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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 214-220
 Header Item Mobility Allowance Decision
 Header Item Medical Card Reviews
 Header Item Accident and Emergency Services Provision
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Hospital Services

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 806 No. 2

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Written Answers Nos. 214-220

Mobility Allowance Decision

 214. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the amount the new mobility allowance and motorised transport grant scheme will cost if the alternative scheme is put in place before the present mobility allowance and motorised transport grant scheme is rescinded; if it will be available to persons over 65 years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28204/13]

 216. 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 the progress made by the review group advising his Department in relation to the effects of the decision to abolish the mobility allowance and the motorised transport grant; if a new scheme will be introduced before these schemes are ended; the interim arrangements he will put in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28207/13]

 217. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the progress on an alternative scheme to the mobility allowance scheme and motorised transport grant (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28250/13]

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. 214, 216 and 217 together.

The Government decided yesterday to extend payments of Mobility Allowance to those currently in receipt for a further number of months, pending establishment of new statutory provisions to support the mobility needs of people with severe disabilities. The Government is very conscious of the needs of people with a disability who have relied on individual payments of Mobility Allowance to support their independence and will take all of this into consideration when making a decision on future arrangements.

Following detailed consideration of the Interim Report of the Review Group the Government has decided that new statutory provisions will be established to provide individual payments to people with severe disabilities who require additional income to address the costs of their mobility needs. The Government has agreed that an inter-departmental group, chaired by the Department of the Taoiseach, will now be asked to develop detailed proposals for the operation of the new scheme or schemes, including eligibility criteria, costs and administrative arrangements, and it should report back to Government by October.

The Government has agreed that payments should temporarily continue to be made by the HSE to those persons currently in receipt of the Mobility Allowance for a further number of months, pending the commencement of new statutory provisions, on the basis that this would prevent hardship, and, on an interim basis, alleviate stress, anxiety and uncertainty among a vulnerable group in society.

The existing position regarding the Motorised Transport Grant remains as before, i.e. the scheme remains closed. The inter-departmental group will examine this issue as part of its considerations of how future statutory arrangements should operate. The existing funding of €10.6m per annum remains committed to support the mobility needs of people with severe disabilities.

Medical Card Reviews

 215. 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 expedite a medical card review in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28206/13]

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. 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 has recently reissued to Oireachtas members.

  Questions Nos. 216 and 217 answered with Question No. 214.

Accident and Emergency Services Provision

 218. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his policy regarding the State paying for hospital bills when Republic of Ireland patients present at a Northern Ireland hospital for treatment for an injury incurred in the Republic but where the patient presents at a Northern Ireland Hospital due to the fact that it is the closest and quickest in order to receive required emergency treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28321/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The HSE provides emergency services to everyone living in Ireland and patients who fall ill or sustain an injury in Ireland should avail of emergency services in this jurisdiction. The Emergency Health Insurance Card (EHIC) provides for patients who fall ill or sustain an injury while travelling/visiting another EU/EEA country but the scenario described in the question raised by the Deputy does not appear to reflect this situation and therefore the EHIC cannot be used to cover the costs. Patients who choose to present at services in another jurisdiction (Northern Ireland) will be liable for the costs of any and all treatment provided. In emergency situation, patients should dial the emergency response number (999) to avail of assistance from the emergency services.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 219. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will ensure that a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath will be given an appointment for orthopaedic care. [28354/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The National Waiting List Management Policy, A standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, January 2013, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has recently been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

  In relation to this particular query raised by the Deputy, I have asked the Health Service Executive to investigate the situation and respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.

Hospital Services

 220. Deputy David Stanton Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly further to Parliamentary Question No. 853 of 11 January 2012, the progress that has been made in developing a designated stroke unit at Cork University Hospital; if this unit is still to be located in Ward 3A and if not its expected location; when he expects the stroke unit to be opened and fully operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28355/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly As this is a service matter, the Deputy will receive a reply directly from the HSE.


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