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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 588-604
 Header Item Medical Aids and Appliances Expenditure
 Header Item Long-Term Illness Scheme Coverage
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Services for People with Disabilities
 Header Item Ministerial Functions
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Accident and Emergency Departments Waiting Times
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Accident and Emergency Departments Data
 Header Item Charitable and Voluntary Organisations
 Header Item Accident and Emergency Departments Waiting Times
 Header Item Charitable and Voluntary Organisations
 Header Item Speech and Language Therapy Provision

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 918 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 117 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 588-604

Medical Aids and Appliances Expenditure

 588. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the full cost of drugs and medicines paid for by the State from 2002 to 2016 to date broken down by each year in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22069/16]

 589. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the full cost of drugs and medicines paid for by the State from 2002 to 2016 to date broken down by each year and by the classification of drugs as generic or branded in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22070/16]

 590. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the savings if any made by the Health Service Executive in respect of drugs or medicines by way of new arrangements, contracts, changes in policy, the use of generic drugs or by any other means from 2011 to 2016 to date in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22071/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 588 to 590, inclusive, together.

  As the HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicinal products under the community drug schemes, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on this issue. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office and they will follow up the matter with them.

Long-Term Illness Scheme Coverage

 591. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the reason the HSE has failed to cover the cost of Midon, a drug recommended by consultant neurologists in the treatment of Parkinson's disease for inclusion under the long-term illness scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22079/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As the HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicinal products under the community drug schemes, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on this issue. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office and they will follow up the matter with them.

Hospital Appointments Status

 592. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of an appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22080/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service issue, this question has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office and they will follow up the matter with them.

Services for People with Disabilities

 593. Deputy Noel Grealish Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the current position regarding negotiations between the HSE and an organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22083/16]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath 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. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and they will follow up the matter with them.

Ministerial Functions

 594. Deputy Noel Grealish Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the exact areas of responsibility of each Minister of State in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22084/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris There are four Ministers of State in my Department:

Finian McGrath, T.D. is Minister of State with special responsibility for Disabilities. This will include specialist health and personal social services for adults and children with disabilities, the Reform Programme for health-funded disability services, the proposed new statutory Transport Support Scheme and the funding and commissioning of disability services, including personalised budgets.

Helen McEntee, T.D. is Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People. This will include Mental Health residential and community based services, review of Vision for Change policy on Mental Health as well as the National Strategy on Suicide Prevention. In relation to care for Older People, the role will include responsibility for the Nursing Home Support Scheme, residential care, community supports and home care services.

Catherine Byrne, T.D. is Minister of State for Communities and the National Drugs Strategy. In respect of her role in the Department of Health, Minister Byrne will be responsible for all matters relating to co-ordination and development of the National Drugs Strategy and will be delegated functions also relating to the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2016 which is due to complete its passage through the Oireachtas this week.

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, T.D. is Minister of State for Health Promotion. This will include all matters relating to Health Promotion and in particular the recently established programme on health and wellbeing under the Healthy Ireland Framework and the National Physical Activity Plan. This area of responsibility will also include important health protection measures.

Vaccination Programme

 595. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his plans to highlight the dangers of the HPV vaccine (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22089/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The immunisation programme in Ireland is based on the advice of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC). NIAC is a committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland comprising of experts in a number of specialties including infectious diseases, paediatrics and public health. The committee's recommendations are informed by public health advice and international best practice. In 2009, NIAC recommended HPV vaccination for all 12 year old girls, and in September 2010, the HPV vaccination programme was introduced for all girls in the first year of second level schools. The HPV vaccine protects girls from developing cervical cancer when they are adults. It is available free of charge from the HSE for all girls in 1st year of secondary school and over 200,000 girls have received the vaccine since its introduction .

In Ireland, the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) is the regulatory authority for medicines in Ireland and is the appropriate authority to which possible adverse reactions to medicinal products should be reported. In November 2015, the European Medicines Agency completed a detailed scientific review of the HPV vaccine. The review which the HPRA participated in, specifically focused on rare reports of two conditions, complex regional pain syndrome and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome associated with heart rate increase. The outcome of the review which was carried out by the EMA Pharmacovigilance and Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) found no evidence of a causal link between the vaccine and the two conditions examined. The European Medicines Agency has advised healthcare professionals that available data does not warrant any change to the use of HPV vaccines as there are no new safety concerns regarding HPV vaccines. Healthcare professionals should therefore continue using the vaccines in accordance with the current product information. On 12 January 2016, the European Commission endorsed the conclusion of the European Medicines Agency stating that there is no need to change the way HPV vaccines are used or to amend the product information. This final outcome by the Commission is now binding in all member states.

I am aware of claims of an association between HPV vaccination and a number of symptoms experienced by a group of young women. It appears that some girls first suffered symptoms around the time they received the HPV vaccine, and understandably some parents have connected the vaccine to their daughter's condition. I want to provide assurances that, as well as being eligible to seek medical attention and to access appropriate health and social care services, irrespective of the cause of their symptoms, the HSE will be in a position to facilitate access to specialist services as required due to the individual nature of the needs of some children.

Accident and Emergency Departments Waiting Times

 596. Deputy Frank O'Rourke Information on Frank O'Rourke Zoom on Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the policy his Department and the Health Service Executive are pursuing to support Naas Hospital in the provision of its emergency services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22104/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Since the beginning of July, the HSE has reported trolley numbers above those noted for the equivalent period last year. I have been advised by the HSE that recent increases can be partially attributed to summer leave, the medical rotation changeover, which occurs in early July each year, seasonal increases in elective procedures and an increased number of delayed discharges. Many hospitals have also reported a sustained increase in attendances for this time of year.

It is expected that seasonal pressures on EDs will naturally recede by September. The pressure on EDs caused by delayed discharges should also reduce shortly, given additional funding of €500m from the Supplementary estimates and Winter Initiative, which was recently passed in the Dail and will be provided to the HSE shortly. The HSE has advised that efforts to expand home help and home care packages should result in additional capacity within a month, while will assist hospitals in the timely discharge of patients.

I also met with the Director General of the HSE on Friday 15 July to express my concerns to the HSE about the recent rise in numbers of patients on trolleys and possible future measures to address trolley numbers. Actions discussed include the expansion of frail elderly pathways, expansion of community diagnostics and day hospital capacity, maintenance of SDU oversight of performance and improved management of capacity in response to surges in demand.

I am confident that these measures, in addition to the additional funding provided to the HSE will support hospitals, including Naas General Hospital in the provision of their emergency service.

Hospital Appointments Status

 597. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22110/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

  The National Waiting List Management Policy, A standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, January 2014, 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 been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

   In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials will follow the matter up.

Accident and Emergency Departments Data

 598. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of visits to each of Naas and Portlaoise emergency departments; the number of these visits that were between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.; the locations the patients were from; the number of admissions that were made from the accident and emergency department in the 2015 period or the most recent period that data is available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22126/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials will follow the matter up.

Charitable and Voluntary Organisations

 599. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if a final decision has yet been made about the possibility of transferring former members of the Central Remedial Clinic, CRC, pension plan to the single public service pension scheme, SPSPS; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22132/16]

 600. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if the HSE has completed its consideration of the business case in regard to the Central Remedial Clinic, CRC, pension plan submitted by CRC management; the steps the HSE will take to ensure a just and satisfactory resolution to the controversy for staff members. [22133/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 599 and 600 together.

In relation to the 44 employees of the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) who were members of a funded DB scheme, I am aware that the HSE is currently examining a submission which has been provided by the CRC. The Department is awaiting receipt of the HSE's evaluation of the CRC submission and their recommendation on how to address the pension issues with the CRC.

On receipt of this evaluation, my Department will, in conjunction with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, urgently examine the HSE recommendation in the context of current policy and legislation in relation to superannuation.

By way of background, I would like to clarify that employment in a public service body does not determine the type of pension scheme that is available to an individual employee. There are a variety of pension schemes that operate in the public service depending on when and how an individual enters the public service. In general, the majority of public servants are members of various public service ‘pay as you go’ Defined Benefit (DB) schemes which may have different minimum pension age, accrual terms, contribution rates etc. In addition, some employees of Section 38 agencies are members of funded Defined Benefit pension schemes which are administered by scheme trustees while others are members of Defined Contribution (DC) schemes. New entrants to the public service recruited on or after 1 January 2013 are generally members of the Single Public Service Pension Scheme (SPSPS) and have career average pension benefits.

Accident and Emergency Departments Waiting Times

 601. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he is aware of the severe overcrowding at the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar, County Westmeath with 38 patients on trolleys waiting for admission on 29 June 2016; if he is further aware that, notwithstanding significant investment in new emergency departments facilities, it will not contribute to a solution to the problem which arises because of a lack of additional capacity in the emergency department and inadequate bed numbers together with a lack of nursing and medical staff and if same can now be urgently addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22146/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Since the beginning of July, the HSE has reported trolley numbers above those noted for the equivalent period last year. I have been advised by the HSE that recent increases can be partially attributed to summer leave, the medical rotation changeover, which occurs in early July each year, seasonal increases in elective procedures and an increased number of delayed discharges. Many hospitals have also reported a sustained increase in attendances for this time of year.

It is expected that seasonal pressures on EDs will naturally recede by September. The pressure on EDs caused by delayed discharges should also reduce shortly, given additional funding of €500m from the Supplementary estimates and Winter Initiative, which was recently passed in the Dail and will be provided to the HSE shortly. The HSE has advised that efforts to expand home help and home care packages should result in additional capacity within a month, while will assist hospitals in the timely discharge of patients.

I also met with the Director General of the HSE on Friday 15 July to express my concerns to the HSE about the recent rise in numbers of patients on trolleys and possible future measures to address trolley numbers. Actions discussed include the expansion of frail elderly pathways, expansion of community diagnostics and day hospital capacity, maintenance of SDU oversight of performance and improved management of capacity in response to surges in demand.

The HSE is concentrating on applying the funding available for infrastructure development in the most effective way possible to meet current and future needs. Investment in the hospital infrastructure at the Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar is ongoing. Construction has been completed on the project to refurbish the Emergency Department. There are also capital funded minor projects recently completed and underway.

MRH Mullingar is part of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group. Each Hospital Group will be required to develop a strategic plan to describe how it will provide more efficient and effective patient services and reorganise its services to provide optimal care to the populations it serves. Any future current or capital investment at the Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar will be considered within the context of future service developments and associated investment in the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group.

Charitable and Voluntary Organisations

 602. Deputy Jack Chambers Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the Health Service Executive's policy for section 38 health agencies to disclose the salaries of their staff; if these agencies have been advised by the HSE not to reveal staff salaries if requested through a freedom of information request or by a journalist or by any other person, as reported recently; and if so, the reason this advice was given and the number of section 38 health agencies it was given to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22147/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly on this matter. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and they will follow up the matter with them.

Speech and Language Therapy Provision

 603. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he is aware that parents using the speech and language therapy department in Waterford University Hospital are being informed by therapists that no further services will be available, specifically for autism spectrum disorder, ASD, diagnosed children six years of age and over as the ASD units were being disbanded and patient lists merged with main services; if he will clarify if this is the case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22150/16]

 604. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he is aware that parents using the speech and language therapy department in Waterford University Hospital are now concerned that the reported disbandment of autism spectrum disorder, ASD, units in the speech and language therapy department in Waterford University Hospital will mean that children will be required to register once again on waiting lists; that it is the parents' understanding that initial assessments for ASD will not take place by ASD specialised personnel in a timely manner to avail of services; that the continued provision of occupational therapy services for children with autism is also a concern; and in view of these concerns if he will assuage the parents' concerns and bring clarity to the current situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22151/16]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath I propose to take Questions Nos. 603 and 604 together.

  As the Deputy's questions relates to service matters, I have arranged for the questions to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and they will follow up the matter with them.


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