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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1002 - 1019
 Header Item Water Fluoridation
 Header Item Nursing Home Services
 Header Item Public Procurement Regulations
 Header Item Medical Card Eligibility
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Administration
 Header Item Departmental Reports
 Header Item Ambulance Service Provision
 Header Item Universal Health Insurance Provision
 Header Item Irish Blood Transfusion Service
 Header Item Health Services
 Header Item Health Services
 Header Item Health Services Appeals
 Header Item Medical Card Eligibility
 Header Item Motorised Transport Grant Applications

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 835 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 118 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 1002 - 1019

Water Fluoridation

 1002. 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 the position regarding the fluoridation of water (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12997/14]

 1004. Deputy Ciara Conway Information on Ciara Conway Zoom on Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his plans to review or re-examine the practice and merits of adding fluoride to the public water supply; the amount this practice costs annually; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13008/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White I propose to take Questions Nos. 1002 and 1004 together.

The fluoridation of public water supplies is provided for in the Health (Fluoridation of Water Supplies Act) 1960. The Department of Health keeps the policy of water fluoridation under constant review. As part of this ongoing work, a review of evidence on the impact of water fluoridation at its current level on the health of the population and on the environment is being conducted by the Health Research Board on behalf of the Department. This review is due to commence in April 2014 and will be completed by December 2014.

The Department is also collaborating in a University College Cork-led research project, "Fluoride and Caring for Children's Teeth" (FACCT). The study will consider the impact of changes on the oral health of children, following policy decisions relating to toothpaste use by infants and young children made in 2002 and the reduction in the level of fluoridation in drinking water introduced in 2007. In addition, a study on general and oral health findings in adults linked to the duration of exposure to fluoridated water as part of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging (TILDA) will commence shortly.

The Forum on Fluoridation, established in 2000, reviewed the policy of water fluoridation and recommended in 2002 that it should continue as a public health measure. In 2011 a review by the European Union Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risk (SCHER) concluded that there are no known negative health implications from fluoridating water at levels used in the EU. The balance of scientific evidence worldwide confirms that water fluoridation, i.e. the adjustment of the natural concentration of fluoride in drinking water to the optimal recommended level for the prevention of dental caries, does not cause any ill effects and protects the oral health of the population.

Annual expenditure in recent years which includes operational costs, capital costs and the supply of hydrofluorosilicic acid has been in the region of €3.5 million - €4 million.

Nursing Home Services

 1003. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8 is being considered for a transfer to a local nursing home.  [13007/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

  Question No. 1004 answered with Question No. 1002.

Public Procurement Regulations

 1005. Deputy Noel Grealish Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the measures in place within his Department to ensure that at tendering and final procurement stages only notified biocides as set out under SI 625 of 2001, are purchased by his Department; if he will confirm that only notified biocides are currently being purchased by their respective agencies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13012/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly My Department does not procure biocides. The position regarding the Health Service Executive (HSE) is a matter for the HSE. My Department has requested the HSE to reply directly to the Deputy in this regard.

  The information in relation to the Non-Commercial State Agencies is currently being collated and will be forwarded directly to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Medical Card Eligibility

 1006. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason a person (details supplied) in County Waterford who is clearly over the income limit for medical card services, has to furnish a valuation of a site, which will cost them in the region of €150 for the valuation, to be assessed for the discretionary card; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13017/14]

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 issued to Oireachtas members.

Hospital Appointments Administration

 1007. Deputy Michael Ring Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive an ENT appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13019/14]

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

Departmental Reports

 1008. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of external or internal policy reports currently that have been handed to him but not yet published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13033/14]

 1010. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when he will publish reports currently in his possession that have not been published to date; if he will outline in tabular form the reports involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13050/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 1008 and 1010 together.

  The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table.

Report: Subject MatterAuthor
Report on symphysiotomy in Ireland (1944-1984)Prof. Oonagh Walsh
Options for Rebalancing the Irish Private Health Insurance MarketGoodbody Stockbrokers and Matheson Ormsby Prentice Solicitors
Options Appraisal of multi-payer universal health insurance models preliminary adviceMatheson Ormsby Prentice
Integrated Continuing Care System (ICCS): Reforming Elderly Care in Ireland Mr Gerard Mullaly
Reforming Chronic Care: Financing and Delivering Integrated Chronic CareMr Gerard Mullaly
Review of the Department of Health’s Parliamentary and Legislative ProcessesDepartment of Public Expenditure and Reform with the assistance of Price Waterhouse Cooper
Further Analysis of Options in relation to the restructuring of the Irish Private Health Insurance MarketGoodbody Stockbrokers and Matheson Ormsby Prentice Solicitors
Review of the Traveller Health Advisory CommitteeDr. Sinead Hanafin & Associates
Labelling of Medicinal Products in both English and IrishMcGee Pharma International
Cost of Public & Private Provision of Radiation Oncology in the Greater Dublin AreaCentre for Health Policy & Management, Trinity College
Review of the Department of Health’s Ministerial Private Offices, Secretary General’s Private Office and Press and Communications Office – November 2011Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
A Survey of experience and qualifications in the Department of Health – November 2012Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
Review of Cross Stream Reporting in The Department of Health – February 2012Sylda Langford, former Assistant Secretary General
Evidence Review of Integration of health and wellbeing services and general health servicesHealth Research Board
Evidence Review on the Regulation of Medical ProfessionalsHealth Research Board
Evidence Review on the Regulation of Dental ProfessionalsHealth Research Board
Facilitated assessment of issues, capacity risks and work plan for a new Health and Wellbeing programmeProspectus
Report on the Republic of Ireland public consultation on the possible review of the EU Tobacco Products Directive (2001/37/EC)Institute of Public Health Ireland
Addendum to the Review Group on the National Children’s Hospital Report to the MinisterDrafted by the Review Group chaired by Dr. Frank Dolphin

Ambulance Service Provision

 1009. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason for the review of ambulance services in Dublin city; if he will give an assurance that Dublin Fire Brigade will retain control of the day-to-day running and, crucially, the despatch of ambulances in the city after this review; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13040/14]

 1201. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his position on the current ongoing review of the Dublin ambulance service; and his views on whether this review is necessary.  [14085/14]

 1211. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his views on the attempt by the Health Service Executive to take control of Dublin's ambulance service, which is currently provided by Dublin Fire Brigade; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14175/14]

 1212. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he supports the view that a service level agreement is needed to provide for direct funding for the emergency ambulance service in Dublin to ensure the continued provision of a fire-based ambulance service delivered by Dublin Fire Brigade; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14176/14]

 1213. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will ensure that an independent review of emergency ambulance provision in the Dublin region is undertaken to ensure that all aspects of the attempt by the Health Service Executive to take control of Dublin's ambulance service, which is currently provided by Dublin Fire Brigade, are fully considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14177/14]

 1214. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly his views that the provision of emergency ambulances in the Dublin region should become the sole responsibility of the Dublin Fire Brigade; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14178/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 1009, 1201 and 1211 to 1214, inclusive, together.

Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) provides emergency ambulance services in Dublin city and county, by arrangement between Dublin City Council and the HSE. The HSE National Ambulance Service (NAS) provides some emergency capacity in the greater Dublin area, as well as non-emergency patient transport.

The ongoing development of the NAS involves a range of initiatives, including the development of a single national control and dispatch system, which will deploy all emergency ambulance resources in the State, including emergency ambulances, rapid response and intermediate care vehicles, first responders, aeromedical services and ambulances in Dublin.

In light of the HSE’s new national control and dispatch system which will be introduced in 2015, the Dublin City Manager and the HSE’s Chief Operating Officer commissioned a joint review of DFB ambulance services in Dublin City and County. The review will consider all aspects of ambulance operations provided by DFB within the Dublin area, including the capacity and capability of ambulance services.

The review will inform consideration of the optimal and best value model for provision of emergency medical services in the greater Dublin area. It is part of the process of ensuring a clinically driven, nationally co-ordinated system, supported by improved technology, so that emergency pre-hospital care can be modernised and services can be delivered in an appropriate and timely manner, to the benefit of patients.

  Question No. 1010 answered with Question No. 1008.

Universal Health Insurance Provision

 1011. Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if changes are contemplated in the provision of health services to UK pensioners resident here (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13057/14]

 1022. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will respond to a query regarding plans for universal health insurance raised in correspondence by a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [13120/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 1011 and 1022 together.

  The rules on the coordination of social security systems, including healthcare within the EU/EEA and Switzerland, are currently contained in EU Regulation 883/04 and Implementing Regulation 987/09. One of the objectives of Regulation 883/04 is to ensure that persons exercising their right to move and to stay freely within these areas do not suffer disadvantages in accessing or paying for healthcare. The Regulation is binding on all Member States and does not allow for any discretion in establishing entitlement.

  As a general rule, public healthcare is provided according to the legislation of the country of residence as if the individual were insured in that country. The cost of this public healthcare is the responsibility of the State to which social security system the individual is linked. Therefore, a pensioner in receipt of a qualifying pension in a Member State, who is residing in another Member State, is entitled to access public healthcare on the same basis as persons who are insured with and resident in the Member State of residence, provided that he/she is not subject to the social security legislation in that Member State of residence .

  The implementation of a system of universal health insurance will not affect the requirement for Ireland to continue to comply with EU Regulations in this regard.

Irish Blood Transfusion Service

 1012. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if the Irish Blood Transfusion Service plans to undertake a review of its lifetime ban policy that stops MSM donating blood; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13062/14]

 1013. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if the Irish Blood Transfusion Service has taken note of the changes other countries such as the UK, Australia and New Zealand who have changed their policies in reference to MSM donating blood; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13063/14]

 1014. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will request the Irish Blood Transfusion Service to give to him the scientific evidence it is using to continue its life time ban of MSM donating blood; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13064/14]

 1020. Deputy Jerry Buttimer Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will take steps to request that the Irish Blood Transfusion Service review its lifetime MSM ban on blood donation and move towards a less restrictive regime similar to that of the UK; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13103/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 1012 to 1014, inclusive, and 1020 together.

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) remit is to provide a safe, reliable, robust blood service to the Irish health system. Blood, and the products derived from it, are an integral facet of healthcare delivery. A major objective of the IBTS is to ensure that it always has the necessary programmes and procedures in place to protect both the donors of blood and the recipients of blood and blood products.

The EU Directive on quality and safety of blood requires that "all necessary measures have been taken to safeguard the health of individuals who are recipients of blood and blood components". The permanent deferral of men who have sex with men [MSM] from donating blood is not based on sexuality or orientation but on the fact that there are increased levels of HIV infection among men who have sex with men in Ireland.

The IBTS' decisions are evidence-based and, in making decisions, it reviews the data that are available in Ireland from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre and from other sources internationally. The most recent full year for which data are available from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre is 2012. In 2012, 341 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in Ireland. The highest proportion of new diagnoses, 166 (48.7%) was in MSM. This proportion has been increasing since 2004. Full year data for 2013 is not yet available but the data for the first two quarters of 2013 show rates similar to 2012. These rates of HIV infection in MSM are disproportionately high, considering that MSM account for a much smaller proportion of the population.

The IBTS keeps its eligibility criteria for donating under regular review. It also works closely with blood services internationally and keeps developments in this area under review.

Health Services

 1015. Deputy Colm Keaveney Information on Colm Keaveney Zoom on Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when a child (details supplied) in County Galway may expect to receive rehabilitative treatment as it is critical they receive treatment in the next four to six weeks to aid their recovery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13066/14]

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

Health Services

 1016. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason no treatment is available to patients suffering from lymphoedema; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13088/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The Deputy's question relates to service delivery matters and accordingly I have asked the HSE to respond directly to him.

Health Services Appeals

 1017. Deputy Michael McCarthy Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of times the Health Service Executive appeals officer has requested a personal interview with an applicant in 2011, 2012 and 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13089/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The information sought by the Deputy is not readily available. However, I have asked the Health Service Executive to supply this information to me and I will forward it to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Medical Card Eligibility

 1018. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason a medical card was withdrawn in November 2013 in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13090/14]

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 issued to Oireachtas members.

Motorised Transport Grant Applications

 1019. 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 the progress to date in relation to the setting up of a new scheme to replace the motorised transport grant and the mobility allowance scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12952/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch In November 2013, the Government decided that the detailed preparatory work required for a new travel subsidy scheme and associated statutory provisions should be progressed by the Minister for Health, in consultation with other relevant Ministers. The Department of Health is working to progress this matter in line with the Government's decision.

The Department will draw on the work, last year, of the Review Group on Transport Supports for People with Disabilities and the Inter-Departmental Group tasked by Government to consider details of a statutory replacement for the discontinued Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant Schemes.


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