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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 212-218
 Header Item Organ Donation
 Header Item Medical Card Eligibility
 Header Item Ambulance Service Response Times
 Header Item Ambulance Service Provision
 Header Item Accident and Emergency Departments Waiting Times
 Header Item Symphysiotomy Report
 Header Item Patient Statistics

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 809 No. 3

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Written Answers Nos. 212-218

Organ Donation

 212. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Information on Aodhán Ó Ríordán Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordán asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly in view of the MSM blood ban, if sexually active gay men are also prevented from being organ donors; and if so, if he or his Department have considered removing such a ban [32327/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly EU Directive 2012/53/EU requires Member States of take all necessary measures to safeguard the recipients of organs. This was transposed by the European Union (Quality and Safety of Human Organs Intended for Transplantation) Regulations, S.I. No. 325 of 2012.

The Regulations apply to donation, procurement, testing, characterisation, transport and transplantation of organs. They set out a clear legal framework for the application of quality and safety standards for human organs intended for transplantation. The Regulations, however, do not specify who should or should not be donors, but state that selection assessments carried out pursuant to the regulations may provide for the exclusion of persons whose donation could present unacceptable health risks.

In order for transplantation to proceed safely all potential donors are risk assessed in order to prevent inadvertent transmission of infection. All potential donors, or in the case of deceased donors their next of kin, must answer a range of questions prior to the organ donation process proceeding. They include questions in relation to certain risk behaviours. The decision on whether someone who is gay may become a donor is not based on sexual orientation, but because it is known that there is an increased level of HIV infection rates in MSM in Ireland. Testing for HIV remains very sensitive and effective, but there remains a period between infection and detection which could permit the transmission of the virus to a recipient. For this reason sexually active gay men are currently excluded from becoming organ donors.

Medical Card Eligibility

 213. Deputy James Bannon Information on James Bannon Zoom on James Bannon asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason for the withdrawal of a medical card from a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath. [32341/13]

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.

Ambulance Service Response Times

 214. Deputy Regina Doherty Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the position regarding the Navan ambulance control room; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [32359/13]

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.

Ambulance Service Provision

 215. Deputy Regina Doherty Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when the proposed new ambulance control centre will be opened in Tallaght, Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32360/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly A significant reform programme is underway to reconfigure the way the HSE manages and delivers pre-hospital care services, to ensure a clinically driven, nationally co-ordinated system, supported by improved technology. The National Control Centre Reconfiguration Project, which is endorsed by HIQA and which represents international best practice, will reduce the number of ambulance control centres to a single national control system, with significant investment in new voice, data and mapping technologies. This project is a key element of Future Health: A Strategic Framework for Health Reform in Ireland 2012-2015.

In relation to the particular query raised by the Deputy regarding when the new ambulance control centre will be opened at Tallaght, as this involves a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.

Accident and Emergency Departments Waiting Times

 216. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kerry was waiting for 12 hours in accident and emergency in Kerry General Hospital before being admitted to a bed where they subsequently passed away; the intervention that was provided for the person; if their death could have been prevented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32362/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly At the outset, I would like to express my sympathy to the family of the person the Deputy mentions in this question. However, as the Deputy will appreciate, due to patient confidentiality, I am unable to discuss individual cases, including that of the patient involved. The Deputy may nonetheless wish to know that I have been advised by the HSE that if the family of the patient contact the hospital general manager's office, the management of the hospital are more than willing to engage with them to address any concerns they may have.

  If the family do not wish to do so, a formal complaint can be made under the HSE complaints policy, entitled Your Service Your Say  details of which are on the HSE website, at www.hse.ie/eng/services/ysys/Complaint. In addition, advice and instructions for making complaints about a service or an individual may be found at www.healthcomplaints.ie.

  In accordance with this procedure, a complaint must be made in the first instance, to the hospital in which the incident causing the complaint occurred. In the case of Kerry General Hospital, the complaint can be addressed to:   

  General Manager's Office,

  Kerry General Hospital,

  Raghass,

  Tralee, Co.Kerry.

     If an individual is not satisfied with the response from the hospital, a review can be sought from the HSE Director of Advocacy and the Ombudsman, whose details are set out below.

  HSE Director of Advocacy

  Oak House

  Millennium Park

  Naas

  Co Kildare

  Tel 1890 424 555

  Office of the Ombudsman

  18, Lower Leeson Street

  Dublin 2

  Tel 1890 223 030

Email:
ombudsman@ombudsman.gov.ie  

  I have asked the HSE to also contact you directly on this matter.

Symphysiotomy Report

 217. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if the Walsh report has been given to groups, group representatives or persons and if so, to whom it has been given, and the date of same.  [32378/13]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly As the Deputy is aware, my Department has commissioned an independent research report in relation to the practice of symphysiotomy in Ireland. The research process comprised of two stages. The first stage was an independent draft academic research report, which was based on an analysis of published medical reports and research. The draft report contained information about how frequently symphysiotomy was carried out in Ireland and compared rates with other countries. The second stage in the research process was consultation on the draft report involving patient groups, health professionals and in particular the women who had undergone symphysiotomy. This second stage has just completed by the researcher, and following peer review, has been submitted to me for consideration. I intend to brief the Government on the report prior to its publication and I also intend to meet with representatives from the symphysiotomy support groups prior to the release of the report.

Patient Statistics

 218. Deputy Michael P. Kitt Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of patients residing in psychiatric hospitals and units during the period 2006 to 2011; the number discharged; the number who went into community mental health care services and the number who went home; the number of patients still residing in psychiatric hospitals and units; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [32388/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch Information on the number of patients resident in Irish psychiatric units and hospitals is collected by the Health Research Board under the National Inpatient Reporting System (NPIRS). The number of patients resident in such hospitals and units on Census nights - 31st March 2006 and 31st March 2010 is set out below. Data on the intervening years is not available.

YearNumber of Patients Resident in Psychiatric Hospitals and Units
20063,389
20102,812


  Source: NPIRS, Health Research Board

In terms of the number of patients still residing in hospitals and units, the Health Research Board conducted a Census of Psychiatric hospitals and units on 31st   March 2013 and this data is currently being processed. It is expected that preliminary data will be available before the end of the year.

  The number of psychiatric patients discharged from Irish psychiatric hospitals between the years 2006 and 2012 is set out below. Data on the numbers who have been discharged into community mental healthcare services and the numbers discharged home is not collected.
YearNumber of Discharges
200620,098
200720,498
200820,603
200920,213
201019,614
201118,968
  2012*17,986
  *Data for 2012 are provisional and subject to change

  Source: NPIRS, Health Research Board


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