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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 657-679
 Header Item Departmental Contracts
 Header Item Departmental Contracts
 Header Item Services for People with Disabilities
 Header Item Food Ingredients
 Header Item Services for People with Disabilities
 Header Item Medical Products
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Public Sector Staff Remuneration
 Header Item Medical Products
 Header Item Health Insurance Claims
 Header Item Health Services Issues
 Header Item Health Services Provision

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 803 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 87 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 657-679

Departmental Contracts

 657. 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 if he will set out in an itemised way his Department's spending to date on outside contracts for legal and other advice on his proposed system of universal health insurance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22653/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The Government is committed to fundamental reform of the health system. This will see the delivery of a single-tier health service, supported by universal health insurance, which will ensure equal access to care based on need, not income.

  My Department is currently preparing a White Paper on Universal Health Insurance which will provide further detail on the universal health insurance (UHI) system for Ireland. In order to deliver the White Paper, a comprehensive programme of work is underway to develop detailed policy proposals on the design of the UHI model for Ireland, the scope and composition of the UHI basket of services, and funding and financial support mechanisms for UHI. The work involved is complex and technical and demands a range of expertise. To date, the following expenditure has been incurred in relation to contracted services to support UHI design work:

Persons, Group,

Body or Agency


Contract Details

/ Advice Sought
Was advice

related to a

Capital Expenditure

Project ?

(Yes or No)
Cost

(€)

inclusive of vat

at 23%

Matheson Ormsby Prentice Preliminary Legal Research and Analysis - options appraisal of multi-payer health insurance models, duration of contract approximately one month No €6,150
Peter Smyth Management

Consultancy Ltd
Procurement process audit support in respect of a tender process for the provision of legal research and advisory services to the Minister for Health on the design and implementation of an insurance based health system No €2,152.50


  It should also be noted that the Department has recently engaged specialised legal expertise to support detailed deliberations in relation to the design of the UHI model for Ireland.

Departmental Contracts

 658. 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 if he will set out in an itemised way his Department's spending to date on outside contracts for legal and other advice on his proposed extension of free general practitioner care initially to long-term illness patients and subsequently to all; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22654/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The legal advice on the proposed phased extension of free general practitioner care was provided to the Department by the Attorney General's Office and not through an external legal advice source.

  Questions Nos. 659 and 660 answered with Question No. 89.

Services for People with Disabilities

 661. Deputy Joe McHugh Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if the Health Service Executive gives priority to personal care to the exclusion of other needs and services for persons with disabilities [22708/13]

 662. Deputy Joe McHugh Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if the Health Service Executive has contingency funds or plans for persons with a disability who may have to attend public hospitals if carer services change [22709/13]

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. 661 and 662 together.

  As the Deputy's questions relate to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

  Question No. 663 answered with Question No. 649.

  Question No. 664 answered with Question No. 89.

Food Ingredients

 665. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the action he will take to ensure that manufacturers reduce the sugar content in products such as breakfast cereals; and the steps he has taken to receive an explanation of the reason they use up to 30% more sugar in their products for the European market compared to amounts in the US. [22728/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I established a Special Action Group on Obesity (SAGO) comprising representatives from key Government Departments and organisations to examine and progress a number of issues to address the problem of obesity. Whilst it was acknowledged that alone no single initiative will halt or reverse the trend, it was felt that a combination of measures should make a difference. SAGO has already raised the issue of reformulation of ingredients in certain food products with the Food and Drinks Industry of Ireland (FDII).

High sugar breakfast cereals are only one type of food which could contribute to the obesity problem. SAGO is now looking at ways of reducing food consumption from the top shelf of the food pyramid, in accordance with this Department's Healthy Eating Guidelines. It should also be noted that some breakfast cereals are low in sugar and some types of cereals in Europe are lower in sugar than their USA counterparts. Different countries may also have different recipes for certain products with similar brand names.

Services for People with Disabilities

 666. 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 will detail the grants available for children and persons who are profoundly deaf; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22736/13]

 667. 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 deafness is considered to be a disability under legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22737/13]

 668. 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 there is an official register for persons/children who are profoundly deaf; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22738/13]

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. 666 to 668, inclusive, together.

There is no register of persons who are profoundly deaf. All paediatric clients and clients with a medical card are entitled to community audiology services and repairs of their hearing aids. The Department of Social Protection also provide a grant for hearing aids. The Minister does not classify specific medical illnesses or conditions as a disability. There are a number of definitions of disability contained in legislation e.g. Disability Act 2005, the Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2004, the Education for Persons with Special Education Needs Acts, Equal Status Acts and used for particular purposes e.g. the Census and the qualifying criteria for income supports such as the Domiciliary Care Allowance, Disability Allowance etc. These definitions define disability in terms of an individual's functional ability in their environment, rather than a medical diagnosis or condition.

Medical Products

 669. 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 replacement parts associated with Cochlear implants will be covered under the medical card scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22739/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White Cochlear implants and replacements are funded by the Health Service Executive and provided by Beaumont Hospital, therefore the issue of inclusion of replacement parts associated with cochlear implants on the medical card scheme, does not arise.

  Questions Nos. 670 to 673, inclusive, answered with Question No. 89.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 674. 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 when a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan will receive a hospital appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22771/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Improving access to outpatient services is a key priority for the Government. Building on work already undertaken by the HSE, the National Treatment Purchase Fund has now taken over the reporting of outpatient waiting time data. For the first time data is available on www.ntpf.ie. The collation and analysis of outpatient waiting time data in a standardised format will reveal the distribution of long waiters across all hospitals. In the first instance, this will allow resources to be targeted towards those patients who are waiting longest and ensure that they are seen and assessed. For 2013, a maximum waiting time target has now been set of 12 months for a first time outpatient appointment.

In parallel with reducing the numbers of longest waiters, the SDU will also work with the HSE Clinical Programmes to reform the structure, organisation and delivery of outpatient services to ensure that the right patient is seen and assessed by the right health professional at the right time.

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

Public Sector Staff Remuneration

 675. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of personnel in whole-time equivalent terms in his Department and in bodies under the aegis of his Department in each of the following earnings brackets: less than €20,000, €20,001 to €30,000, €30,001 to €40,000, €40,001 to €50,000, €50,001 to €60,000, €60,001 to €70,000, €70,001 to €80,000, €80,001 to €90,000, €90,001 to €100,000, €100,000 to €125,000, €125,001 to €150,000, €150,001 to €175,000, €175,001 to €200,000, €200,001 to €250,000, €250,001 to €300,000, €300,001 to €350,000, €350,001 to €400,000, €400,001 to €450,000, €450,001 to €500,000, and more than €500,000. [22791/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The information requested by the Deputy in relation to the whole-time equivalent staff who are directly employed by my Department is detailed in tabular format:

Salary Range Whole Time

Equivalents (WTE)
Less than €20,000 9.1
€20,000 - €30,000 27.53
€30,000 - €40,000 63.86
€40,000 - €50,000 62.23
€50,000 - €60,000 55.4
€60,000 - €70,000 11
€70,000 - €80,000 47
€80,000 - €90,000 21.8
€90,000 - €100,000 18.6
€100,000 - €125,000 9
€125,000 - €150,000 5
€150,000 - €175,000 1
€175,000 - €200,000 2
TOTAL 333.52
 

  The Health Service Executive has been asked to collate the data sought in respect of those employed by that Agency as soon as possible and it will be provided to the Deputy by them when available.

  The information in relation to the Non-Commercial State Agencies is currently being collated and will be forwarded directly to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Medical Products

 676. 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 when a person (details supplied) in Dublin 6 will receive their limb having being confined to a wheelchair for the past five weeks while waiting for news of the return of their leg following repairs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22800/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Health Insurance Claims

 677. Deputy Michael McCarthy Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will review a decision by a private health insurer not to award an appeal from a person (details supplied) with a serious condition; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22803/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I do not have a role in the day to day operations of any private health insurance company. The VHI is a commercial company operating in a competitive market and decisions as to whether members are entitled to benefit are made in accordance with the terms and conditions of each individual member's policy. The issue raised by the Deputy appears to be a contractual matter between the customer and her insurer.

If the individual in question is not satisfied with the decision made in this case, they may appeal to the Financial Services Ombudsman's Bureau (www.financialombudsman.ie - Lincoln House, Lincoln Place, Dublin 2, Lo-Call 1890 88 20 90) or contact the industry regulator, the Health Insurance Authority (www.hia.ie - Canal House, Canal Road, Dublin 6, Lo-Call 1850 929 166) for information.

Health Services Issues

 678. 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 the steps the Health Service Executive take when they receive a written complaint from a client regarding poor services being given to them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22805/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The Health Service Executive's (HSE's) Directorate of Quality and Patient Safety has, under its Advocacy and Incident Management Units, developed a comprehensive incident management process for addressing complaints received in relation to the public health services.

  As this service is proper to the HSE I have arranged to have the Deputy's question referred to the Executive for attention and a more detailed response.

Health Services Provision

 679. 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 the steps that the Health Service Executive are taking to find a permanent replacement for a centre (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22806/13]

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.


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