Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 107-126
 Header Item Primary Care Services Provision
 Header Item Physiotherapy Provision
 Header Item Occupational Therapy Waiting Lists
 Header Item Speech and Language Therapy Waiting Lists
 Header Item Dietician Service Provision
 Header Item Audiology Services Provision
 Header Item Hospital Staff
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists Action Plans
 Header Item Health Promotion
 Header Item Respite Care Services Provision
 Header Item Health Services Funding
 Header Item Capital Expenditure Programme
 Header Item Mental Health Services Funding
 Header Item Healthcare Infrastructure Provision
 Header Item Disability Services Funding
 Header Item Agriculture Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme Payments
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Fish Exports
 Header Item Clean Oceans Initiative

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 987 No. 5

First Page Previous Page Page of 77 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 107-126

Primary Care Services Provision

 107. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of persons waiting for a primary care ophthalmology appointment by LHO, age and time waiting. [41321/19]

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 direct reply to the Deputy.

Physiotherapy Provision

 108. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of persons waiting for a primary care physiotherapy appointment by LHO, age and time waiting. [41322/19]

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 Waiting Lists

 109. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of persons waiting for a primary care occupational therapy appointment by LHO, age and time waiting. [41323/19]

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.

Speech and Language Therapy Waiting Lists

 110. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of persons waiting for a primary care speech and language therapy appointment by LHO, age and time waiting. [41324/19]

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.

Dietician Service Provision

 111. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of persons waiting for a primary care dietician appointment by LHO, age and time waiting. [41325/19]

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.

Audiology Services Provision

 112. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of persons waiting for a primary care audiology appointment by LHO, age and time waiting. [41326/19]

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 direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Staff

 113. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris further to Parliamentary Question No. 352 of 1 October 2019, when the HSE is expected to conclude its review of the doctor at Portiuncula Hospital; if the doctor is continuing to work at Portiuncula Hospital or other hospitals while under review; if not, if they have been suspended; if the doctor is still being paid; if all patients of the doctor will be informed once the review is complete; if the Medical Council will be informed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41330/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this question relates to the circumstances of an individual case it would be inappropriate for me to comment. I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to you directly, as soon as possible.

Hospital Waiting Lists Action Plans

 114. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he will address the waiting time for public cataracts procedures; the way in which he plans to address this waiting time as an over reliance on the treatment purchase fund. [41349/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The Programme for Government commits to reducing waiting times for procedures in hospitals and has provided funding to the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) to deliver on this commitment. Budget 2019 announced that the Government had further increased investment in tackling waiting lists, with funding to the NTPF increasing from €55 million in 2018 to €75 million in 2019.

  The joint Department of Health, HSE, and NTPF Scheduled Care Access Plan 2019 was published in March. Under the plan there has been a continued effort to improve patient access for certain high-volume procedures, including cataracts. The NTPF procures capacity for each of the procedures identified in the Action Plan, including cataract procedures, in both private hospitals and public hospitals. The Action Plan also strikes the appropriate balance between maximising the number of patients treated in both public and private capacity, as appropriate, and ensuring the best return for the taxpayer.

  Cataracts were also one of the specialties targeted by the NTPF under the Inpatient Day Case Action Plan for 2018, and by end of August 2019, the number of people waiting nationally for a cataract procedure had almost halved, from 10,024 in July 2017 to 5,528. In this same period, there has also been a reduction of 88% in the number of patients waiting over 9 months for a cataract operation. Further details of the reduction in the number of people waiting, by time band, is provided below.

  Furthermore, as part of the IPDC Action Plan 2018, a stand-alone high-volume consultant-led cataract theatre was opened by the University of Limerick Hospital Group in Nenagh Hospital, in November 2018. This initiative continues to have a positive impact in reducing waiting times for patients waiting for cataract procedures, especially in the mid-west. Given the central location of Nenagh Hospital it is envisaged that, in time, it has the potential to provide capacity for cataract surgery for patients on waiting lists in public hospitals in the surrounding geographical areas.

  In addition, in line with the objectives of Sláintecare, I have asked the HSE and NTPF to work together this year with the objective of developing medium-long term improvement initiatives for patient access to hospital procedures. A Working Group comprised of representatives from the HSE, NTPF, and Departmental officials, has been established to examine ways of improving access for patients waiting for scheduled care. Part of this work includes examining initiatives which would move care to the most appropriate setting, and at the lowest level of complexity, such as providing ophthalmology services in the community.

  The following table provides details of the national waiting list for cataract surgery at the end of August 2019.

  Total > 3 Mths > 6 Mths > 9 Mths > 12 Mths >18 Mths
End July 2017 10,024 7,967 6,060 4,371 2,784 629
End December 2018 6,440 3,607 1,426 554 276 107
End Aug 2019 5,528 3,173 1,510 527 201 62

Health Promotion

 115. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his plans to introduce a cardio-wellbeing and information campaign in view of the prevalence of cardiovascular disease here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41350/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): Information on Catherine Byrne Zoom on Catherine Byrne There are many factors involved in causing cardiovascular disease, and these are also causal factors in terms of ill-health in general. These issues do not exist in isolation, and can only be addressed through a multi-faceted, intersectoral approach. Healthy Ireland, A Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing 2013-2025, launched in 2013, is the national framework for action to improve the health and wellbeing of the country over the coming generation. It takes a “whole of Government” and “whole of society” approach to improving health and wellbeing, which is based on international experience and thinking in addressing the broad social determinants of health. Through the Healthy Ireland Framework and its constituent policies including Tobacco Free Ireland, A Healthy Weight for Ireland: Obesity Policy and Action Plan and Get Ireland Active! National Physical Activity Plan for Ireland, actions are being progressed in a number of areas to address the root causes of health problems including cardiovascular disease.

  Raising awareness among the population and engaging citizens and communities in improving their own health is an important part of the Healthy Ireland agenda. The current Healthy Ireland communications and citizen engagement campaign aims to encourage people to make better health choices using three main themes - healthy eating, physical activity and mental wellbeing - all relevant to preventing cardiovascular disease, and signposts them to trusted sources of information and support to help make positive lifestyle changes.

Respite Care Services Provision

 116. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if a referral for respite services for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal has been received; if so, when respite will be offered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41354/19]

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.

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

Health Services Funding

 117. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if his officials have been involved with putting in place a sustainable funding model for section 39 voluntary health organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39609/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Funding is provided to the HSE for Health services in accordance with the letter of determination which sets out the approved level of overall HSE expenditure for the year in question. As the Deputy will be aware, voluntary organisations provide services on behalf of the Health Service Executive, through section 39 service level agreements. These agreements underpin the delivery of health and social care services provided by these organisations.

The HSE works closely with these service providers with regard to setting service delivery levels appropriate to the funding available in planning for overall provision of service levels within the annual National Service Plan.

As the Deputy will be aware, I established an independent review group in 2017 to look more generally at the role of voluntary organisations in health and personal social services and their relationship with the State. The Group reported earlier this year and made a range of recommendations covering areas such as the ownership and governance of voluntary organisations; dialogue and engagement between the State and the voluntary sector; and broader issues related to health system development. These recommendations are being considered and taken forward through a number of mechanisms including the Sláintecare reform programme and a new dialogue forum which will be established before the end of the year.

Capital Expenditure Programme

 118. Deputy Martin Heydon Information on Martin Heydon Zoom on Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when decisions will be made on applications for capital projects in County Kildare under Project Ireland 2040; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39640/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The Health Service Executive recently published its Capital Plan for 2019-2021 outlining projects to be progressed over the three-year period, as part of Project Ireland 2040.

The Capital Plan includes a number of projects for County Kildare, particularly the important developments at Naas General Hospital such as the new units for endoscopy, day procedures, physical medicine and oncology, for which planning permission has been granted.

The Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects and has advised that this project is anticipated to go to tender in 2020, with construction expected to commence in 2021 for completion in late 2022.

The Capital Plan also includes a new acute mental health unit, for which the design team been appointed and the design is being progressed with a view to making an application for planning permission in the first half of 2020.

It is important to note that all proposals must progress through a number of approval stages, in line with the Public Spending Code. The final decision to proceed with the construction of a project cannot be made until the tender process has been completed and the costings reviewed to ensure that the proposal delivers value for money and remains affordable, and that sufficient funding is available to fund the project to completion, including equipping and commissioning costs.

The delivery of capital projects is a dynamic process and is subject to the successful completion of the various approval stages, which can impact on the timeline for delivery.

The HSE actively manages the capital programme in order to ensure it has flexibility to progress as many projects as possible within the available funding, particularly in the event of any project not progressing as anticipated.

Mental Health Services Funding

 119. Deputy Joan Collins Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the reason his Department is withholding €25 million of the €55 million allocated to mental health services for 2019.  [41167/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly Budget 2019 made allowance for an additional €55 million for Mental Health Services to build on existing services. This is made up of the €20 million continuing cost in 2019 of developments initiated in 2018, combined with €35 million for further new developments. Since 2012, the Mental Health HSE Budget has been increased by almost 40%, from €711 million to nearly €1 billion this year.

This investment has enabled the HSE Mental Health Services to progress initiatives agreed in the National Service Plan 2019. Initiatives such as e-mental health pilot programmes and Clinical Programmes in areas such as Eating Disorders and ADHD continue to be developed and implemented with this funding. The relocation of the National Forensic Mental Health Service to Portrane is another significant investment undertaken by HSE Mental Health Services.

To date, the HSE has drawn down €30 million of the foregoing funding, and an application for a further €10 million is currently being processed. In addition, €3 million has been paid to Pobal for the Community Mental Health Fund.

The management of the remaining €12m funding for 2019 will be agreed with the HSE in the coming weeks.

Healthcare Infrastructure Provision

 120. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the details of each State infrastructure project that is in development or is due for completion in 2019 in which it is in excess of the budget assigned to the project for its current stage to date. [39522/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.

Disability Services Funding

 121. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the level of funding provided for children with autism over six years of age to cater for their needs in each of the past five years; the number of children with autism on waiting lists for supports from the HSE; the average waiting time for those on waiting lists; and the longest waiting time for a child with autism over six years of age seeking supports from the HSE by county. [41160/19]

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 service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Agriculture Scheme Appeals

 122. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the options available to a person (details supplied) in relation to a failed appeal; if there are other routes of appeal they can explore; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41203/19]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The Agriculture Appeals Office operates independently of my Department. The Agriculture Appeals Act, 2001, provides that the decision of an Appeals Officer is final and conclusive, subject to the following circumstances provided in the Act:

- an appeals officer may   revise a decision of an appeals officer if it appears to him or her that the decision was erroneous in the light of new evidence or of new facts brought to his or her notice since the date on which it was given, or if it appears to him or her that there has been any relevant change of circumstances since the decision was given (Section 10.1 of the Act). This would require the submission of new information that was not made available to the Appeals Officer at the time of the appeal decision;

  - the Director may, at any time, revise any decision of an appeals officer, if it appears to him or her that the decision was erroneous by reason of some mistake having been made in relation to the law or the facts (Section 10.2 of the Act). It is open to either party to the appeal to request a review of the appeal decision citing an error in fact or in law in the decision;

  - any person dissatisfied with—

(a)   the decision of an appeals officer, or

(b)   the revised decision of the Director, may appeal that decision or revised decision, as the case may be, to the High Court on any question of law (Section 11 of the Act).

  It is also open to the person concerned to raise the matter with the Office of the Ombudsman.

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme Payments

 123. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if an ANC payment will be processed for a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41207/19]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The person named submitted an application for the 2019 Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme on the 30 April 2019.

  The advance payment under the scheme has issued to the nominated bank account of the person named.

Departmental Expenditure

 124. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the incidental expenses incurred by his Department from 1 January 2018 to 1 January 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41240/19]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Incidental Expenses are part of the "Training and Development and Incidental Expenses" functional category of my Department's Administrative Budget as shown in the Revised Estimates Volume. 

  My Department's allocation for 2018 was €5,950,000.  Of the €5,102,221 expended in this category in 2018, €1,482,901 was on Training and Development and €3,619,320 was on  Incidental Expenses.

Fish Exports

 125. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae Information on Danny Healy-Rae Zoom on Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if a market will be provided for oysters (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41259/19]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed I assume the Deputy is referring to native flat oysters for which Tralee Bay is the largest production area in Ireland. I understand from the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority that there are no certification issues relating to the native oysters from Tralee Bay which are primarily exported to EU markets. The Tralee Oyster Fisheries Society Ltd has been approved for funding under the European and Maritime Fisheries Fund by the South West Fisheries Local Action Group for over €90,000 in 2018 and over €40,000 in 2019.

My ministerial colleagues and I regularly undertake trade missions which offer a unique opportunity to promote Irish Seafood to the international markets. This year, I have led a number of trade missions which included visiting the SIAL China Food Fair in Shanghai, one of the world’s largest food trade shows. In June, I travelled to Japan and South Korea to continue to strengthen and build ties between Ireland and these two countries in relation to the agri-food sector including seafood.

Bord Bia also plays a significant part in promoting market development in the Irish seafood industry and has attended many trade shows across the EU and internationally giving a number of seafood companies the opportunity to promote their products to the wider markets. In addition to its usual funding, my Department has approved €2.2 million under the European Maritime Fisheries Fund Operational Programme to support Bord Bia’s seafood promotion strategy. This has supported Bord Bia showcasing Irish seafood at trade shows such as Biofach in Germany, the Seafood Expo in Boston, the Seafood Expo Global in Brussels, PLMA International in Amsterdam and recently at the International Seafood & Technology Expo in Tokyo. A total of 40 Irish seafood companies have attended and had the opportunity to promote their businesses.

I would encourage any seafood producers looking to optimise their market potential to contact Bord Bia to take advantage of the market promotion work that is available for Irish seafood products and to feed into the planning of future trade missions that could help to optimise placement in international export markets.

Clean Oceans Initiative

 126. Deputy John Brady Information on John Brady Zoom on John Brady asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the number of fishermen that have signed up to the clean oceans initiative; the amount of waste that has been recovered; the costs to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41292/19]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed In January of this year, I launched the Clean Oceans Initiative to address the serious issue of marine plastic pollution. I have tasked Bord lascaigh Mhara (BIM) with leading implementation of the initiative. I understand that 199 Vessels have signed up to the Clean Ocean Initiative at 12 of Ireland's busiest ports with a total of 968 crew members now participating. BIM has reported that, for the first nine months of this year, over 365 tonnes of marine litter has been collected and 9 tonnes of used fishing nets collected for recycling by BIM’s mobile shredder, the ‘Green Machine’.

BIM estimates the cost of funding the Clean Oceans Initiative at €210,000 and has submitted an application for funding under the European Maritime Fisheries Fund to my Department.


Last Updated: 30/06/2020 14:27:35 First Page Previous Page Page of 77 Next Page Last Page