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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 208 - 218
 Header Item Accident and Emergency Departments
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item HSE Expenditure
 Header Item HSE Expenditure
 Header Item Home Help Service Expenditure
 Header Item Maternity Services
 Header Item Maternity Services
 Header Item Ambulance Service Staff
 Header Item Ambulance Service
 Header Item Ambulance Service Provision

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 942 No. 1

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Written Answers Nos. 208 - 218

Accident and Emergency Departments

 208. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the cost of running the emergency department task force; the cost that would be associated with establishing this on a permanent basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12290/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The Emergency Department Taskforce (EDTF) was convened in December 2014 to provide focus and momentum in dealing with the challenges presented by ED overcrowding. The EDTF Implementation Group, co-chaired by the HSE Director General and the INMO General Secretary meets on a regular basis to oversee implementation of the ED Taskforce Action Plan and monitor ED performance. The EDTF Implementation Oversight Group has met seven times over the course of 2016 and into 2017; most recently on the 6 January 2017.

The only costs associated with the Emergency Department Taskforce are those related to servicing the meetings of the group for example catering requirements and these costs are covered by the HSE who provide administrative support to this group. EDTF delegates from outside Dublin area claim travel and subsistence as appropriate, in accordance with the HSE's National Financial Regulation NFR-05, and these costs are also covered by the HSE. My Department is not currently aware of any review of the cost of establishing the EDTF on a permanent basis but in its current format the costs involved would only pertain to the costs related to servicing the meeting as set out above.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 209. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the costs that would be associated with carrying out a feasibility study on a new and single integrated hospital waiting list management system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12291/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris This Government is committed to reducing waiting times for patients, both for patients waiting for inpatient and daycase procedures and for outpatient appointments. It is unacceptable for people to have to wait excessively long periods for necessary care.

In order to reduce this burden for patients and to ensure that best practice is applied in how waiting lists are managed, I am open to evaluating new approaches to waiting list management in our health service. I agree that greater integration of hospital waiting list management systems is a step in the right direction and IT can play a significant role in underpinning these integrated approaches.

On this basis, on 15th February during a Private Members Business debate in the Seanad regarding waiting lists, I committed to asking the NTPF to examine the feasibility of progressing to a more integrated approach to waiting list management at Hospital Group level.

Following on from that debate, on 23rd February, officials from my Department wrote to the NTPF to request that it establish and lead a project team of relevant experts and stakeholders to conduct a feasibility study regarding integrated approaches to waiting list management at Hospital Group level. The NTPF is in the process of scoping out the structure and format of this study and I expect to receive a preliminary plan in the coming weeks. This feasibility study will be carried out within existing resources.

The NTPF has been asked to report to me within six months, and on finalisation of that report I expect that it will be published.

HSE Expenditure

 210. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the cost of increasing the HSE information technology budget to bring it to the EU and OECD averages, respectively; the cost of increasing the HSE information technology budget by an average of 2%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12292/17]

 211. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the cost of fast tracking the roll-out of the electronic health record; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12293/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 210 and 211 together.

  The HSE have developed a business case for the implementation of an electronic health care record (EHR) in Ireland, building on the current platform of investments made in recent years in order to improve the penetration of ICT across the entire system. It also includes an integration capability to support new models of care - significant new systems deployments that can provide the necessary patient information across the continuum of care, particularly between Primary/Community and the Acute sector.

  The business case sets out a number of investment scenarios including timescales for implementation and roll out. In the business case, a 5 year and a 9 year technology investment programme is developed but there is flexibility within its scope to stretch out timescales further. The total of all estimated costs including business change elements for a 5 year implementation are in the range of €647m to €875m respectively and the 9 year figure is between €609m-€824m. The five year scenario could be considered a ‘fast track’ approach. These costs would only arise if full implementation in all sites were to take place. The costs have been estimated based on market engagements in 2015/16.

  A technology and business change project of this scale and scope has a number of inherent risks. Realistic timescales are important to ensure that the adoption of both the technology and the business change required by front line staff can be absorbed and managed in a coherent way. In addition to resourcing the EHR project with substantial manpower and financial resources, experience from other countries demonstrates that the vendor markets supplying many of these services needs to be carefully managed in terms of capacity and capability to deliver working tailored solutions in a satisfactory manner.

  Cross country comparisons on ICT and eHealth spending are difficult to make due to the variety of health system arrangements. For the estimates below ICT spending is composed of Capital and Revenue. Based on current gross vote figures for HSE in 2017 of €14.6bn approximately, a 2% increase on the current level of HSE ICT spending would require an investment figure of €292m being made available. A mid term capital review is currently underway and the ICT capital component will be progressed further in that context.

HSE Expenditure

 212. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the cost of employing a speech and language therapist, an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist and a psychologist, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12294/17]

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.

Home Help Service Expenditure

 213. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the cost of increasing home help hours by 10% and increasing home care packages by 10%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12295/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Maternity Services

 214. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the cost of ensuring that maternity hospitals have access to foetal anomaly screening with the requisite staff and equipment; the cost of employing additional sonographers and other personnel required for rolling out anomaly screening to each of the 19 maternity units; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12296/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.

Maternity Services

 215. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the cost of ensuring that Ireland meets the birthrate plus standard for midwifery staffing; the cost of employing a midwife, consultant obstetricians and a gynaecologist respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12297/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris In relation to this particular query, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.

Ambulance Service Staff

 216. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the cost of employing an advanced paramedic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12298/17]

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 to you directly.

Ambulance Service

 217. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the cost of purchasing, equipping and staffing 12 new ambulances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12299/17]

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 to you directly.

Ambulance Service Provision

 218. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the costs associated with the implementation of the National Ambulance Service capacity review in terms of personnel, vehicles and equipment, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12300/17]

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 to you directly.


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