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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 634-655
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Hospital Accommodation
 Header Item Addiction Treatment Services
 Header Item Hospital Staff Issues
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Mental Health Services Report
 Header Item Services for People with Disabilities
 Header Item Audiology Services
 Header Item Medical Aids and Appliances Applications
 Header Item Home Help Service Provision
 Header Item Hospital Services
 Header Item Home Help Service Provision
 Header Item Medical Card Drugs
 Header Item Drugs Task Forces
 Header Item Compensation Tribunals
 Header Item Child Access and Visitation Rights
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Cross-Border Co-operation
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Care of the Elderly
 Header Item Ambulance Service Provision

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 634-655

Medical Card Applications

 634. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when a decision will issue on a medical card renewal application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54213/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible

Medical Card Applications

 635. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when a decision will issue on a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; the reason for the delay in issuing a reply; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54214/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible

Hospital Accommodation

 636. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he has plans to refurbish the ear, nose and throat department of Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54235/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Any proposal to refurbish the ear, nose and throat department at Beaumont Hospital must be considered in the context of the HSE's multi-annual capital programme. The HSE is required to prioritise capital infrastructure projects within its overall capital funding allocation taking into account the existing capital commitments and costs to completion over the period. Work on the draft Capital Plan for the next multi-annual period 2013-2017 is under way and will be submitted to my Department in due course. My Department will then review the proposals and follow up with the HSE where further details may be required. The draft Capital Plan 2013-2017 will require my approval with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

Addiction Treatment Services

 637. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will make provision in Budget 2013 for adequate capital funding to enable the proposed extension to the Talbot Grove Addiction Treatment Centre, Castleisland, County Kerry, to proceed, and ensure that the facility can continue to provide and enhance the existing service it has provided to thousands of people; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54262/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White I am advised that the centre referred to by the Deputy is funded by the HSE. As the provision of capital funding for this facility is a service related matter, it has been referred to the HSE for a direct reply.

Hospital Staff Issues

 638. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the required complement of radiographers to satisfy the needs of Kerry General Hospital; the cost of employing each radiographer on a fixed term contract directly per annum by the Health Service Executive at the bottom of the scale versus the cost at which the HSE is paying to agencies for the same grade radiographers per annum at Kerry General Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54263/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly In relation to the queries raised by the Deputy, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.

Medical Card Applications

 639. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the position regarding a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54265/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible

Mental Health Services Report

 640. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will help ensure that the promise to invest €35 million annually in community mental health is honoured; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54269/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch Funding from the €35 million special allocation for mental health will be used primarily to further strengthen Community Mental Health Teams in both Adult and Children’s mental health services. Some of the funding will also be used to advance activities in the area of suicide prevention and to initiate the provision of psychological and counselling services in primary care, specifically for people with mental health problems. Provision is also being made to facilitate the re-location of mental health service users from institutional care to more independent living arrangements in their communities, in line with A Vision for Change.

  414 posts were approved to implement the €35 million package of special measures. To date 17 posts have been filled and over 270 offers of employment have already been accepted and the appointments are proceeding. Most start dates are expected to commence in December 2012. Mental health is a priority for this Government and we remain committed to engaging these professionals as soon as is feasible. With regard to the level of funding for mental health next year, this is being considered as part of the Estimates and budgetary process for 2013 which is currently underway.

Services for People with Disabilities

 641. Deputy Michael McNamara Information on Michael McNamara Zoom on Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if levels of transport conveying persons with learning disabilities to the Brothers of Charity centre in Kilrush, County Clare, will be maintained; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54280/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch Pending completion of the national estimates, budgetary and service planning process for 2013 it is not possible to predict the service levels to be provided at a national level, or through individual agencies such as Brothers of Charity Services, next year.

Audiology Services

 642. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if additional audiology services detailed in response to Health Forum motion (details supplied) have been implemented in County Kerry  [54289/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The HSE National Audiology Review Group Report, published in April 2011, made recommendations to address inconsistencies and shortcomings in audiology services. These recommendations are currently being implemented and are expected to provide improvements in audiology services throughout the country. The Health Service Executive has been asked to reply directly to the Deputy regarding the provision of audiology services in Co. Kerry.

Medical Aids and Appliances Applications

 643. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when a hearing aid will be provided in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54292/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The HSE National Audiology Review Group Report, published in April 2011, made recommendations to address inconsistencies and shortcomings in audiology services. These recommendations are currently being implemented and are expected to provide improvements in audiology services throughout the country. The HSE has been asked to examine the individual case referred to by the Deputy and to reply to him as soon as possible.

Home Help Service Provision

 644. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly further to Parliamentary Question No. 188 of 7 November 2012, when will a reply be provided to this question; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54293/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch The Health Service Executive has advised that a reply recently issued to the Deputy on this matter.

Hospital Services

 645. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the ear, nose and throat services available at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, County Louth; the number of ENT consultants based in the hospital; and when they treat patients at the hospital, the number of persons on the waiting lists for ENT services at the hospital; the average waiting time for ENT services at OLOLH Drogheda; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54295/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Immediately following his appointment, the Minister for Health established the Special Delivery Unit, as set out in the Programme for Government. The aim of the SDU is to unblock access to acute services by improving the flow of patients through the system. The initial focus for the SDU's Scheduled Care Team has been on waiting times for in-patient and daycase elective surgery.

For adults, the target is that no-one should be waiting more than nine months for inpatient and day case treatments. Overall, by the end of September progress towards the target is strong – the number waiting more than nine months has fallen by more than 90% on the figure at the start of the year (4678 in Jan down to 415 in September). For children, the target is that by the end of 2012 no child should be waiting for inpatient or daycase treatment for more than 20 weeks. Again, huge progress has been made towards this target – by the end of September the number of children waiting longer than 20 weeks nationally was down to 276 from 1,844 at the start of the year.

Improving access to outpatient services is the next priority. A maximum waiting time target has now been set of 12 months for a first time outpatient appointment by 30 November 2013. In relation to this particular issue, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.

Home Help Service Provision

 646. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will reconsider the Health Service Executive's decision not to provide home help to a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54310/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Medical Card Drugs

 647. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [54316/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible

Drugs Task Forces

 648. Deputy Michael Creed Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he has completed his review of the drug task forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54331/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Deputy will be aware that in late 2011, a review of the future direction and role of Drugs Task Forces and the national structures that underpin the general drugs area was initiated. The relevant funding Departments and Agencies, the Community and Voluntary Sectors and the Drugs Task Forces were consulted as part of the review. A report on the review is being finalised and will be made available when deliberations are complete.

Compensation Tribunals

 649. Deputy Jerry Buttimer Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will provide details of moneys paid to members of the Hepatitis C and HIV Compensation Tribunal; the work required of each member to fulfil his or her duties; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54334/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Under Section 3 of the Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal Act l997, the Minister for Health appoints the members of the Hepatitis C and HIV Compensation Tribunal. The remuneration for Tribunal members is approved by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. A briefing fee, payable on a once-off basis, when new members take up their respective appointments, is €10,000. This was reduced from €17,526 in June, 2012. In addition, members receive a daily rate of €845.00 plus VAT per sitting day. This was reduced from €992.68 plus VAT in June, 2012.

The Tribunal carries out judicial type functions and is therefore very different to a typical State Board. It hears claims in relation to persons infected with Hepatitis C or HIV through the administration within the State of infected blood or blood products. Claims are dealt with by the Tribunal by way of an in camera oral hearing before two members of the Tribunal and the Chairperson. The Tribunal was set up in order that claimants could have their cases heard in a confidential, person centred, fashion. The brief fee reflects the considerable work that each new member must undertake to familiarise themselves with the Tribunal process, the outcome of previous Tribunal hearings and precedents set to ensure a level of consistency among claims heard.

Child Access and Visitation Rights

 650. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the extent to which an alleged incident reported on the 23 of March resulted in one of the parents being deprived of visitation rights in respect of their children in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; if charges have been preferred or are pending; if further action is contemplated in this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54335/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I understand that my Department has been in contact with the Deputy seeking further information in relation to this incident. Without this clarification it is not possible for me to answer this question. Once this information is is provided or an alternative question is tabled I will be happy to deal with this matter or have it referred to the Minister for Justice or the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if it is more appropriate to their Department.

Health Services Provision

 651. Deputy Regina Doherty Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the changes and practices that have been introduced since the 2011 ISQSH Patient Survey; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54338/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly  All forms of patient feedback received by the HSE about patients' experience of health services are combined with the results of other methods of patient feedback to inform the ongoing work of the Quality and Patient Safety Directorate which aims to:

1) improve patient experience of health services

 2) improve performance related outcome measures for patients.

  This feedback includes hundreds of compliments, comments and complaints received on a daily and weekly basis as well as the results of the 2011 ISQSH survey.

Patient feedback is part of a wider, progressive quality improvement agenda which over the past ten years has developed huge momentum and is taken very seriously by all levels of the organisation. Patient feedback has informed the work of the National Advocacy Unit, who developed in partnership with all key stakeholders, including staff, management and service users the National Healthcare Charter 'You and Your Health Service'.  The National Healthcare Charter,  is a Statement of Commitment by the HSE describing what service users can expect when using health services in Ireland, and what they can do to help Irish health services to deliver more effective and safe services. It is based on eight principles which underpin high quality, people-centred care.

  The National Advocacy Unit has delivered information sessions to 40 acute hospital and community services in 2012 on the following:

1) implementing the National Healthcare Charter

 2) improving patient experience

 3) developed resources aimed at both staff and patients to promote concepts outlined in the National Healthcare Charter

 4) using patient feedback to inform quality improvement

 5) being accountable for quality improvements made based on patient feedback

 6) working closely with clinical programmes, using patient feedback to inform the design, development and evaluation of the clinical programmes

 7) developing training for staff which uses patient stories to demonstrate what has worked well and what requires improvement

  Other work and initiatives of the National Advocacy Unit include:

  - Development of 'It’s safer to ask' leaflet, which aims to empower patients and service users to ask questions and get the information that they require.

  - Development of 'You said we did' webpage, which uses specific examples of how patient feedback was used to introduce quality improvement.

  - Introduction of the Open Disclosure policy and roll out of training.

  - Facilitating setting up of the Patient Safety Champions network, which is based on the World Health Organisation initiative, Patients for Patient Safety. Expressions of interest were received and a workshop will be held in early 2013.

Cross-Border Co-operation

 652. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the nature and outcomes of north-south cooperation in the areas of radiotherapy services, paediatric congenital cardiac services, health promotion, cancer research, food safety and suicide prevention; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54364/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly My Department is involved in ongoing North South engagement.

  Radiotherapy Services   Department of Health and HSE officials are working in conjunction with their counterparts in Northern Ireland on the development of new radiotherapy facilities at Altnagelvin Hospital. The new unit, which is due to open in 2016, will provide more locally accessible and timely services and improve travelling times for patients in the North Western area. Information evenings were held in Altnagelvin Hospital and Letterkenny General Hospital on the 8 and 9 October respectively to inform hospital staff, voluntary agencies and the general public about the development.

  Paediatric Congenital Cardiac Services

  Whilst paediatric congenital cardiac services can be provided safely in the short term in Belfast, these services will change in 2013 on the grounds of safety and sustainability. These changes are the subject of public consultation which will close on 21 December 2012. Our Ladys Children's Hospital, Crumlin, is one of 7 sites that have been identified as potential service providers for patients from Northern Ireland, and the only site which can viably provide an 'all island' solution. These services would build on the existing service provided by Crumlin to patients from Northern Ireland (thus far in 2012, a total of 23 procedures have been performed). Contacts are continuing between all of the appropriate stakeholders with a view to determining as soon as possible how best an all Island service might be established and how soon this could be realised if it is determined, through public consultation, to be the optimum solution.

  Health Promotion

Co-operation on Health Promotion issues continues to progress. Following on from a successful North South Alcohol Conference in January the first meeting of the North-South Alcohol forum was held in October. The aim of the forum is to contribute to reducing alcohol related harm on the island of Ireland. The Report of the Tobacco Policy Review Group is at an advanced stage of preparation; and in the North/South context there is significant scope for sharing data and conclusions – in particular prevalence rates of tobacco use by gender; smoking related health care costs; percentage of death attributable to tobacco by gender etc. The All-island Obesity Action Forum was established in December 2008 to support the implementation of obesity policies in both jurisdictions. The Forum brings together a wide range of stakeholders from over 31 different organisations and meets twice yearly.

  Cancer Research

  Under the Ireland - Northern Ireland - National Cancer Institute in the US Cancer Consortium, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed last December which aims to enhance cooperation and partnership and thereby enable improved fundamental and clinical research programmes and translation of research findings into healthcare delivery. Five workstream areas have been identified under the Consortium: Capacity Building for Research; Public Health & Wellbeing/Prevention/Health Promotion (to include population-health research); Nursing; Palliative and end-of-life care; and Survivorship. Experts from each jurisdiction are working together in these workstreams to optimise the research potential in these areas.

  Food Safety

The Food Safety Promotion Board performs a wide range of consumer and scientific activities aimed at increasing consumer and scientific knowledge and promoting food safety and healthy eating within disadvantaged communities in both North and South. As well as its ongoing work on the All-island Obesity Forum and on Community Food Initiatives Programmes  , some of its more recent achievements include a report profiling nutritional information on Chinese takeaway food, a report on emerging food safety issues and a joint food waste campaign across both jurisdictions aimed at improving consumers awareness of the cost of food waste and increasing their understanding of the difference between "best before" and "use by" dates.

  Suicide Prevention

  In relation to suicide prevention, an all-island Suicide Prevention Action Plan which contains a rolling programme of actions has been agreed. Progress has been made in relation to a number of collaborative projects which include training and education (with the evaluation and roll out of the ASIST programme), updating the all-island media guidelines; the commencement of the All-Island Men’s Health Forum and the roll-out of the all island Registry of Deliberate Self Harm. The National Office for Suicide Prevention has developed self harm awareness training and an online training programme for GPs and practice based staff and these will be shared with colleagues in Northern Ireland.

  I am happy that my Department and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety( DHSSPS) can co-operate on a wide range of health issues and I look forward to this continuing in the future.

Health Services Provision

 653. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the range of services which Co-operation and Working Together manages and delivers that are supported by the EU Structural Fund initiative, INTERREG IVA.  [54365/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) is involved in cross-border collaborative working in the field of health and social care and also manages and delivers a range of activities that are being supported by the EU Structural Fund Initiative - INTERREG IVA. The current INTERREG IVA Programme 2007 – 2013 has supported one project, diverse in nature and driven by CAWT on behalf of the Department of Health and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS). The Project involves twelve strands of activity, namely acute service, alcohol harm, eating disorder, GUM, obesity, turning the curve, workforce mobility, diabetes, health inequalities, people with a disability, independence for older people and planning for children and families.

Care of the Elderly

 654. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will provide an update on efforts to retain all services at St. Brigid's Hospital, Crooksling, Brittas, County Dublin; if he will appreciate the concerns of the wider community on this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54398/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply, however, I would like to advise the Deputy that St. Brigid's Nursing Home, Crooksling was registered as a designated centre for older people by the Health Information and Quality Authority on 25 June 2012.

Ambulance Service Provision

 655. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of ambulance managers that have access to Health Service Executive cars in the course of their work; the number that are allowed to bring them to their private homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54404/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The roles of certain paramedic staff in the National Ambulance Service may require that, when on call, they have specially-equipped vehicles available to them at their homes to facilitate rapid response. As the specific detail requested is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.


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