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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 704-725
 Header Item Primary Care Services Provision
 Header Item Hospital Bed Numbers
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Cross-Border Health Initiatives
 Header Item Health Services Expenditure
 Header Item Autism Services Issues
 Header Item Health Services Policy
 Header Item Health Services Issues
 Header Item Regulatory Compliance
 Header Item Road Maintenance
 Header Item Aviation Issues
 Header Item National Sports Campus Development Authority
 Header Item EU Funding
 Header Item Road Improvement Schemes
 Header Item Tourism Industry Issues
 Header Item Tourism Promotion

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. 704-725

  Question No. 704 answered with Question No. 121.

Primary Care Services Provision

 705. 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 if he will examine the implications of the implied closure of numerous local health centres throughout the country and the possible implications for the delivery of locally-based convenient services to the community; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23021/13]

 706. 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 if his attention has been drawn to the role played by local health centres throughout County Kildare in the delivery of high-quality community based and conveniently located services; if he will re-examine any proposals for the downgrading and or closure of such services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23022/13]

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. 705 and 706 together.

  The Government is committed to moving the focus of health care from secondary care to primary care, key aspects of which include the continued development of Primary Care Teams and Primary Care Centres.

  The HSE has responsibility for the provision of Primary Care Centres and the operation and maintenance of existing health centres. Therefore, this matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Bed Numbers

 707. 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 full complement of general hospital beds currently available on a regional basis throughout the country in the public health sector; the number of similar beds in the private sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23023/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The information requested by the Deputy is collated by the Business Intelligence Unit within the Health Service Executive. Therefore, I have asked them to respond directly to the Deputy in this matter. In relation to the Deputy's query re: private beds; my Department has no role or function.

  Question No. 708 answered with Question No. 121.

  Question No. 709 answered with Question No. 137.

Vaccination Programme

 710. 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 measures and action plan he intends to take regarding the plight of sufferers of unique narcolepsy disorder as a result of the anti swine fever vaccination, as a recent evaluation identified that 54 persons made up of children, adolescents and adults have been diagnosed up to April 2013 with narcolepsy; when he will provide the package of supports as promised to him for approval; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23026/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I am pleased to inform the Deputy that there are a number of supports in place for persons diagnosed with narcolepsy following pandemic vaccination. My priority is to ensure that those affected by narcolepsy, with symptom onset post pandemic vaccination are provided with a range of services and supports to meet their health needs. The Irish Medicines Board has indicated that as of 12 May 2013 there are 49 cases with a clinical diagnosis of narcolepsy, with symptom development post pandemic vaccination. There are a number of cases still under investigation. The majority of cases are in the five to twenty two years age group. The Health Service Executive has responsibility for health service delivery and at my request, the HSE developed a range of appropriate services and supports to address the needs of this group. Together, the HSE and the Department of Education and Skills provide a very comprehensive range of services and supports to those affected.

These supports and services include access to rapid diagnosis, clear treatment pathways, temporary medical cards and reimbursement of expenses incurred. This includes expenses for counselling services for individuals and also for families of children affected by narcolepsy following pandemic vaccination, in cases where such services are not already available through the HSE. Multi-disciplinary assessments which allow for appropriate individualised health and educational supports to be put in place are ongoing. The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) is also engaging with the HSE and with the individual schools and parents of children concerned to identify and provide educational supports for the children and adolescents affected.

The HSE's advocacy unit is in regular contact with the support group SOUND and last met representatives of the group on 28 February 2013. Through regional co-ordinators the HSE also has frequent contact with individual members of SOUND to assist them in service access and reimbursement of expenses. On March 22 the HSE held an information day to ensure those affected were fully aware of all of the the services available. My Department is considering all possible supports which may need to be put in place for those affected by narcolepsy following pandemic vaccination. I would like to assure the Deputy that this matter continues to be a priority for my Department. A further meeting with SOUND will be arranged when the matter has concluded.

  Question No. 711 answered with Question No. 626.

Cross-Border Health Initiatives

 712. 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 locations of all genito urinary medicine clinics along the Border area; the extent of cross-Border usage of these facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23054/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The specific query raised by the Deputy is a service matter and has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Health Services Expenditure

 713. 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 number of privately run care provider organisations receiving funding from the Health Service Executive; their name and contact details; the counties or areas they cover; the financial supports they have received on an annual basis in each of the years 2010, 2011 and 2012; the way in which the sums involved are calculated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23055/13]

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.

Autism Services Issues

 714. 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 approves of the use of a restraint method Figure of Four@ TMAV technique as an intervention for children with autism who have toileting or self-harming issues; if his attention has been drawn to this restraint method being used by any Health Service Executive service or service provider who provide interventions for children with autism; if this method is being employed is there documentation on the numbers of children, the duration of use and the outcomes for the child and or children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23056/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly My Department is having enquiries made into the matters raised by the Deputy. I will communicate with him further in the matter.

Health Services Policy

 715. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will report on his Department's work at establishing the Money Follows the Patient model which was proposed to begin in shadow form this year; if the model has begun in all acute hospitals; and if he envisages that the timeframe is such that a full phased implementation of the new model will commence from January 2014. [23061/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The Government set out its plans for the introduction of Money Follows the Patient (MFTP) in the draft MFTP Policy Paper on Hospital Financing, which I published for consultation on 15 February last.

Since then, my Department has commenced a communication and consultation campaign in relation to MFTP. The Department has sought the views of interested parties on the Policy Paper through an open call for submissions as well as by writing to over 100 stakeholders. The closing date for submissions has been extended to end-May to facilitate maximum engagement. The National Casemix Seminar, held in Tallaght Hospital on 11/12 April, was another central element of the communication and consultation programme. This seminar was jointly hosted by the Department of Health and HSE and over 200 of those most directly impacted by MFTP attended.

An independent international expert has also been engaged undertake a “State of Readiness” review of the health system’s capacity to roll out MFTP in public hospitals. It is expected that this review will be completed shortly.

As previously set out, the Government’s intention is to roll-out MFTP in shadow form in the hub hospital of each of the soon to be announced hospital groups during 2013 ahead of full phased implementation from January 2014.

Health Services Issues

 716. 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 further to Parliamentary Question No. 1209 of 16 April 2013, if he will confirm the time frame within which the local implementation team is expected to complete the implementation plan for the North West Dublin Early Intervention Team; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23065/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The particular issue raised by the Deputy is a service matter for the Health Service Executive. Accordingly I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Regulatory Compliance

 717. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he is satisfied that agricultural tractor and trailer combinations being used in the various commercial State port companies for the carriage of goods comply with the Road Traffic (Construction, Equipment and Use of Vehicles) Regulations applicable to vehicles engaged in such carriage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22284/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Responsibility for ensuring that agricultural tractor and trailer combinations, being used for the carriage of goods in the various commercial State port companies, comply with Road Traffic (Construction, Equipment and Use of Vehicles) Regulations is a matter, in the first instance, for the Port Companies themselves, and in terms of the enforcement of Road Traffic Regulations, for the Gardaí.

Road Maintenance

 718. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will make funding available to surface a mile, in two different half mile sections, of the L7060 road in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22325/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities own resources supplemented by State road grants.  

The Department has allocated a total of €350.462 million for regional and local roads in 2013, from which Kerry County Council has been allocated over €13.9 million.  The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded from these grants is also a matter for the local authority.

The grants programme is structured to allow councils reasonable flexibility in using grants while also ensuring that there are clear outputs for the monies allocated in terms of length of road maintained or rehabilitated.  In addition, I announced that local authorities would be afforded additional flexibility this year by allowing Councils to transfer resources into their discretionary grant. In this regard it is open to the council to prioritise the L7060 road so that it is funded under the Discretionary Grant or alternatively to fund it from its own resources.

Aviation Issues

 719. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the circumstances surrounding helicopter landings at Booterstown bird marsh, County Dublin, in recent years; the steps his Department has taken to ensure this will not occur again; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22889/13]

 720. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the circumstances surrounding helicopter landings at Booterstown bird marsh, County Dublin, in recent years; the steps his Department have taken to ensure this will not occur again; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22890/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 719 and 720 together.   

  The issue raised by the Deputy is a matter for the Irish Aviation Authority, an Agency under the remit of my Department.  I have referred the Deputy's question to them for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

National Sports Campus Development Authority

 721. Deputy Patrick Nulty Information on Patrick Nulty Zoom on Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the position regarding Abbotstown House, Dublin 15, which is in the ownership of the National Sports Council; if the house can be considered for putting to local community use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22935/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The National Sports Campus Development Authority has responsibility for Abbotstown House, which is a listed building on the National Sports Campus site.  Following the approval of the Government in June 2011, I asked the Authority to examine the suitability of Abbotstown House as a location for the headquarters of the Irish Sports Council and of the Authority itself. The Authority confirmed that the House would be a suitable location and it is planned to proceed with refurbishment of the House for this purpose when funding becomes available.  Planning permission is in place for the renovation of the House and for its use as offices. Works have already been undertaken to secure the House.

EU Funding

 722. Deputy Joe McHugh Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will update Dáil Éireann on his engagements with the European Commission in respect of the TEN-T funding round; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22211/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I have not had any engagements with the European Commission since applications were submitted under the current TEN-T funding round. These applications are independently evaluated by the Commission and the TEN-T Agency and it would not be appropriate for me to intervene in this evaluation process. The results of this process along with recommendations on funding will be forwarded for approval to the Commission-chaired Financial Assistance Committee on which all Member States are represented.  I understand final decisions will be made over the Summer.

Road Improvement Schemes

 723. Deputy Joe McHugh Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will update Dáil Éireann on plans to upgrade the N14 road linking Letterkenny and Lifford/Strabane. [22212/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.  Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for the NRA in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy’s question to the NRA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you don’t receive a reply within 10 working days.

Tourism Industry Issues

 724. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if his Department has a specific set of indicators that can usefully benchmark Ireland's tourism competitiveness in relation to other countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22228/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar It is important that we draw on a broad range of measures to track our tourism performance and to inform both the operations of the tourism agencies and Government strategies and actions. Assessments of Ireland’s tourism competitiveness are an important complement to the more traditional hard data on visitor arrivals and spending, giving us a general idea of the overall position of Irish tourism relative to competing markets and helping us to identify strengths to promote and weaknesses to address in growing Irish tourism sustainably. 

  Accordingly, conscious of the differing demands of agencies, policy makers and industry and the balance required between quality, standardisation, frequency and relevance of statistics, my Department monitors a variety of available data sources.  These include official tourism statistics published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), surveys and analyses conducted by the tourism agencies and various international reports and indices such as the World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report .

  Furthermore, the Tourism Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is currently examining approaches to measuring competitiveness in tourism, including suggestions for useful indicators, and its findings and recommendations will be considered by my officials in due course.  

Tourism Promotion

 725. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar in view of the fact that our tourism marketing is rated as highly effective as reflected in WEF Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index the action he will take to build on this performance; and his efforts to seek further efficiencies and value for money; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22229/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I was pleased to note that the report referred to by the Deputy ranks Ireland in 9th place out of 140 countries in terms of our effectiveness in overseas marketing. This means that we are ranked ahead of some of our key competitors such as the United Kingdom, Spain and France. In terms of building on this performance and obtaining further efficiencies, this is an operational matter for Tourism Ireland. Accordingly, I have referred the question to the agency for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.


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