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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 517-533
 Header Item Health Services Reports
 Header Item Emergency Departments
 Header Item Transport Support Scheme
 Header Item Health Information and Quality Authority
 Header Item Mental Health Services
 Header Item Mental Health Services
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Primary Care Services
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Cancer Services
 Header Item Cancer Services
 Header Item Cancer Services
 Header Item Cancer Services
 Header Item Cancer Services
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic

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. 517-533

Health Services Reports

 517. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the status of a review being conducted into a unit (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30106/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Following reports of planned changes to midwifery led maternity service provision at Cavan General Hospital, my Department requested a full report from the National Women & Infants Health Programme. The report was expected to be completed by the end of September. My Department has written to the Programme requesting an update on the status of the report.

Once the full report is received, my Department will work with the National Women & Infants Health Programme to ensure that any additional supports which are required to secure the future of community midwifery services in Cavan, will be put in place. This will ensure that the choice of the Supported Care   pathway remains available to women attending Cavan General Hospital for maternity services and that maternity services will continue to develop in line with the National Maternity Strategy.

Emergency Departments

 518. Deputy Kathleen Funchion Information on Kathleen Funchion Zoom on Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the procedure followed when a teenager consistently presents at accident and emergency with headaches; and if a MRI scan is offered as standard procedure.  [30108/20]

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.

Transport Support Scheme

 519. Deputy Kathleen Funchion Information on Kathleen Funchion Zoom on Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the measures being put in place to address the transport issues facing many of the families which use a service (details supplied); if the service sought an additional funding allocation to address the transport issues in the service; when the current CAPs system will draw to a close; when full service will resume at the centre; and the way in which the priority system is for service users currently configured; and if all families have received correspondence regarding same.  [30109/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Anne Rabbitte): Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte 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.

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Health Information and Quality Authority

 520. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the level of national oversight that is in place and provided from HIQA and the HSE in view of the immediate medical support, advice and urgent assistance if required to nursing homes and congregated settings in which there are outbreaks of Covid-19 they can provide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30116/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Mary Butler): Information on Mary Butler Zoom on Mary Butler The Chief Inspector within HIQA maintains oversight of all designated centres through the receipt of solicited and unsolicited information and through inspections. Registered providers are required to notify the Chief Inspector of any suspected or confirmed outbreaks of COVID-19. When HIQA is informed of new or rising numbers of cases, individual registered providers are contacted to determine whether or not they have the resources needed to keep staff and residents safe. HIQA shares this information on a daily basis with the HSE’s Director of Community Operations.

If HIQA determines that a provider requires assistance, the situation is escalated to the local HSE COVID-19 response team, and to the HSE at the national level if required. Currently the most common reason for escalation is to secure additional infection prevention and control advice for centres, and less frequently to highlight concerns about staffing levels and the impact of increasing numbers of COVID-positive staff in individual centres. We also engage directly with public health and infection control advisers.

While responsibility for the provision of safe services rests with registered providers, the Chief Inspector is at all times focused on ensuring that HIQA takes whatever action is necessary to support providers to provide safe, high-quality care to residents.

On the matter of the oversight provided by the H.S.E., as this is also an operational matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Mental Health Services

 521. 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 number of patients with mental health difficulties presenting to South Tipperary General Hospital in each year since the closure of St. Michael’s Hospital in 2012, including to date in 2020; the number of patients transferred to the department of psychiatry in Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30117/20]

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

 522. 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 capacity at the department of psychiatry in Kilkenny; the number of beds available; the number of beds occupied by patients from County Tipperary; the number and percentage of patients from County Tipperary cared for in the department of psychiatry in each of the years 2012 to 2019, inclusive, and to date in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30118/20]

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.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 523. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of patients waiting and wait times, including for diagnosis, on cardiac care wait lists in County Waterford in each of the years 2017 to 2019, inclusive, and to date in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30125/20]

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 Organization.

  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.

  The data requested by the deputy concerning cardiology waiting times for residents of County Waterford in 2017 to 2019 and to date in 2020, is outlined in the documents in the following links.

  https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/debates/questions/supportingDocumentation/2020-10-13_pq523-13-10-20-a_en.xlsx">OP Waterford Cardiology wait lists

  https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/debates/questions/supportingDocumentation/2020-10-13_pq523-13-10-20-b_en.xlsx">IPDC Waterford Cardiology wait lists

Primary Care Services

 526. Deputy James Browne Information on James Browne Zoom on James Browne asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the status of the provision of a community intervention team in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30143/20]

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

Vaccination Programme

 527. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if teachers will be eligible for the free 'flu vaccine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30149/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Given the potential for the winter flu season in 2020/2021 to coincide with a resurgence of COVID, and the importance of minimising hospital attendance, the has expanded the provision of vaccination without charge to all of those in the HSE defined at-risk groups and to all children aged from 2 to 12 years inclusive.

The expanded programme will ensure that those most vulnerable to the effects of influenza will have access to vaccination without charges. By providing vaccination to those most at-risk, and those most likely to require hospitalisation if they contract influenza, it is anticipated that the programme will see a reduction in the number of influenza-related hospital admissions, as well as a reduction in the overall spread of influenza in the community.

1.35 million doses of the Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine have been ordered this year, to be made available to all persons in an at-risk group aged from 6 months up. The HSE has also ordered 600,000 doses of the Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine, which is delivered via nasal drops rather than by injection and will be made available to children aged from 2 to 12 years.

Teachers who are not covered by the publicly funded influenza vaccination programme can avail of influenza vaccination from GPs and pharmacists on a private basis. I understand that deliveries of the private supply of the intramuscular vaccine are expected to commence in the coming days.

Cancer Services

 528. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of cancer referrals in the first nine months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30150/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The HSE's National Cancer Control Programme advise that they currently collect data on electronic GP referrals to Symptomatic Breast Disease Clinics, Lung Rapid Access Clinics and Prostate Rapid Access Clinics. Electronic referrals account for over 80% of all referrals to these clinics. Data on referrals to cancer clinics for other tumour types is not currently available.

  Data for the first nine months of 2019 and 2020 is as follows:

- Jan - Sept 2019 Jan - Sept 2020
Number of eReferrals 29,855 31,154

Cancer Services

 529. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of cancer diagnoses made in the first nine months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30151/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The number of cancer diagnoses made in Symptomatic Breast Disease Clinics, Lung Rapid Access Clinics and Prostate Rapid Access Clinics in January/July 2019 and 2020 is set out below. GPs can refer patients directly to these clinics and performance is monitored monthly against agreed Key Performance Indicators. The HSE's National Cancer Control Programme advises that data on the number of cancer diagnoses in symptomatic cancer clinics for other tumour types is not currently available.

  The data is only available for January - July and is as follows:

- Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul YTD
2019 461 346 408 471 494 422 461 3,063
2020 475 433 357 238 333 433 413 2,682

Cancer Services

 530. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of cancer patients that saw a consultant in the first nine months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30152/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The number of patients who attended Symptomatic Breast Disease Clinics, Lung Rapid Access Clinics and Prostate Rapid Access Clinics in January/August 2019 and 2020 is set out below. These clinics operate in each of the 8 designated cancer centres (with a Symptomatic Breast Disease Clinic also in Letterkenny University Hospital as a satellite of University Hospital Galway). The HSE's National Cancer Control Programme advises that data on the number of patients who saw a consultant at symptomatic cancer clinics for other tumour types is not currently available.

  Data for 2020 is available up to and including August and so the figures below compare the first 8 months of 2019 with the first 8 months of 2020.

Clinic Jan - Aug 2019 Jan - Aug 2020*
Symptomatic Breast Clinics - Urgent 14,127 12,361
Symptomatic Breast Clinics - Non-Urgent 14,717 9,528
Rapid Access Lung Clinics 2,412 2,145
Rapid Access Prostate Clinics 2,670 1,983
 * The more recent 2020 data is subject to final verification.

Cancer Services

 531. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of cancer procedures by type conducted in the first nine months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30153/20]

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 directly to the Deputy, as soon as possible.

Cancer Services

 532. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of cancer surgeries made in the first nine months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30154/20]

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 directly to the Deputy, as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 533. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of critical care beds available in the private healthcare system that would form part of a HSE deal with private sector hospitals to access their capacity in the event of a lack of public capacity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30171/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly In anticipation of the projected surge in Covid-19 cases and the expected impact on the health care system a major part of the response was to urgently ramp up capacity for acute hospital care facilities. A critical element of the strategy was to put in place an arrangement with the private hospitals to use their facilities as part of the public system, to provide essential acute hospital services for the duration of the emergency. Following negotiations with the Private Hospitals Association an overarching agreement with the 18 private acute hospitals was agreed at the end of March. Under the agreement, the HSE secured 100% of the capacity of the private hospitals until the end of June. Initial indications are that the costs arising from this agreement will be in the region of €305 million euros (subject to verification).

Following termination of the agreement, the Government mandated the HSE to seek to agree with the private hospitals a new arrangement which would provide the HSE with access to private hospital capacity in the event of a surge of Covid-19 cases. Critical care capacity will be agreed as part of the negotiations, which remain on-going.

In addition, the HSE has initiated a procurement process to secure access to additional acute services and diagnostics from private providers which is required to address anticipated shortfall over the next two years. The process is likely to be completed by late October when a panel is expected to be in place. Following that, each hospital will run mini competitions for the services they need, and it is expected that those services will be in place in early to mid-November. In the meantime, I have approved a HSE temporary arrangement for the treatment of patients in private hospitals.


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