announced will be made available to facilitate the resumption of day services and enhanced home support services for disability service users nationwide. [29683/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Anne Rabbitte): Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte I was pleased to announce with Minister Donnelly on September 28th that €10 million is being made available in 2020 to support the resumption of day services and enhanced home support services for disability service users. As issues around the resumption of disability day services are COVID specific, funding was sought from the National Action Plan on COVID-19.

Of this €10 million, €7.5 million will increase disability day services by one day a week for over 14,000 adults.

€2.5 million will provide 210 intensive support packages to enable children and young adults to remain at home and in their communities. These intensive support packages will enable young adults with complex or high support needs to remain at home or in their communities. The packages can combine in-home supports, respite and support in the community, based on individual need.

The additional funding will further support the resumption of day services, which began to gradually resume throughout August and September. However, it should be noted that capacity in day service locations will be reduced, in line with public health guidance. The HSE and service providers will keep this measure under review and as public health guidance evolves, capacity to provide supports will adapt accordingly. Both the HSE and service providers are committed to maximising the support that can be provided within these restrictions.

Funding requirements for 2021 will be considered through the Estimates process.

Health Services Provision

 456. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if a specialist multidisciplinary team will be recruited and established to deal with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. [29684/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Health Services Provision

 457. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if decompression, fusion and re-tethering, treatments will be made available for patients with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. [29685/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Health Services Provision

 458. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if an upright MRI machine will be procured for patients with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. [29686/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Health Services Staff

 459. Deputy James Lawless Information on James Lawless Zoom on James Lawless asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if the process for the recent community swabbers positions (details supplied) will reopen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29689/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As the Health Service Executive are running this recruitment campaign, I have asked them to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter, as soon as possible.

Mental Health Services

 460. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the status of the development of a mental health crisis house at a location (details supplied); the date on which this development will go to tender; the cost of this development; if funds have been allocated; the date on which the crisis house will open; the number of patients the facility will accommodate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29695/20]

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

Mental Health Services

 461. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the person or body that made the decision that a psychiatric unit (details supplied) would be redeveloped as a general hospital rather than reopening as a psychiatric facility; the reason for this decision; the reason reopening this facility as a mental health facility was not considered; if not, the reason therefor; his plans for the provision of acute mental health beds in south County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29696/20]

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

Youth Services

 462. Deputy Neale Richmond Information on Neale Richmond Zoom on Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the reason behind the decision to cease sports for children and young persons in community clubs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29704/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The Government's Strategy ‘Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19’ sets out a Framework of 5 Levels which outline the broad measures which will apply depending on the level of the virus at any given time. The Plan is designed to help everyone – individuals, organisations and sectors – to better understand, anticipate and prepare for the measures that might be introduced to contain transmission of the virus.

  Each level contains a “basket” of measures which are intended, collectively, to contribute to lowering risk of transmission in alignment with the risk level at that time. The set of measures, individually, do not comprise a list of activities or places which are equally safe. Instead, they are “baskets” of measures which are informed by public health understanding of the disease and recognise we can and must prioritise some activities over others. There are naturally difficult choices to be made in which activities to permit.

  Sports, arts and other social activities are recognised in the Plan as being central to our well-being. At Level 3 indoor training is only permitted on an individual basis, therefore indoor sports classes cannot take place. Non-contact training is permitted outdoors, in pods of up to 15 people.

  The Plan is clear that sectorial guidance also applies and in the above case guidance from Sport Ireland should also be considered: www.sportireland.ie/covid19/sport-faqs.


Last Updated: 20/01/2021 16:44:44 First Page Previous Page Page of 100 Next Page Last Page