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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 136-148
 Header Item Health Service Executive Staff Remuneration
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Pension Provisions
 Header Item Medical Card Appeals
 Header Item General Practitioner Services
 Header Item Health Services
 Header Item Medical Card Appeals
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Road Maintenance
 Header Item Tourism Promotion
 Header Item Driving Licences

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 796 No. 3

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Written Answers Nos. 136-148

Health Service Executive Staff Remuneration

 136. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will re-examine a matter (details supplied) on the biomedical science training allowance at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9. [13485/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The HSE has in the past confirmed to all health sector employers that Student Medical Scientists on placement must be paid the monthly training allowance as set out in my Department's consolidated salary scales.

  This allowance was approved for continued award to new beneficiaries, following the review of public sector allowances conducted in 2012. The current rate payable is €813.58 per month.

  Following discussions with my Department, the HSE has indicated to all relevant hospitals that arrangements should be made to effect the necessary payments to the current and future student cohorts. I understand that the necessary arrangements are now in train.

Medical Card Applications

 137. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 3. [13486/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Pension Provisions

 138. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will ensure that the restoration of outstanding pension entitlements to a Health Service Executive pensioner (details supplied) following a decision by the Pensions Ombudsman; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13500/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly As the Deputy's query relates to an operational issue, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Medical Card Appeals

 139. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will review an appeal for a full medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry. [13503/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

General Practitioner Services

 140. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5, a medical card holder, who is in his 70s and entitled to a free driving licence every three years, has been asked to pay his GP €55 to sign a driving licence medical form. [13514/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White Under the General Medical Services (GMS) contract, a general practitioner (GP) is expected to provide his/her patients who hold medical cards or GP visit cards with all proper and necessary treatment of a kind generally undertaken by a GP.

The contract between the HSE and GPs under the GMS Scheme stipulates that fees are not paid to GPs by the HSE in respect of certain medical certificates which may be required, for example, "under the Social Welfare Acts or for the purposes of insurance or assurance policies or for the issue of driving licences".

Consultation fees charged by general practitioners to private patients and to GMS patients outside the terms of the GMS contract are a matter of private contract between the clinicians and the patients. While I have no role in relation to such fees, I would expect clinicians to have regard to the overall economic situation in setting their fees. I should add that General Practitioners who hold GMS contracts with the HSE must not seek or accept money from medical card or GP visit card holders in respect of routine treatment.

Health Services

 141. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly in view of the fact that there are more than 220,000 persons with vision impairment here, the steps he will take to tackle this problem; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13515/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch There are detection and treatment services available at present, in the community and in acute hospital settings, for many conditions which can lead to vision impairment and blindness. The Department's priorities are to continue to identify and address ophthalmic defects noticed at child health and/or school health examinations; to provide free eye examinations and free spectacles to all adult medical card holders; to screen for diabetic retinopathy and to reduce long waiting lists.

Medical Card Appeals

 142. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the position regarding a medical card appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13519/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

  Question No. 143 answered with Question No. 135.

Medical Card Applications

 144. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if and when a medical card will issue in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13544/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Road Maintenance

 145. Deputy Robert Dowds Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the reason South Dublin County Council received a lower amount of funding than Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council under the local and regional road maintenance initiative, despite the fact that south Dublin is geographically larger than Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13464/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads in its area, is a statutory function of each road authority in accordance with the provisions of section 13 of the Roads Act, 1993. Works on such roads are a matter for the relevant local authority to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants. 

As you know I recently announced additional funding of €2.7 million under a road maintenance initiative for road drainage schemes.  In determining the annual non-national road grant allocations, the overall objective is to resource each local authority appropriately in as fair and equitable a manner as is possible, and using the established methodology which is applied to all local authority areas.

These additional grants, over and above the amounts announced by me in January last, were provided to assist local authorities with the urgent maintenance and upkeep of roads in their respective administrative areas.  As there tends to be  higher costs per kilometre  in urban Council areas than in rural ones, these allocations are based on 'adjusted' road lengths.  

Since a large part of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council area comprises the highly built-up former Borough of Dun Laoghaire, it merits a factor of 2 (twice the road length) while the slightly less densly populated South Dublin County Council and also Fingal County Council have a factor of 1.5 (one and a half times the road length). Based on this methodology (which has been in use for some years), Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council was grant aided in the amount of €38,988 while South Dublin County Council was provided with €35,534, a difference of €3,454.

Tourism Promotion

 146. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the marketing or support mechanisms in place to promote shooting and fishing holidays here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13494/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The matter raised is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland.  I have referred the Deputy's question to Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland for direct reply.  Please contact my private office if a reply is not received within ten working days.

Driving Licences

 147. Deputy Martin Heydon Information on Martin Heydon Zoom on Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if the introduction of the new credit card style driving licence which was introduced in January 2013 will be reviewed to allow customers to bring their own photos with them to be scanned while applying for the licence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13504/13]

 148. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar in view of the threat, facing the professional ID market, and the possibility of a loss of jobs in the printed photographic industry, if the Road Safety Authority is reviewing an element of the process to see if there is a role of scanned photographs within the SAFE 2 process, which would permit a resolution of this difficulty and allow the photographic industry to coexist with SGS thus protecting the welfare of this industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13532/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 147 and 148 together.

  Under the terms of the Road Safety Authority (Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness) Act 2012, the operation of the National Driver Licensing Service is a matter for the RSA.  I have therefore referred these Questions to the RSA for direct reply, and would ask the Deputies to contact my office if a reply has not been received within ten days.


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