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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1220 - 1242
 Header Item General Medical Services Scheme Payments
 Header Item General Practitioner Services
 Header Item Care Services
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Hospital Procedures
 Header Item Hospitals Discharges
 Header Item Care Services
 Header Item Medical Card Eligibility
 Header Item Orthodontic Services Provision
 Header Item Orthodontic Services Provision
 Header Item Alcohol Labelling
 Header Item Medical Aids and Appliances Provision
 Header Item Hospital Accommodation Provision
 Header Item Hospital Equipment
 Header Item Primary Care Reimbursement Service Payments

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 819 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 111 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 1220 - 1242

General Medical Services Scheme Payments

 1220. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the amount paid to each general practitioner under the general medical card scheme in County Mayo for 2011, 2012 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [46861/13]

 1221. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the amount paid to each general practitioner under the general medical card scheme in County Roscommon for 2011 and 2012 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [46862/13]

 1222. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the amount paid to each general practitioner under the general medical card scheme in County Galway for 2011 and 2012 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [46863/13]

 1223. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the amount paid to each general practitioner under the general medical card scheme in County Sligo for 2011, 2012 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [46864/13]

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. 1220 to 1223, inclusive, together.

  The HSE, through the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS), makes payments to General Practitioners (GPs) for services they provide to eligible persons who hold a medical card or GP visit card, therefore, I have referred this matter to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

General Practitioner Services

 1224. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his plans to deal with general practitioners charging people who hold medical cards and GP visit cards for having blood tests carried out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46865/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White Under paragraph 11 of the General Medical Services (GMS) contract, a general practitioner (GP) is expected to provide his/her patients who hold a medical card or GP visit card with all proper and necessary treatment of a kind generally undertaken by a GP and not requiring special skill or experience of a degree or kind which GPs cannot reasonably be expected to possess.

Under paragraph 27 of the GMS contract, a medical practitioner shall not demand or accept any payment or consideration whatsoever in reward for services provided by him/her, or for travelling or for other expenses incurred by him/her or for the use of any premises, equipment or instruments in making the services available.

In circumstances where the taking of blood is necessary to either (a) assist in the process of diagnosing a patient or (b) monitor a diagnosed condition, the GP may not charge that patient if they are eligible for free GMS services under the Health Act, 1970, as amended.

The HSE has written to GP contract holders and clarified the position in relation to this matter and has also communicated its position to the Irish Medical Organisation. Any alleged instances of eligible patients being requested to pay for a routine service of this nature from their own limited resources is viewed as a serious matter by the HSE and the Department.

I have been advised by the HSE that its Local Health Offices will fully investigate any reported incidents of eligible patients being charged for phlebotomy services which form part of the investigation and necessary treatment of patients' symptoms or conditions. In such cases, where a medical card holder or a GP visit card holder has been inappropriately charged for the taking of blood, the HSE will make deductions from those GPs' routine GMS payments.

Officials in my Department are in consultation with the HSE with a view to drawing up a new GMS contract. The appropriate arrangements in relation to phlebotomy services will be considered as part of the new contract.

  Question No. 1225 answered with Question No. 1150.

Care Services

 1226. 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 if he will release the report commissioned into financial irregularities discovered at Fingal Home Care in 2012  [46870/13]

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 Services Provision

 1227. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the measures being taken to implement the national asthma programme in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46876/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The National Clinical Programme for Asthma, which commenced in 2011, is one of a number of chronic disease programmes established in the HSE’s Clinical Care Directorate aimed at bringing a systematic approach to changes in how services for patients are delivered.

  The initial focus of the work of the Programme has been primarily on three main areas:

  1. The development and implementation of national asthma guidelines based on international best practice for acute and ongoing asthma management and in relation to this, national asthma education initiatives for patients and health care professionals;

  2. The organisation and better integration of national asthma services at primary and secondary care levels through development of a national model of care; and

  3. A national project of auditing acute asthma deaths.

  Work in relation to Asthma Guidelines has included:

- Acute adult asthma guidelines and associated care pathways, treatment protocols and care bundles have been developed for use in all care settings (primary and secondary care levels), in conjunction with other relevant programmes and the Irish College of General Practice (ICGP). These include:

- An in-hospital practical asthma education programme for nurses to underpin and support the implementation of the acute adult guidelines; and

- General management asthma guidelines for use in all healthcare settings especially in primary care.

  The Acute Adult Emergency Guidelines are available through the HSE website. This user friendly resource will facilitate all healthcare staff in optimising the management of adult patients attending services with an acute asthmatic episode.

- Guidelines for acute paediatric asthma have also been completed and should be available soon on the HSE website. An associated educational programme is being developed at present.

The National Asthma Programme is developing a National Model of Care (MOC) for Asthma with an implementation plan which will detail how physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals will work with engaged patients to make the clinical decisions most appropriate to their circumstances; and to collaborate with specialist colleagues in providing a safe, seamless patient experience within the health system in Ireland. This is a key deliverable of the National Asthma Programme for 2013. As 85 per cent of asthma is managed in primary care without the need for hospital specialist services, the Programme is aiming to provide at primary care level a yearly programme of assessment for asthma called Chronic Disease Watch (CDW) – Asthma, also known as Asthma Check.  Asthma Check,   which has been submitted to the ICGP for review, outlines the step-by-step process for the implementation of guideline based asthma management in primary care to deliver optimal outcomes for patients.

  The Model of Care will also focus on:

- Improving access to hospital based specialist asthma services from primary and secondary care services, through Scheduled / Rapid access asthma services (adult/paediatric), and access to specialist asthma therapies.

- Improving links through Clinical / Asthma Nurse Specialists within the community services.

- Developing and implementing a standard referral pathway to asthma services.

- Developing structured assessment and review protocols throughout the system.

- Establishing uniform discharge protocols.

- Facilitating access to accurate asthma diagnostics.

- Examining solutions to develop and subsequently implement an Asthma database / register linked into all care levels (GP, Community Pharmacist and Hospital).

  The draft model of care has been circulated for stakeholder consultation. The National Asthma Programme is aiming to have the Model of Care published by the end of this year.

  Implementation of the National Clinical Programme for Asthma, which was included in the HSE's 2013 Operational Plan is ongoing and will continue in 2014.

Hospital Procedures

 1228. 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 the number of operations, medical and surgical procedures in public hospitals that were cancelled in 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [46883/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy.

Hospitals Discharges

 1229. 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 provide, in tabular form, the number of bed days lost through delayed discharges in each hospital to date in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46884/13]

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

Care Services

 1230. 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 the additional funding that will be provided for the care of older persons in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46885/13]

 1231. 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 the additional home care packages that will be provided in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46886/13]

 1232. 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 the additional home help hours that will be provided in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46887/13]

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. 1230 to 1232, inclusive, together.

  Pending the completion of the Health Service Executive's National Service Plan for 2014, it is not possible to provide the detail sought by the Deputy.

Medical Card Eligibility

 1233. 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 will be any changes to the qualifying criteria for medical cards for the under-70s in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46888/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White With the exception of the measures announced in Budget 2014, there are no proposals at present to change the qualifying criteria for medical cards for persons aged under 70 in 2014.

  Question No. 1234 answered with Question No. 1008.

Orthodontic Services Provision

 1235. Deputy Charles Flanagan Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when a person (details supplied) in County Laois will receive orthodontic treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46892/13]

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 him as soon as possible.

Orthodontic Services Provision

 1236. Deputy Charles Flanagan Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when a person (details supplied) in County Laois will receive orthodontic treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46893/13]

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 him as soon as possible.

Alcohol Labelling

 1237. Deputy Ciara Conway Information on Ciara Conway Zoom on Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the position regarding alcohol labelling; if there are plans for a requirement for ingredients to be clearly listed on the label of alcohol products; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46909/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The Government has approved the drafting of a health oriented Public Health (Alcohol) Bill to provide for, among other things, health labelling of alcohol products which will see:

a) Health warnings and advice (including for pregnancy) on all alcoholic drink containers (bottles, cans etc.) and on promotional materials;

b) the amount of pure alcohol as measured in grams and the calorie count contained in each container/measure on the label/container.

  There are no plans at the moment to stipulate that any additional information be displayed on the label.

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

 1238. Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if a special chair will be provided in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46963/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The HSE is responsible for the administration of the primary care schemes, therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Accommodation Provision

 1239. 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 provide in tabular form the number of beds and wards in hospitals (details supplied); the number of those beds and wards that are currently closed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [46983/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I believe we must concentrate on getting the best possible services for patients from the budgets available to us. This means we need to focus on how beds are used, on the throughput of patients, on reducing length of stay to international norms and on having as many procedures as possible carried out as day cases rather than inpatient work.

Throughout 2013 hospitals will open and close beds on various wards in order to deliver the planned level of activity. These beds may be closed for a number of reasons, including cost containment, infection control and refurbishment. It is not possible at this time to determine what beds in which wards will be closed and what length of time they will be closed for. The decision to open and close beds is made at hospital management level and approved by the Regional Director for Performance and Integration.

In relation to the detailed information requested by the Deputy, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to him directly in this matter.

Hospital Equipment

 1240. 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 if the Health Service Executive has an upright MRI scanner in its possession to facilitate MRI scans to take place on patients who, due to an underlying medical condition, are unable to lie still to undergo a scan in a regular MRI scanner and who instead would be better suited to using an upright scanner  [46985/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy.

Primary Care Reimbursement Service Payments

 1241. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the basic amount paid to a general practitioner for administering a medical card in 2007 and 2012, without GP visits; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47017/13]

 1242. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of medical card holders who did not visit a general practitioner, or any other medical practitioner, in 2012; the cost of administering these cards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47018/13]

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. 1241 and 1242 together.

  The HSE, through the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS), makes payments to General Practitioners (GPs) for services they provide to eligible persons who hold a medical card or GP visit card, therefore, I have referred this matter to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.


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