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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 408-431
 Header Item Medicinal Products Availability
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Grant Payments
 Header Item Ambulance Service
 Header Item Ambulance Service Data
 Header Item Ambulance Service Accommodation
 Header Item Ambulance Service
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Medical Card Drugs Availability
 Header Item Long-Term Illness Scheme Coverage
 Header Item Accident and Emergency Departments
 Header Item Long-Term Illness Scheme Coverage
 Header Item Brexit Issues
 Header Item Brexit Issues
 Header Item Disability Services Provision
 Header Item Hospital Services
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Air Ambulance Service Operations
 Header Item Services for People with Disabilities
 Header Item Speech and Language Therapy Provision
 Header Item Occupational Therapy

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 937 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 83 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 408-431

Medicinal Products Availability

 408. Deputy Ruth Coppinger Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he will report on discussions with a company (details supplied) on the delivery of Orkambi for the public health service. [5627/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicines under the community drugs schemes, in accordance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013.

In reaching its decision, the HSE examines all the evidence which may be relevant in its view for the decision (including the information /dossier submitted by the Company) and will take into account such expert opinions and recommendations which may have been sought by the HSE at its sole discretion (for example, from the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics).

In considering an application, the HSE will also have regard to Part 1 and Part 3 of Schedule 3 of the 2013 Act. Part 3 requires the HSE to have regard to the following criteria:

- the health needs of the public;

- the cost-effectiveness of meeting health needs by supplying the item concerned rather than providing other health services;

- the availability and suitability of items for supply or reimbursement;

- the proposed costs, benefits and risks of the item or listed item relative to therapeutically similar items or listed items provided in other health service settings and the level of certainty in relation to the evidence of those costs, benefits and risks;

- the potential or actual budget impact of the item or listed item;

- the clinical need for the item or listed item;

- the appropriate level of clinical supervision required in relation to the item to ensure patient safety;

- the efficacy (performance in trial), effectiveness (performance in real situations) and added therapeutic benefit against existing standards of treatment (how much better it treats a condition than existing therapies); and

- the resources available to the HSE.

I am informed that, following a request from the HSE, the NCPE carried out an assessment of the manufacturer's economic dossier submitted in March 2016 on the cost effectiveness of Orkambi. This dossier included details on all relevant costs and relevant cost offsets including those associated with hospitalisation, disease management costs, intravenous antibiotics, adverse events and any additional costs arising in patients not taking Orkambi.

The NCPE has completed its Health Technology Assessment and this is available on its website. It was submitted to the HSE in June 2016. The NCPE determined, following an evaluation of the economic dossier, that the manufacturer failed to demonstrate cost-effectiveness or value for money from using the drug. The NCPE have confirmed that all relevant costs were included in the analysis. In line with the HSE's assessment process, the HSE Drugs Committee considered the NCPE recommendation, the manufacturers submissions and commercial offer and other information. Following this consideration the Drugs Committee did not recommend reimbursement at the current price. The HSE Directorate considered the Drugs Committee’s recommendation in December and the Directorate took the decision not to reimburse at the current price offered by the company.

The HSE has since re-entered into negotiations with Vertex, the manufacturer of Orkambi, with a view to significantly reducing the cost of Orkambi. A meeting was held in December and again in early January. Following completion of the negotiation process, I am advised that the HSE’s Drugs Committee met at the end of January and considered the manufacturer's latest price offerings. The matter is currently under consideration by HSE Leadership and will be deliberated at its next available meeting. A decision on reimbursement will be made on objective, scientific and economic grounds in line with the 2013 Act.

I fully support the HSE in its efforts to reduce the price of this medicine and I would call on all public representatives, including the members of this house, to do the same.

Hospital Appointments Status

 409. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when a person (details supplied) in County Donegal can expect an appointment for a follow-up check-up from Letterkenny University Hospital following a gallbladder operation in June 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5634/17]

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.

Grant Payments

 410. Deputy Darragh O'Brien Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the grant programmes that are open in his Department for charitable organisations working in the disabilities sector with a specific focus on respite care; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5636/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

The Programme for Partnership Government states that the Government wishes to provide more accessible respite care to facilitate full support for people with a disability. Respite Services are provided directly by the Health Service Executive (HSE) or by agencies funded by the HSE to provide services on its behalf.

Budget 2017 includes an increased allocation to the Disability Services Programme in the HSE to address a number of key priorities in the Programme for Partnership Government. The allocation for disability services, including respite, will rise to over €1.654bn in 2017, an increase of €92 million on the Budget 2016 allocation.

Any organisation that wishes to discuss funding arrangements for the provision of respite services, should contact the Disability Manager in their local health office in the first instance.

Ambulance Service

 411. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the testing regime in place for the water supply to the downstairs ambulance station in Merlin Park Hospital, in particular the frequency of the testing; if it is done on an ongoing basis as is done for water supply to unit 7; if he will provide the results of same for the past two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5642/17]

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 directly to you.

Ambulance Service Data

 412. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of emergency transfers undertaken by the HSE Galway ambulance service to Dublin in the period January 2016 to December 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5643/17]

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 directly to you.

Ambulance Service Accommodation

 413. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the cost to date of the provision of the temporary buildings housing the ambulance service at Merlin Park Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5644/17]

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 directly to you.

Ambulance Service

 414. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the details of the plan for the ambulance service at Merlin Park in terms of a permanent facility from which the crews can operate safely in view of concerns (details supplied); the status of the plan; the timescale for delivery of the plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5645/17]

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 directly to you.

Health Services Provision

 415. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of the commitments given in the programme for Government to assist in the purchase of defibrillators for public use; the funding provided to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5650/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy): Information on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy Zoom on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy The commitment referred to by the Deputy is largely a function of the annual Estimates process and it is in this context that funding may be pursued. Meanwhile, community groups may apply to the HSE for lottery funding to help with the purchase of defibrillators.

One of the means to help improve health outcomes in this area is through the expansion of the National First Response Network. Community first responder groups comprise this national network. These are people from local communities who are trained in basic life support and the use of defibrillators that attend a potentially life threatening emergency in their area. They are then able to provide an early intervention in situations such as heart attack or cardiac arrest by providing, among other things, resuscitation and defibrillation.

Cardiac First Responders (CFR) Ireland, launched in 2015, is the national umbrella organisation for Community First Responders Groups. CFR Ireland works with the National Ambulance Service, Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council and the Centre for Emergency Medical Science UCD. There are currently 141 Community First Responder groups tasked by the National Ambulance Service. If an emergency 999/112 call for cardiac arrest, choking, chest pain or breathing difficulties is made to the National Ambulance Service in an area where a CFR group is established, the on-duty CFR member gets a text from the National Ambulance Service at the same time that an ambulance is despatched with location and call details. The First Responder then goes straight to the scene and administers initial care (defibrillation if required) until the National Ambulance Service Emergency resources arrive.

Medical Card Drugs Availability

 416. Deputy Pat Buckley Information on Pat Buckley Zoom on Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the rationale for the exclusion of the drug Roflumilast from being covered by medical cards in view of its prohibitive cost for persons and its effectiveness in treating the severity of COPD. [5661/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, the HSE has statutory responsibility for the administration of the community drug schemes; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Long-Term Illness Scheme Coverage

 417. Deputy Pat Buckley Information on Pat Buckley Zoom on Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the rationale for the exclusion of the chronic disease COPD from those covered by the long-term illness scheme; and his plans to change this. [5662/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The LTI Scheme was established under Section 59(3) of the Health Act 1970 (as amended). The conditions covered by the LTI are: acute leukaemia; mental handicap; cerebral palsy; mental illness (in a person under 16); cystic fibrosis; multiple sclerosis; diabetes insipidus; muscular dystrophies; diabetes mellitus; parkinsonism; epilepsy; phenylketonuria; haemophilia; spina bifida; hydrocephalus; and conditions arising from the use of Thalidomide. Under the LTI Scheme, patients receive drugs, medicines, and medical and surgical appliances directly related to the treatment of their illness, free of charge.

There are no plans to extend the list of conditions covered by the Scheme.

Accident and Emergency Departments

 418. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he will address concerns that a significant percentage of admissions to accident and emergency departments are due to adverse reactions to prescription medication; the measures in place to address this avoidable situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5663/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Currently the system does not collate at a national level details of the numbers of patients who are admitted to Emergency Departments due to adverse reactions to prescription medicine. However there are processes in place for monitoring and regulating the safety of prescribed medicines.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) is the statutory agency responsible for monitoring the safety of licensed medicines. Monitoring is carried out in a number of ways including review and evaluation of suspected adverse reaction reports, published literature, epidemiological studies and additional clinical trial results. The HPRA continually assesses new and emerging safety data as it becomes available and undertakes regulatory action as appropriate.

The HPRA encourages healthcare professionals and medicine users to report suspected adverse reactions to medicines. Such reports are essential for the HPRA to ensure that regulatory action/proposals take account of all available data. There are several options in place for reporting suspected adverse reactions to the HPRA including online reporting options and the traditional “yellow card” which can be completed and forwarded to HPRA utilising ‘free post’.

On Monday 19th September 2016 the HPRA’s first public information campaign went live across national radio, digital and print media. The aim of the 6 week advertising campaign was to create awareness of the importance and benefits of taking medicines safely. It encouraged the public to take three minutes to always read the information leaflet with their medicine and to make sure that they know the correct dose and instructions for use.

Pharmacists also have an important role to play in ensuring the safe use of medicines.

Under the Code of Conduct for Pharmacists and Regulation 9 and 10 of the Regulation of Retail Pharmacy Businesses Regulations 2008, pharmacists have a professional and legal responsibility to ensure that prescription-only medicines and non-prescription medicines are supplied safely to patients and members of the public, with sufficient information for their appropriate and rational use. As a recognised expert in the use of medicines, the pharmacist has a unique opportunity and duty to discharge that responsibility in their interaction with patients. Individuals taking prescription or non-prescription medicines are encouraged to discuss their medications with their pharmacist or doctor.

Long-Term Illness Scheme Coverage

 419. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the reason the drug Hepamerz is not included in the list of medications approved under the drug payment scheme or the long-term illness book; his plans to include this vital encephalopathy drug on those lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5667/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, the HSE has statutory responsibility for the administration of the community drug schemes; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Brexit Issues

 420. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the discussions that have taken place between his Department and counterparts in the Departments of health in Belfast and London regarding the continuation of the cross-border health initiative and the treatment abroad scheme after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5669/17]

 422. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if his Department has sought a specific meeting of the all-island dialogue on Brexit focused on the issue of health provision and the implications of Brexit on cross-Border health schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5671/17]

 423. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the contingency plans that have been put in place with other EU member states by his Department in the potential situation whereby no bilateral agreement can be reached with the United Kingdom for the provision of cross-Border health initiatives in the event of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5672/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 420, 422 and 423 together.

There is close co-operation between the UK and Ireland in the area of health, both on a North South and East West basis. This cooperation occurs both within the framework of our common EU membership and on a bilateral basis. The primary concern of the Department of Health in addressing the implications of Brexit is to ensure continuity of health services and to avoid any changes to the current situation that would have a negative impact on human health. This will be pursued on both a bilateral and EU-wide basis as appropriate.

An extensive programme of engagement is underway at political and official level regarding the implications of Brexit in the area of health. I discussed this matter with my Northern Ireland Minister of Health counterpart, Michelle O’Neill MLA, at the NSMC health sectoral meeting on 9 November. We noted the fact that work is ongoing in each jurisdiction to deepen analysis and that this is challenging when it is not yet known what new arrangements may emerge as regards the UK’s future relationship with the EU. We will keep this matter under review at future NSMC health sector and plenary meetings. I have discussed the issue of Brexit with the UK Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Health, David Prior, and the UK Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt. I also held bilateral meetings with the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety on 3 October 2016 and on 6 February, at which we discussed the implications of Brexit in the health sphere.

In addition to the above, there is ongoing engagement between senior officials from my Department and their counterparts in the UK and Northern Ireland in relation to Brexit. The Secretary General and Management Board of the Department of Health met with the Permanent Secretary of the Northern Irish Department of Health and his Management Team on 12 January and explored issues relating to Brexit as part of this engagement. It has been agreed to hold a further meeting in six months’ time. The Secretary General also met with the UK Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health on 17 January. Engagement will continue with the UK and Northern Executive at political and official level, particularly as positions crystallise on areas of shared interest relating to the health sector in a post-Brexit context. Of course, Ireland will be part of the EU 27 team and looks forward to working with our fellow Member States in delivering the best possible result for Ireland and for the EU. In line with the agreement at EU level, there have been and will be no negotiations with the UK until Article 50 has been triggered.

My Department is building on initial work completed to deepen its analysis of the possible impacts, risks, opportunities and contingencies arising over the longer term as a result of the UK's decision to leave the EU, including in the area of cross-border health co-operation. A Department of Health Management Board Subcommittee on Brexit was established in advance of the UK referendum to examine the implications of a decision to leave the EU on healthcare in Ireland and for Irish citizens. The Subcommittee is chaired at senior level and made up of representatives from across the Department, as well as from the HSE at National Director level. This sub-committee has met four times, with each division within my Department providing support and analysis. My Department has not yet sought a specific meeting of the All Island Dialogue on Brexit. However, the Department has tasked the HSE and its other agencies with conducting further analysis on the impact of Brexit, which is ongoing, and is currently considering the issue of a wider stakeholder consultation.

The issue of access to health services in the UK and other EU member states is being considered as part of wider contingency planning being undertaken to address the implications of Brexit in the area of health. The HSE operates a Treatment Abroad Scheme (TAS), for persons entitled to treatment in another EU/EEA Member State or Switzerland under EU Regulation 883/04, as per the procedures set out in EU Regulation 987/09, and in accordance with Department of Health Guidelines. Patients apply to the HSE TAS seeking access to public healthcare outside the State through model form E112. The application requires the patient's Irish-based public referring hospital consultant, following clinical assessment, to certify, among other things, that the treatment is medically necessary and will meet the patient’s needs. The treatment must not be available within the State or not available within a time normally necessary for obtaining it. Irish patients who had planned to travel to the UK under the Treatment Abroad Scheme may continue to do so as planned. This scheme will continue to apply to the remaining 27 EU Member States following the departure of the UK, as will initiatives such as the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive for people entitled to public patient healthcare in Ireland who want to avail of that healthcare in another EU/EEA member state. I wish to assure the Deputy that there are no immediate changes in the area of health as a consequence of the UK's decision to leave the EU. It is important to be clear that until the UK formally withdraws from the Union, it remains a full member, with all of its existing rights and obligations.

Assessing and managing the risks related to the UK’s decision to leave the EU will be an iterative process as issues emerge and recede in the coming weeks and months. Dealing with the implications of Brexit in the area of health will remain a priority over the period ahead.

Brexit Issues

 421. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of meetings of his Department's Brexit committee that have taken place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5670/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris My Department is building on initial work completed to deepen its analysis of the possible impacts, risks, opportunities and contingencies arising over the longer term as a result of the UK's decision to leave the EU, including in the area of cross-border health co-operation. A Department of Health Management Board Subcommittee on Brexit was established in advance of the UK referendum to examine the implications of a decision to leave the EU on healthcare in Ireland and for Irish citizens. The Subcommittee is chaired at senior level and made up of representatives from across the Department, as well as from the HSE at National Director level. This sub-committee has met four times, with each division within my Department providing support and analysis. The Department of Health has also tasked the HSE and its other agencies with conducting further analysis on the impact of Brexit and this work is ongoing. My Department, in cooperation with its agencies and other stakeholders, will continue to intensify detailed and focused preparations for the impact of Brexit on the health sector. The work of the Management Board sub-committee feeds into the structures coordinated centrally by the Department of the Taoiseach. My Department is represented on the Senior Officials Group on EU Affairs and the Interdepartmental Group on EU/UK Affairs, which supports the Cabinet Committee on Brexit, and provides input to a number of the workgroups set up as part of this support structure.

In addition to the Management Board sub-committee, an Interdepartmental/Interagency Group has been established to prepare a bid for the relocation of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on foot of a Government Decision at the end of October. The Government believes that Ireland would be a very suitable location and that a move to Dublin would minimise the disruption to the business of the EMA, thus ensuring continued protection of EU citizens and providing reassurance to the industries which it regulates. The Group is chaired by the Department of Health and includes representatives from the Departments of the Taoiseach, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Agriculture Food and Marine, and Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, as well as the Health Products Regulatory Authority, Health Research Board, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland. The first meeting of the Group took place on 8 November and it has met twice since. A sub-group of the EMA Working Group has also met three times.

  Questions Nos. 422 and 423 answered with Question No. 420.

Disability Services Provision

 424. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the reason a person (details supplied) has been advised that services outlined in an assessment of needs report that are essential to address the needs of the person are not currently available to them; when these services will become available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5687/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

As the Deputy's question relates to an individual case, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Services

 425. 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 fund a public centre of excellence for narcolepsy based at St James's Hospital, Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5689/17]

 459. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of a unit (details supplied) at St James's Hospital; if funding is still in place for this unit; the timeframe for its delivery; the status of the hiring of the multidisciplinary team and specialists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5967/17]

 463. Deputy John Curran Information on John Curran Zoom on John Curran asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he or the HSE will make funding available to specifically establish a national service for narcolepsy in St James's Hospital, Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5999/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 425, 459 and 463 together.

Work is underway on the proposed Centre of Excellence for Narcolepsy based in St James's Hospital which will cater for all people diagnosed with narcolepsy, including those diagnosed with narcolepsy after receiving pandemic influenza vaccine. The HSE has indicated that a business case, including a funding requirement of €1.6 million, was submitted as part of the estimates process. In relation to allocation of resources by the HSE, I have asked the Executive to reply directly to the Deputies.

Hospital Appointments Status

 426. Deputy Denise Mitchell Information on Denise Mitchell Zoom on Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he will expedite an appointment for a person (details supplied) taking account of the personal circumstances of the person; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5698/17]

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.

Air Ambulance Service Operations

 427. Deputy Peter Burke Information on Peter Burke Zoom on Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of incidences recorded over 2014 and 2015 in which the air ambulance landed at a location (details supplied) to assist persons to the relevant emergency departments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5700/17]

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 directly to you.

Services for People with Disabilities

 428. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the current expected wait time for children to have assessment of needs carried out in Dublin north central; and the current number of children waiting on assessment. [5701/17]

 429. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of children that have had an assessment of needs carried out by the HSE since 2015 to date, in Dublin north central broken down by month. [5702/17]

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. 428 and 429 together.

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

As the Deputy's question relates to an individual case, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Speech and Language Therapy Provision

 430. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the current expected wait time for children to have speech and language therapy in Dublin north central; and the current number of children waiting on treatment and receiving treatment respectively. [5703/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.

Occupational Therapy

 431. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the current expected wait time for children to receive occupational therapy in Dublin north central; and the current number of children waiting on assessment for occupational therapy and receiving treatment respectively. [5704/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.


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