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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1064-1085
 Header Item Mental Health Services Report
 Header Item Health Services Staff Issues
 Header Item Tobacco Control Measures
 Header Item Orthodontic Services Fees
 Header Item HSE National Service Plan
 Header Item Hospital Services
 Header Item Home Help Service Provision
 Header Item Health Care Infrastructure
 Header Item Hospital Services
 Header Item Hospital Equipment
 Header Item Health Services Staff Issues
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Orthodontic Services Fees
 Header Item Hospital Staff Issues
 Header Item Medical Card Drugs
 Header Item Hospitals Policy

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 788 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 124 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 1064-1085

  Question No. 1064 answered with Question No. 1028.

Mental Health Services Report

 1065. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the steps he is taking to ensure adequate mental health services in south Mayo where services can no longer take any more referrals from general practitioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1465/13]

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 this question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Services Staff Issues

 1066. Deputy James Bannon Information on James Bannon Zoom on James Bannon asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when it is proposed to replace the posts of ophthalmologists in counties Longford and Westmeath in view of the fact that there is already a two year waiting list in both counties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1467/13]

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

Tobacco Control Measures

 1067. Deputy James Bannon Information on James Bannon Zoom on James Bannon asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his plans to encourage local authorities that is to consider adopting a smoke free policy in all playgrounds under their control; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [1470/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White Ireland's public health policy objective in relation to smoking is to promote and subsequently move towards a tobacco free society. I am committed to moving us closer towards that objective. The Tobacco Policy Review Group (TPRG) is examining a number of areas which need to be developed or enhanced in order to reduce smoking prevalence in eland. The TPRG is considering the possibility of extending the smoking ban to other public areas such as playgrounds, public parks and sport grounds, educational and health campuses, etc. To ensure that this issue is progressed any recommendations in relation to this will be considered in consultation with the key stakeholders e.g. Department of the Environment and Local Authorities, Department of Education etc. I anticipate that the report of the TPRG will be completed in the coming months and that this will be brought to Government for decision.

Orthodontic Services Fees

 1068. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of children currently availing of the orthodontic service in Merlin Park Regional Hospital, Galway; the number of children waiting to be called for treatment and the current waiting time; the number of vacant orthodontist posts and/or positions unfilled due to leave; the specific plans to address the current backlog; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1487/13]

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

  Question No. 1069 answered with Question No. 1028.

HSE National Service Plan

 1070. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the date on which he received the Health Service Executive national service plan; the date on which it will be published; the date on which the individual regional service plans will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [1496/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The HSE is required by law to submit a service plan within 21 days of receiving its allocation and the Minister has a further 21 days within which to approve the plan or seek to have it amended. On the 21st December 2012, the HSE Board adopted and submitted to the Minister its National Service Plan for 2013. The plan was approved by the Minister on the 9th January 2013 and laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas in line with Section 31(13) of the Act. It was published by the HSE on the 10th January 2013.

 The HSE is working towards an end January date for completion of the regional plans.

  Question No. 1071 answered with Question No. 1025.

  Question No. 1072 answered with Question No. 938.

Hospital Services

 1073. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his plans to develop a national adult metabolic unit at the Mater Hospital, Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1512/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Additional service development funding was allocated to the Health Service Executive in 2009 to address priority service pressures in the area of metabolic diseases, including the development of an adult metabolic service. In relation to the particular query raised by the Deputy, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy regarding the progress made to date in this matter.

Home Help Service Provision

 1074. 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 approve further home help hours for a person (details supplied) in County Cork  [1515/13]

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.

Health Care Infrastructure

 1075. Deputy Patrick Nulty Information on Patrick Nulty Zoom on Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if the design/feasibility study on Corduff Health Centre, Dublin 15, has been completed; if the findings of the study will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [1518/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Delivery of healthcare infrastructure is a service matter. Therefore your question has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Hospital Services

 1076. Deputy Patrick Nulty Information on Patrick Nulty Zoom on Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if the Health Service Executive audit on James Connolly Memorial Hospital, Dublin 15, will be published to allow for the public, elected representatives and other interested parties to analyse the findings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1519/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The priority set out in the Programme for Government is to unblock access and to improve the flow of patients through the health system. I established a Special Delivery Unit (SDU) in June 2011 as a key part of plans to radically reform the health system in Ireland. The SDU priorities encompass waiting times for unscheduled and scheduled care and the introduction of a major upgrade in the performance capabilities of the Irish health system. The SDU is focusing initially on emergency departments and is working to support hospitals in addressing excessive waiting times for admission to hospital. The SDU is working closely with key teams in the HSE and the NTPF, building on initiatives already underway including the clinical programmes and supporting hospitals to improve performance.

The Deputy is referring to an operational management report that was produced following a site visit carried out by the SDU in relation to patient care issues at Connolly hospital in Blanchardstown. The report, which was sent to the hospital management, was carried out in June last year and is now over 6 months old. The report was produced for the hospital to support management in service improvement, it is not intended to publish the report.

Since the report was received by senior management at Connolly hospital an intensive programme of work has begun between the SDU's liaison officers, the Clinical Programmes and the hospital teams. Regular liaison meetings are continuing and part of the agenda is to monitor improvements and implementation of the recommendations from the report. The SDU is satisfied that there is increased engagement at all levels in the hospital in ensuring that emergency patients are seen in a timely manner, focussing on working to achieve the national targets for unscheduled care. The hospital have implemented a number of improvements which include extended opening hours of the Acute Medicine Unit, increased availability of senior decision makers and extended availability of diagnostics. Between May and November 2012 there has been a 12% improvement in the number of new patients who are admitted to a ward or discharged from the emergency department within 6 hours of arrival.

Hospital Equipment

 1077. Deputy Patrick Nulty Information on Patrick Nulty Zoom on Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when an MRI scanner will be installed and fully operational at James Connolly Memorial Hospital, Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1520/13]

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

Health Services Staff Issues

 1078. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare is entitled to pension rights in regard to the on call service given in regard to his term as an ambulance service employee with the Health Service Executive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1541/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Services Provision

 1079. 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 when an appointment will be scheduled for a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1557/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Health Service Executive Community Audiology service administers and monitors hearing tests for adults who are at risk for hearing loss. Appointments for the audiology service are sent in a strict chronology according to clinical priorities and date of receipt of referral. The HSE has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Medical Card Applications

 1080. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall 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 Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1591/13]

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.

Orthodontic Services Fees

 1081. 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 orthodontic treatment in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [1593/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The HSE provides orthodontic treatment to patients based on their level of clinical need. An individual's access to orthodontic treatment is determined against a set of clinical guidelines and priority is given to patients with greatest needs. The HSE has been asked to examine the specific query raised by the Deputy and to reply to her as soon as possible.

Hospital Staff Issues

 1082. 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 when will the rheumatoid specialist be appointed to Kerry General Hospital in view of the fact that there is immediate urgency due to increasing demand by patients in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [1600/13]

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

  Question No. 1083 answered with Question No. 1028.

Medical Card Drugs

 1084. 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, in view of the fact that all pensioners between 66 and 70 years of age on State pensions are over the income level to be eligible for a medical card as the threshold is €201 per week, he will consider introducing a waiver for hospital visits and overnight stays which cost €75 per day for those who have already paid out €144 per month for their medications.  [1616/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White Under the provisions of the Health Act 1970, medical cards are provided to persons who, in the opinion of the Health Service Executive, are unable without undue hardship to arrange general practitioner medical and surgical services for themselves and their dependants. The assessment for a medical card is determined primarily by reference to the means of the applicant and his/her dependants. In assessing medical card applications for the applicants under 70 years, applications are considered on the basis of income net of tax and PRSI and allowance is made for reasonable expenses incurred in respect of mortgage/rent, childcare and travel to work. Medical expenses are also taken into account.

The public in-patient charge (€75 per day subject to a maximum of €750 in any period of 12 consecutive months) is provided for by the Health (In-Patient Charges) Regulations 1987 (as amended), made under Section 53 of the Health Act 1970 (as amended). Medical card holders are exempted from this charge.

I have no plans to introduce further exemptions to hospital charges at this time.

Hospitals Policy

 1085. Deputy John Halligan Information on John Halligan Zoom on John Halligan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he has now received the Higgins Report relating to the future of the South East Hospital Network; if not, when he expects to be in receipt of same; when he will be making the contents of same available to Dáil Éireann; if he has reviewed the report/submission from the South East Hospitals Action Alliance Group; his views on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [1619/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly A rigorous and comprehensive consultation process has taken place which has included meetings with every acute hospital, including consultations on two separate occasions with each hospital in the South East region. A significant volume of formal submissions have been received by the Project Team from hospitals, clinicians, regulatory bodies and citizens.

All of these recommendations and submissions have been considered by a Strategic Board composed of representatives with national and international expertise in health service delivery, governance and linkages with academic institutions. The Chair of the Strategic Board, Professor John Higgins is due to formally present to me a report on the establishment of hospital groups as a transition to independent hospital trusts in the near future. I will prioritise consideration of that report, which will then be submitted to and presented to Government for decision on the hospital groups composition in light of the recommendations of the Report.


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