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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 770-792
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Hospital Equipment
 Header Item Hospital Equipment
 Header Item Orthodontic Services
 Header Item Orthodontic Services Waiting Lists
 Header Item Accident and Emergency Departments
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Administration
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Health Screening Programmes
 Header Item Health Services
 Header Item Health Screening Programmes
 Header Item Health Services
 Header Item Health Services Expenditure
 Header Item School Curriculum
 Header Item Health Services Funding
 Header Item Medicinal Products Reimbursement
 Header Item Health Services Funding
 Header Item Hospital Staff Data
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Orthodontic Services

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 943 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 118 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 770-792

Medical Card Applications

 770. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when a medical card will issue in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12995/17]

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 Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information was issued to Oireachtas members.

Hospital Equipment

 771. 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 annual running costs of the mobile MRI scanner unit at South Tipperary General Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12996/17]

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.

Hospital Equipment

 772. 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 locations of all alliance medical mobile MRI scanner units situated in hospitals in the south east; the annual running costs of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12997/17]

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.

Orthodontic Services

 773. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when a person (details supplied) will receive an appointment for orthodontic treatment. [13000/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for reply to the Deputy.

Orthodontic Services Waiting Lists

 774. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the detail of the orthodontic treatment waiting lists with the Health Service Executive Offaly division. [13005/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for reply to the Deputy.

Accident and Emergency Departments

 775. Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran Information on Kevin Boxer Moran Zoom on Kevin Boxer Moran asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his plans to liaise with the Ministers for Finance and Social Protection regarding penalties or programmes for otherwise healthy persons who cost the State money by repeatedly clogging up accident and emergency services through multiple cases of injuries and incoherence arising out of intoxication, which is leading to a reduced service for other more vulnerable persons; if such penalties could include the docking of a portion of social welfare payments or an increased income tax surcharge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13023/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Emergency Departments (ED) provide a 24 hour healthcare service for people, irrespective of the nature of their problem or their social circumstances. ED staff adopt a non-judgmental approach to patients who are intoxicated, misuse substances, have social problems or who may be temporarily unable to look after themselves.

A key challenge in dealing with undiagnosed and acutely distressed patients in an Emergency Department environment is to distinguish between distress that is the result of illness and that which is due to anxiety. This challenge is greater in the case of deciding if someone is simply intoxicated or has a serious medical problem that became manifest after they have been drinking alcohol. The management of patients who have a head injury but also happen/appear to be intoxicated is just one example of why extreme caution and diligence is needed in this area.

It must always be remembered that people who have taken alcohol or other drugs often require medical assistance, either as a direct result of the substances they have taken or because they are more likely to be injured or develop an acute medical complaint.

The docking of social welfare payments or increase tax surcharges as identified by the Deputy are not within the remit of the Department of Health.

Hospital Appointments Administration

 776. Deputy Pat Deering Information on Patrick Deering Zoom on Patrick Deering asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the dates and the criteria that will be followed for a person (details supplied) waiting for two hip operations. [13061/17]

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.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 777. 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 if there are data available on patient waiting list numbers and waiting times for a number of procedures (details supplied). [13062/17]

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.

Health Screening Programmes

 778. 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 if there are data available to support a matter (details supplied) in terms of the number of persons who receive a negative diagnosis from a biopsy, having tested positive with the initial blood test. [13063/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris 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.

Health Services

 779. 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 if there are data available on the number of diagnoses of coeliac disease that are confirmed in the absence of such a biopsy, in view of the need to standardise testing and diagnosis protocol. [13064/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris 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.

Health Screening Programmes

 780. 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 if the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, NICE, guidelines are still the agreed protocols in place for medical management of coeliac disease diagnosis; if so, if there are audit data available on compliance with this best practice approach; and if there are agreed training programmes in place for medical professionals to follow these guidelines. [13065/17]

 781. 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 his plans to develop a national screening programme for coeliac disease in view of the potential positive impact that proper diagnosis can have on both the patient and the health service given that potentially one third of persons with coeliac disease have not been diagnosed. [13066/17]

 782. 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 if a national screening programme is not under consideration, if a targeted programme will be considered in view of the fact that the likelihood of having coeliac rises to one in ten for blood relatives of those with a positive diagnosis [13067/17]

 785. 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 if consideration has been given to an assessment of the long-term value to the health service of establishing a national screening service for coeliac disease for all children (details supplied).  [13070/17]

 808. 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 his plans to develop a national coeliac disease register to identify external contributing factors or to establish possible causation in diagnosis, in addition to any regional variations in the figures for testing, diagnosis and post-diagnosis supports based on availability of financial or medical resources (details supplied). [13201/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 780 to 782, inclusive, 785 and 808 together.

The UK NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) guidelines are the current guidelines in use in Ireland for coeliac disease diagnosis and management. This disease is included in the undergraduate and postgraduate medical training curricula.

Currently, screening for coeliac disease is not routinely carried out. The blood test required is reasonably, but not completely, accurate. This means that routinely screening the entire population could produce a high number of false-positive results. In other words, people would be misdiagnosed as having coeliac disease when they did not have it. Therefore, screening for coeliac disease is usually only recommended for people who are experiencing symptoms of the condition or those with known risk factors for the condition, such as having a family history of the disease.

Those who are offered serological testing for coeliac disease should include first degree relatives of people with coeliac disease. A positive blood test result may give an indication of coeliac disease, but definitive diagnosis requires an endoscopic examination to obtain a biopsy of the small bowel. The diagnosis and treatment of coeliac disease is primarily managed by GPs who are encouraged to follow the NICE UK guidelines in the course of their practice. There is currently no national register of people with coeliac disease in Ireland.

On the question of targeted screening, my Department is aware that the international scientific literature, including a review against the criteria of the UK National Screening Committee, does not support the introduction of such a screening programme.

Health Services

 783. 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 if there are tools and resources in place to collect, analyse and evaluate data in terms of both patient compliance post-diagnosis, for example, diet, annual testing and so on, and the consistency of post-diagnosis aftercare from medical professionals.  [13068/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris 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.

Health Services Expenditure

 784. 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 if there are figures available that can quantify the cost to the health service of patient care for those living with coeliac disease in terms of direct management of those diagnosed as well as the level of potentially avoidable hospital admissions and outpatient treatments in cases in which the primary diagnosis was coeliac disease. [13069/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris 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.

  Question No. 785 answered with Question No. 780.

School Curriculum

 786. 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 if there is a plan in place to develop educational supports within junior and senior schools possibly under the CSPE curriculum to support needs (details supplied). [13071/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris My Department has been advised by the Department of Education that custom and practice is that schools ask parents before their child enters school, whether primary or post-primary, to inform the school in confidence if there are any medical conditions, allergies etc. that teachers ought to be aware of. Schools then take whatever measures they feel are necessary to cater for the specific needs of the enrolled student, and this can include seeking additional resources where a student’s condition requires additional support e.g. physical or learning needs. Children with Coeliac disease would not generally require such extra supports, such as a special needs assistant.

The SPHE syllabus in primary school, particularly in fifth and sixth classes, asks teachers and students to ‘explore and examine’ some of the illnesses particularly associated with food intake or special health conditions: coeliac, diabetic, anorexia, bulimia, the dietary needs of different age groups and individuals.

In post-primary schools, both the existing SPHE syllabus and new SPHE short course emphasise the importance of diet and nutrition to health. They do not insist on coverage of particular conditions and how to approach them, leaving schools the flexibility to look at topics which may be particularly relevant to their students. Given the range of possible conditions and allergies that a large post primary school could have among its student cohort, the emphasis is on promoting holistic understanding of diet and diet-related conditions, while teacher guidelines also focus on broader issues e.g. school canteen food.

It is also important to stress that the optional subject Home Economics can play a significant part in raising awareness of diet and diet-related conditions, at both junior and senior cycles in post-primary schools.

Ultimately, it is expected that parents will provide schools with the appropriate information on their child’s condition, allergy or illness, and this can and ought to include any specific advice that teachers need to have in order to support the child. It is equally important to remember that teachers, or other students, are not medics and cannot take the place of qualified medical personnel e.g. administering medicines.

Health Services Funding

 787. 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 his plans to review funding or the appropriateness of managing funding for persons with coeliac disease within the disability section of a service rather than a more relevant area such as health and well-being (details supplied). [13072/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris 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.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

 788. 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 total saving achieved per annum by removing the cost of gluten-free products from medical cards since the cut was introduced in 2012; and his plans to review this policy. [13073/17]

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 medicinal products under the community drug schemes in accordance with the provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. I have asked the HSE to reply to the Deputy directly on the issue of savings.

Gluten-free products have become more widely available in supermarkets in recent years and tend to be significantly cheaper than products sold through community pharmacies. Coeliac patients can also claim medical expenses tax relief on expenditure incurred on gluten-free products manufactured specifically for coeliacs. There are no plans to reinstate these products on the list of reimbursable items under the GMS and other community drug schemes.

Health Services Funding

 789. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the criteria for funding voluntary day-care centres; if it is per number of service users or percentage of running costs; if there is a national standard for funding; if not, if there is regional variations; if he has a formal policy for the funding of voluntary day-care centres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13080/17]

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.

Hospital Staff Data

 790. Deputy Eamon Scanlon Information on Eamon Scanlon Zoom on Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of consultant neurologists currently employed and serving the north west region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13082/17]

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.

Medical Card Applications

 791. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when a decision will be made in respect of a medical card application (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13084/17]

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 Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information was issued to Oireachtas members.

Orthodontic Services

 792. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of orthodontic treatment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13086/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for reply to the Deputy.


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