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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1168-1190
 Header Item Premium Pay Rates
 Header Item Disability Allowance Eligibility
 Header Item Home Help Service Provision
 Header Item Newborn Screening Cards
 Header Item Clinical Drug Trials
 Header Item Medicinal Products Availability
 Header Item Medical Examinations
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Ambulance Service Provision
 Header Item Medical Card Eligibility
 Header Item Thalidomide Victims Compensation
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Health Services
 Header Item Health Services
 Header Item Orthodontic Service Waiting Lists
 Header Item HSE Properties

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 799 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 1168-1190

Premium Pay Rates

 1168. 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 the current rates of premium pay for Sundays and twilight hours will be maintained for 24/7 frontline workers as has happened in the cases of prison officers and fire fighters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16348/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Extremely difficult and complex discussions took place between public service management and public service staff representatives, seeking agreement on a series of measures that will secure an additional €1 billion annual saving from the public service pay and pensions bill by 2015. A key requirement for the health service during the process was to protect front-line care while at the same time significantly reducing costs.

The Draft Public Service Agreement 2013-2016, put forward by the Labour Relations Commission, provides for the elimination of twilight payments and any equivalent payments across the health service; the public service staff unions are currently considering the outcome of the negotiations.

Disability Allowance Eligibility

 1169. Deputy Nicky McFadden Information on Nicky McFadden Zoom on Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will outline the membership of the review group to discuss options in relation to alternatives to the mobility allowance and motorised transport grant; if any of those members specifically represent the end user of disability services; if a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath will be considered for inclusion on the group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16387/13]

 1224. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will allow a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath to attend the meetings which she has set up to look at the transport and mobility issue.  [16676/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch I propose to take Questions Nos. 1169 and 1224 together.

Membership of the Project Group to review the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant, which is independently chaired, is drawn from both the statutory and the non-statutory sectors. The work of the Project Group is being supported by the National Disability Authority and includes representatives from the Irish Wheelchair Association, the Disability Federation of Ireland, the Centre for Independent Living, an independent service user and advocate for people with disabilities and a retired County Council Manager with relevant experience. Minister Reilly and I have instructed the Project Group to seek solutions across the whole of Government, so that alongside representatives from the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive, membership also includes representatives from An Pobal and from the Departments of Transport, Tourism & Sport, Environment, Community & Local Government, Social Protection and Finance.

Minister Reilly and I do not propose to appoint additional members to the Project Group. Any views held by individuals or organisations in relation to this issue can be made known to the Project Group through the public consultation process currently underway and available on the Department of Health's website www.doh.ie

Home Help Service Provision

 1170. Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if the Health Service Executive will consider providing home help assistance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16392/13]

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.

  Question No. 1171 answered with Question No. 1124.

Newborn Screening Cards

 1172. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the way adopted parents who have no knowledge of their birth families' identities can access screening cards in the absence of specific provision for adopted persons in applications to be provided with individual screening cards; and if provision will be made in future for adopted persons who lack all other information on their birth families [16395/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Newborn screening involves taking a blood sample from the heel of a newborn baby in the first 72-120 hours of life. After the sample is collected, the card on which the sample is contained is sent to the National Newborn Bloodspot Screening Laboratory at the Children's University Hospital, Temple Street for analysis.

  Access to records for adopted persons is a matter for the Adoption Authority.

  Question No. 1173 answered with Question No. 1118.

Clinical Drug Trials

 1174. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his plans to carry out clinical trials of low dose Naltrexone for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [16400/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) is the competent authority for the authorisation of clinical trials with medicines in Ireland. However, the IMB does not carry out trials and neither does the Department of Health. Clinical trials are conducted by sponsors from industry or academia and carried out by healthcare professionals according to protocols authorised by the IMB and approved by an ethics committee.

Under European and Irish legislation, before a medicine can be placed on the Irish market the manufacturer has to seek an authorisation from the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) or in the case of certain medicinal products, the European Medicines Agency (EMA). A determination on an application for authorisation of a medicine is based on a rigorous scientific assessment of the application against legal and regulatory requirements.

Naltrexone is authorised in Ireland for the treatment of alcohol and drug dependence; it is not authorised for the treatment of multiple sclerosis or autoimmune disorders and there are currently no clinical trials authorised for these conditions in Ireland.

Medicinal Products Availability

 1175. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he has considered adding low dose Naltrexone to the long-term illness and GMS card schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [16401/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White Low dose Naltrexone is an Exempt Medicinal Product. Such products (formerly known as Unauthorised Medicinal Products) that comply with the Protocol for the Supply of Unauthorised Medical Products are reimbursed on the General Medical Services (GMS) scheme and the other Community Drug Schemes on an individual patient basis.

  Question No. 1176 answered with Question No. 1138.

Medical Examinations

 1177. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the Medical Council's reason for requiring doctors who have been registered for two years on the supervised division of the medical register to take the pre-registration exam as a prerequisite for transfer to the general division.  [16415/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Responsibility for maintenance of this Medical Register lies with the Medical Council. The Supervised Division was established in 2011 by amendment to the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 to enable the Health Service Executive (HSE) to recruit doctors to practise under supervision for a fixed term in specialty specific non-consultant hospital doctor posts. It was established to address a shortage of doctors in the HSE.

This amendment to the Medical Practitioners Act requires that doctors registered in the Supervised Division only practise medicine in the post to which they have been proposed by the HSE, while under strict supervisory arrangements, for a period of up to two years. These assessment and practice arrangements are designed to protect patients. The amendment was intended to complement and not to replace arrangements already in place for registration of doctors pursuing training in Ireland.

Under the arrangements for registration set out in Part 6 of the Medical Practitioners Act, doctors registered in the Supervised Division, wishing to establish themselves in practice on an ongoing basis outside the supervised, specialty specific posts for which they were initially assessed, may transfer to the General Division or the Trainee Specialist Division.

Once registered in the General Division, practitioners may practise medicine on an ongoing basis in Ireland in any post and without any regulatory limit on scope of practice. The ability to practice medicine in any post was not assessed in the specialty specific assessment, which was designed for registration in the Supervised Division.

The registration process for entry to the General Division involves an assessment to ensure that the practitioner is fit-to-practise in a diverse range of positions. For most doctors currently registered in the Supervised Division, this will involve examination by way of the PRES, which is designed to ensure that the doctor demonstrates competence in a general scope of practice, which is consistent with registration in the General Division of the register. This is a critical and necessary measure to protect the public.

Doctors registered in the Supervised Division may also seek registration in the Trainee Specialist Division provided relevant criteria are met. These criteria include having access to a recognised training post, holding a document which is deemed equivalent to a certificate of experience, and being successful at the PRES, or being exempted from this exam.

The Medical Council is currently working with the HSE to operate an efficient process for doctors seeking transfer from the Supervised Division. Doctors currently registered in the Supervised Division wishing to transfer registration to the General Division must engage in this process.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 1178. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if an early date for a procedure will be arranged as a matter of urgency in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will explain the delay in dealing with such urgent cases [16430/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The management of in-patient and daycase waiting lists for patients awaiting public health care is based on the principle that after urgent and cancer patients are treated, then clinically assessed routine patients should be seen in chronological order (i.e. longest waiter first).

  Should the patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition warrants an earlier appointment, he/she would be in the best position to take the matter up with the consultant and hospital involved.

  In relation to the specific query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 1179. Deputy Nicky McFadden Information on Nicky McFadden Zoom on Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if a date can be confirmed for the medical procedure in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16436/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The National Waiting List Management Policy, A standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, January 2013, has been developed 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. This policy, which has recently been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists. In relation to this particular query raised by the Deputy, I have asked the Health Service Executive to investigate the situation and respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.

Ambulance Service Provision

 1180. Deputy Billy Timmins Information on Billy Timmins Zoom on Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the position regarding the ambulance service from Baltinglass, County Wicklow to Naas Hospital for persons who have afternoon appointments (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16440/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Patient transport is the responsibility of the HSE. However, people attending outpatient and hospital appointments are, in general, expected to make their own travel arrangements, using private or scheduled public transport. The exceptions are for dialysis, cancer (radiotherapy and chemotherapy) and post-operative transplant patients, where transport may be provided. In these cases, the patient's appointment or treatment should be directly related to the condition.

Transport may also be provided where, in the clinician's view, the patient would be unable to make the journey without clinical assistance or where the patient must be transported on a stretcher.

Following implementation of the HSE's non-ambulance patient transport policy, responsibility for the arrangement and provision of non-ambulance transport has moved from the HSE National Ambulance Service to local health offices in each region.

Under the supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme, the Department of Social Protection administers a scheme which may help meet essential, once-off, exceptional expenditure, which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income. These payments are known as Exceptional Needs Payments (ENPs). Enquiries relating to this scheme should be addressed to the Department of Social Protection.

In relation to the specific query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Medical Card Eligibility

 1181. 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 the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16446/13]

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.

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has recently reissued to Oireachtas members.

  Questions Nos. 1182 and 1183 answered with Question No. 1138.

Thalidomide Victims Compensation

 1184. 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 in respect of the Irish Thalidomide Survivors' Society with regard to permitting personal assistance, funding for personal assistance is also a service not provided by the Health Service Executive or covered by health care package, there are only three or four survivors actually in need of a personal assistance service; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [16451/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Personal Assistant services are available to people with disabilities, including survivors of thalidomide, based upon an assessment of the individual's needs, priorities and resources available.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 1185. 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 the number of persons that were waiting on trolleys on the 20 of March 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16452/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The number of patients waiting admission from the Emergency Departments on 20 March 2013 was 402. For the Deputy's information the data sought by him is available on a daily basis on www.inmo.ie under the trolleywatch icon.

  The Deputy may be interested to note the comparative figures for the first quarter of the past 3 years are as follows:

  2011 - 24,880

  2012 - 20,252

  2013 - 17,812

Health Services

 1186. 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 support and or specific provision can be offered in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16482/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch As the specific issue raised by the Deputy relates to a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply in respect of the detailed information sought.

Health Services

 1187. 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 a copy of the review of care of the case concerning a person (details supplied) in Wheatfield Prison, Dublin, will be given to the family; if he will provide the family with a date for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16484/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White I have had further inquiries made of the HSE regarding this matter. The HSE has advised that its Local Health Manager in Cavan/Monaghan commissioned a review into the case. The review is at an advanced stage but certain issues of consent are still to be addressed.

  In the circumstances, the HSE has been asked to respond further to the Deputy in this matter.

Orthodontic Service Waiting Lists

 1188. 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 in view of the significant waiting lists for orthodontic treatment, if he will request the special delivery unit within his Department to review the situation with a view to reducing the maxillofacial and orthodontic waiting lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16485/13]

 1189. 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 if he will introduce a sponsorship programme for the training of orthodontists to secure their availability for the public dental service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16486/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White I propose to take Questions Nos. 1188 and 1189 together.

A sponsorship programme for training orthodontists is not currently being considered. Guidance as to what changes will be desirable to provide the best possible model of orthodontic care delivery will be provided by the independent review of orthodontic services which has been commissioned by the HSE. It is anticipated that a report for consideration by the HSE and the Department of Health will be ready by the end of the 2nd Quarter of 2013.

A key goal of the Special Delivery Unit (SDU) is to deliver faster more equitable access to hospital services, including maxillofacial surgery. The implementation of the SDU Performance Improvement Programmes is a key driver of reducing waiting times for scheduled and unscheduled care in hospitals, including waiting time targets.

HSE Properties

 1190. 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 if he will advise on the process to access the hospital application 2193/13 on the Hospital Development Control and Site Mobility Management plans for Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9 [16493/13]

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


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