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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 195-201
 Header Item Drug Rehabilitation Implementation Programmes
 Header Item Medical Card Eligibility
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Hospital Complaints Procedures
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Applications
 Header Item Wild Atlantic Way Project
 Header Item Wild Atlantic Way Project

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 814 No. 3

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Written Answers Nos. 195-201

Drug Rehabilitation Implementation Programmes

 195. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the way persons are assessed for accommodation placement from low to medium to high thresholds with respect to their own recovery from drugs and rehabilitation care plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40104/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Report of the Working Group on Drug Rehabilitation (2007) defined rehabilitation in terms of 'providing a continuum of care to problem drug users, enabling them to address their needs as most appropriate for them. These needs may include health, social, housing, employment, education and/or vocational'.

Arising from this report and in line with the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016, the National Drug Rehabilitation Implementation Committee, chaired by the Health Service Executive, has developed a framework providing protocols and guidelines for multiple agencies to work together toward a service user centred, case management approach to drug rehabilitation.

As the matter raised by the Deputy is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Medical Card Eligibility

 196. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his plans to provide medical card for children suffering from serious illnesses that require ongoing treatment, regardless of parents' income; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [40125/13]

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, the assessment for a medical card is determined primarily by reference to the means, including the income and expenditure, of the applicant and his or her partner and dependants. There is no automatic entitlement to a medical card for persons of any age with a specific illness, such as cancer.

However, under the legislation, there is provision for discretion by the HSE to grant a medical card where a person's income exceeds the income guidelines. The HSE takes a person's social and medical issues into account in determining whether or not "undue hardship" exists for a person in providing a health service for themselves or his or her dependents.

The HSE has an effective system in place for the provision of emergency medical cards for patients who are terminally ill, or who are seriously ill and in urgent need of medical care that they cannot afford. They are issued within twenty-four hours of receipt of the required patient details and the letter of confirmation of the condition from a doctor or a medical consultant. With the exception of terminally ill patients, the HSE issues all emergency cards on the basis that the patient is eligible for a medical card on the basis of means or undue hardship, and that the applicant will follow up with a full application within a number of weeks of receiving the emergency card. As a result, emergency medical cards are issued to a named individual, with a limited eligibility period of six months.

For persons with a terminal illness, no means test applies. Once the terminal illness is verified, patients are given an emergency medical card for six months. Given the nature and urgency of the issue, the HSE has appropriate escalation routes to ensure that the person gets the card as quickly as possible.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 197. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason a person (details supplied) in County Donegal has been kept waiting on a referral from Letterkenny General Hospital to Castlebar Hospital since March 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [40127/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The management of inpatient 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 Complaints Procedures

 198. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason a person (details supplies) in County Donegal was not diagnosed in Letterkenny General Hospital, yet when they were admitted to Ballykelly they was diagnosed immediately and is currently undergoing treatment in St Luke's Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [40128/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly With regard to specific complaints in relation to experiences of individuals in our hospitals, there is a formal complaints policy, entitled "Your Service Your Say", details of which are on the HSE website http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/yourhealthservice/feedback/complaints/.

  In accordance with this procedure, a complaint must be made in the first instance to the hospital in which the incident causing the complaint occurred.

  If an individual is not satisfied with the response from the hospital, a review can be sought from the HSE Director of Advocacy and the Ombudsman, whose details follow.

  HSE Director of Advocacy

  Oak House

  Millennium Park

  Naas

  Co Kildare

  Tel 1890 424 555

  Office of the Ombudsman

  18, Lower Leeson Street

  Dublin 2

  Tel 1890 223 030

  Email: ombudsman@ombudsman.gov.ie  

  I have asked the HSE to answer the specific queries the Deputy has raised and to reply to him directly.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

 199. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans to continue the sports capital programme in 2013; when he intends to open the application process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39878/13]

 208. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when the next sports capital programme will be open for applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39982/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring I propose to take Questions Nos. 199 and 208 together.

  No decision has been made on the timing of any future rounds of the Sports Capital Programme. 

Wild Atlantic Way Project

 200. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when the Wild Atlantic Way signage will be erected in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39914/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The matter raised is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland. I have referred the Deputy's Question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply. Please advise my private office if a reply is not received within ten working days.

Wild Atlantic Way Project

 201. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans to designate Malin Head, Ireland's most northerly point, as the natural starting/ending point of the Wild Atlantic Way; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [39917/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The matter raised is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland. I have referred the Deputy's Question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply. Please advise my private office if a reply is not received within ten working days.


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