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White, Alex

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Medical Card Eligibility

Under the provisions of the Health Act 1970, eligibility for health services in Ireland is based primarily on residency and means. There are two categories of eligibility for all persons ordinaril...More Button

There is no automatic entitlement to a medical card for persons who have cancer. There is a provision for discretion to grant a card in cases of "undue hardship" where the income guidelines are ...More Button

There is an emergency process for a person who is terminally ill or in urgent need of medical attention and cannot afford to pay for it that provides a card within 24 hours while the normal appli...More Button

Due to the current financial climate, it is necessary to identify measures to mitigate the escalating costs of the medical card scheme for both the over 70's cohort and the under 70's cohort.More Button

The changes to income limits for the over 70's, which were announced in Budget 2013, will affect about 5% of the entire over 70's population, which is in the region of 20,000 of the 360,000 over-...More Button

At present, people over 70 are entitled to a medical card if their income is less than €700 per week for a single person or €1,400 for a couple. In line with measures announced in Budget 2013, t...More Button

  Question No. 12 answered with Question No. 7.More Button

Medical cards are not awarded to any particular group of patients on the basis of a specific medical condition.More Button

Under the provisions of the Health Act 1970, eligibility for health services in Ireland is based primarily on residency and means.There are currently two categories of eligibility for all persons...More Button

There is a provision for discretion to grant a card in cases of "undue hardship" where the income guidelines are exceeded. The HSE recently set up a clinical panel to assist in the processing of ...More Button

There is an emergency process for a person who is terminally ill, or in urgent need of medical attention and cannot afford to pay for it, that provides a card within 24 hours while the normal app...More Button

The number of persons eligible for a medical card at end-September 2012 is 1,836,689.

  The information for 2013 will form part of the Health Service Executive 2013 National Serv...More Button

New eligibility rules for medical cards for persons aged over 70 years were announced in the Budget 2013. The income thresholds would be reduced and the higher income over-70s will receive a GP vis...More Button

When the changes come into effect, the following rules for medical cards for persons aged over 70 will apply:More Button

-a single person over 70 with a gross income of up to €600 per week will qualify for a medical card and a single person over 70 with a gross income of between €600 and €700 per week will qualify ...More Button

-a couple over 70 with a gross income of up to €1,200 per week will qualify for a medical card and a couple with a gross income of between €1,200 and €1,400 per week will qualify for a GP visit c...More Button

In relation to eligibility for the standard medical card, the rules relating to a person’s spending and earnings that are taken into account when carrying out the means test will be tightened. M...More Button

Medical Card Eligibility (Continued)

The issue in regard to the inpatient charge, although related, is essentially a separate matter to the question of the discretionary allocation of medical cards on the basis of an applicant having ...More Button

At the risk of irritating the Deputy in regard to this sensitive issue, I am obliged to reiterate that there never was an automatic entitlement to a medical card for cancer patients.More Button

That continues to be the case. If the Deputy is aware of particular instances where this has not happened, we will be happy to examine them. We cannot, hand on heart, offer an absolute guarantee ...More Button

Medicinal Products Licensing

My Department has been informed by the Irish Medicines Board, IMB, that it is in receipt of a market authorisation request from a manufacturer under the European Union's mutual recognition procedur...More Button

My Department is examining how authorised cannabis-based medicinal products for patients suffering from multiple sclerosis may be legally prescribed by medical practitioners and used by patients ...More Button

The Deputy raises a very fair point. There is no undue delay in regard to this issue, on which I was briefed when I assumed office. I assure the Deputy that the matter is progressing. We have ou...More Button

We have the very best technical advice available to us both inside and outside the Department. Matters such as the Deputy raised are reviewed as they arise.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 10 and 17 together.More Button

The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) is responsible for the regulation of medicines in Ireland. It works with all stakeholders, including the industry and law enforcement agencies, to ensure as far as...More Button

IMB enforcement officers work in cooperation with An Garda Síochána and the Revenue Customs Service throughout the year to detect counterfeit and illegal medicines coming into the State and to in...More Button

Falsified medicines represent a serious threat to global health and call for a comprehensive strategy both at European and international level. The IMB is part of a global rapid alert system on m...More Button

For the last five years the IMB, Revenue Customs Service and An Garda Síochána have participated in a unified interagency operational approach in Ireland called Operation PANGEA. This is an inte...More Button

Memoranda of Understanding exist between State agencies to support this collaborative approach to combating counterfeit medicines, such as that between the IMB and Revenue Customs Service. The Ir...More Button

To date, no counterfeit medicines have been detected in the legitimate medicines supply chain in Ireland. However several instances of counterfeit medicines have been found in the UK and other EU...More Button

At an EU level, it is recognised that, as falsifications become more sophisticated, the risk to EU patients increases every year. The new Falsified Medicines Directive, Directive 2011/62/EU, will...More Button

-An obligatory authenticity feature on the outer packaging of key medicines;More Button

-A common, EU-wide logo to identify legal online pharmacies and make it easier to distinguish between legal and illegal online pharmacies throughout the European Union;More Button

-Tougher rules on the controls and inspections of producers of active pharmaceutical ingredients; andMore Button

-Strengthened record-keeping requirements for wholesale distributors.More Button

These new measures will be progressively introduced over the next few years.More Button

The public can be assured that the area of counterfeit medicines is constantly under review. The different State agencies, in particular the IMB, An Garda Síochána and Revenue Customs Service, ar...More Button

Medicinal Products Expenditure

The prices of drugs vary between countries for a number of reasons, including different prices set by manufacturers, different wholesale and pharmacy mark-ups, different dispensing fees and differe...More Button

The Department and the HSE have successfully finalised discussions with the Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers in Ireland, APMI, which represents the generic industry, on a new agreemen...More Button

In addition, the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Bill 2012, which is currently before the House and Second Stage of which was completed this week, provides for the introduction of a ...More Button

The Deputy's two questions are one. The generic substitution regime is to be governed by the legislation to which the Deputy referred. The legislation itself does not purport to arrange these sub...More Button

Second Stage of the Bill was completed on Monday afternoon and the Dáil has referred it to the Select Committee on Health. It is my earnest wish, and that of the Minister, that the Bill be exped...More Button

I hope I say this without over-extending the point. We were fortunate that we had time available on Monday, because the House was sitting to deal with other matters, and we were able to get the ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 64 and 69 together.

I have asked the HSE to supply this information and it will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it is available.More Button

Medicinal Products Expenditure (Continued)

There has been considerable progress in the broader area. On the question of the agreements with the industry, savings have been made, although not as quickly as all of us would have hoped. The a...More Button

Mental Health Services Provision

I thank Deputy Kitt for raising this issue for discussion today which I am taking on behalf the Minister of State, Deputy Kathleen Lynch.More Button

Tuam mental health services cater for the Tuam and Headford catchment areas with a population of approximately 35,000 and a caseload in excess of 800 individuals. Traditionally the service was p...More Button

The HSE makes every effort to ensure the quality and safety of all services delivered to patients and staff by keeping such matters under review. As such, an independent fire and safety review o...More Button

The HSE has formed a local steering group to assess the challenges outlined in the report with a view to closing the facility as a matter of urgency.More Button

Mental Health Services Provision (Continued)

The group consists of a cross-section of senior local mental health services personnel, as well as patient representatives. The HSE will also be liaising with the residents and their families as p...More Button

Toghermore House remains operational during this process but has ceased any new admissions since last Monday. It is also important to stress, however, that all other mental health services in th...More Button

The Deputy makes the case very well. There is no doubt that it is extremely upsetting for people, particularly at this time of the year, when they are discommoded when an event like this occurs an...More Button

I cannot say any more than what I have said by way of reply to the Deputy. I was not aware of the background or historical significance of the house and how it had been donated by the former Lab...More Button

General Practitioner Services

On Budget Day, Dr. James Reilly T.D., Minister for Health announced that the fees/allowances payable to health professionals will be reviewed under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public In...More Button

  Question No. 17 answered with Question No. 10.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 37 and 76 together.More Button

The Programme for Government commits to reforming the current public health system by introducing Universal Health Insurance with equal access to care for all. As part of this, the Government is c...More Button

Legislation to allow the Minister for Health to make regulations to extend access to GP services without fees to persons with prescribed illnesses is currently being drafted by the Office of the ...More Button

An additional amount of €15 million was provided in Budget 2013 for the roll out of GP care without fees. More Button

The Government is embarking on a major reform programme for the health system. The aim of this reform is to deliver a single-tier health service that will deliver equal access to care based on nee...More Button

Prescription Charges

I propose to take Questions Nos. 24 and 58 together.More Button

Due to the very difficult and challenging economic environment the Government has committed to achieving additional savings in health expenditure during 2013 and 2014 with €781m savings targeted ...More Button

Drugs Payment Scheme Expenditure

I propose to take Questions Nos. 30 and 34 together.More Button

The prices of drugs vary between countries for a number of reasons, including different prices set by manufacturers, different wholesale and pharmacy mark-ups, different dispensing fees and diffe...More Button

The gross savings arising from this deal will be in excess of €400m over 3 years. €210 million from the gross savings will make available new drugs to patients over 3 years. Thus, the deal will r...More Button

It is important to balance achieving best value for money for the taxpayer with assuring continuity of supply for critical medical products, particularly in a small market like Ireland. Consequen...More Button

The Health Service Executive is responsible for the administration of the community drugs schemes. The HSE has therefore been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as poss...More Button

Legislative Programme

The Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Bill 2012 was published on the 13th of July 2012. The Bill completed its passage through the Seanad on Wednesday, the 19th of Septem...More Button

Medicinal Products Prices

Following intensive negotiations involving the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association and the HSE and Department of Health, a major new deal on the cost of drugs in the State was concluded in ...More Button

The Department of Health and the HSE have also successfully finalised discussions with the Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers in Ireland (APMI), which represent the generic industry, on ...More Button

Primary Care Services Provision

An allocation of €20 million was set aside in the HSE's 2012 National Service Plan for approximately 250 Primary Care posts, including Public Health Nurses, Registered General Nurses, Occupational ...More Button

  Question No. 71 answered with Question No. 21.More Button

Drug Treatment Programmes Funding

Coolmine Therapeutic Community receives funding from my Department and the HSE to provide a range of services, including a specific residential programme targeting women, many of whom are mothers. ...More Button

Medical Card Reviews

I take it the Deputy is referring to the measure announced in the recent Budget to tighten the rules relating to a person’s spending and earnings that is disregarded when carrying out the means tes...More Button

Medical Card Applications

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

Orthodontic Services Provision

The HSE provides orthodontic treatment based on clinical need to those who have been assessed and referred for treatment before their 16th birthday. Orthodontic referrals are generally received via...More Button