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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 207-213
 Header Item Orthodontic Services Provision
 Header Item Patient Transport Provision
 Header Item Departmental Reports
 Header Item Home Care Packages
 Header Item Hospital Accommodation Provision

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 806 No. 2

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Written Answers Nos. 207-213

Orthodontic Services Provision

 207. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when orthodontic treatment will be approved in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28142/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The HSE provides orthodontic treatment to patients based on their level of clinical need. An individual's access to orthodontic treatment is determined against a set of clinical guidelines and priority is given to patients with greatest needs. The HSE has been asked to examine the specific query raised by the Deputy and to reply to him as soon as possible.

Patient Transport Provision

 208. Deputy Billy Timmins Information on Billy Timmins Zoom on Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the position regarding the mini-bus ambulance from west Wicklow bringing people daily to various hospital appointments in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28166/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Patient transport is the responsibility of the HSE. However, people attending outpatient and hospital appointments are, in general, expected to make their own travel arrangements, using private or scheduled public transport. The exceptions are for dialysis, cancer (radiotherapy and chemotherapy) and post-operative transplant patients, where transport may be provided. In these cases, the patient's appointment or treatment should be directly related to the treatment.

Transport may also be provided where, in the clinician's view, the patient would be unable to make the journey without clinical assistance or where the patient must be transported on a stretcher.

Following implementation of the HSE's non-ambulance patient transport policy, responsibility for the arrangement and provision of non-ambulance transport has moved from the HSE National Ambulance Service to local health offices in each region. If a patient or his or her clinician considers that transport is required, the local health office should be contacted.

In relation to the specific query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Departmental Reports

 209. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will set out the value for money reports and the focused policy assessments carried out within his Department since March 2011; the actions that have been taken to implement such reports; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28176/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The information requested by the Deputy will be collated and forwarded to him as soon as it is available.

Home Care Packages

 210. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly in view of the soon to be published new tender for home care services and with regard to a recently published report quantifying savings of €48 million for 2014 available through more open and transparent commissioning of home care, if he will confirm if he is planning to instruct the Health Service Executive to expand the extent of the tender to include all home care packages and the part of home help hours not done internally by the HSE in order to achieve these savings; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28182/13]

 211. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if instead of trying to cut the number of home support hours available as was announced and reversed in the Budget, if he is implementing reforms and efficiencies in tendering and outsourcing that could reduce the cost of the service by 30% as outlined in a recently published report quantifying savings of €48 million for 2014 available through more open and transparent commissioning of home care, thereby increasing the hours that could be delivered under existing budgets; if he will use the current review of the tender process for home care services to realise these savings; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28183/13]

 212. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the actions he has taken in realising cost savings and expenditure reduction in the home help and home care package budgets through reform of tender process as outlined in a recently published report quantifying savings of €48 million for 2014 available through more open and transparent commissioning of home care in order to provide services to as many persons as possible; if he will use the current review of the tender process for home care services to realise these savings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28184/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch I propose to take Questions Nos. 210 to 212, inclusive, together.

Recent years have been very challenging for the health services. Facing difficult choices, the Government has set as its priority the aim of maintaining services to the greatest extent possible within the resources available. In line with the Programmme for Government, the Department is working closely with the Health Services Executive on reforming the way health services are funded and delivered to achieve greater productivity and more cost-effective services.

In relation to Home Support Services, I would like to reassure the Deputy that the HSE has committed in its National Service Plan 2013 to maintaining the home help and home care package services at levels planned for in 2012.

The Procurement Process for the Home Care Package Scheme referred to by the Deputy and introduced in 2012 established minimum standard levels with which successful tenderers must comply. The HSE is currently considering its approach to the next home care procurement process and the timing for same. In this regard, it has established a forum to consult with representatives of service providers.

Future tenders for home care will focus on improving standards across the home care sector, providing quality care for vulnerable clients, taking account of existing contracts, and obtaining value for the resources available for the service.

Hospital Accommodation Provision

 213. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his plans to tackle the number of delayed discharges in hospitals here, which in April stood at 658 nationwide and at 98 in Cork; if he will consider making more home care packages available to help reduce the number of persons waiting in hospital beds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28185/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly In relation to the particular query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service issue, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.


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