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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1110-1127
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Medicinal Products Licensing
 Header Item Residential Institutions
 Header Item Suicide Prevention
 Header Item Ministerial Expenditure
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Cancer Screening Programmes
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists

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. 1110-1127

  Question No. 1110 answered with Question No. 988.

Medical Card Applications

 1111. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if a medical card will be approved in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny [13625/14]

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.

Medicinal Products Licensing

 1112. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will provide an update on the Health Service Executive's assessment of the drug Nalmefeme, or Selincro; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13628/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicinal products under the community drugs schemes in accordance with the provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013.

The HSE received an application for the inclusion of Nalmefeme (Selincro) in the GMS and community drugs schemes. The application is being considered in line with the procedures and timescales agreed by the Department of Health and the HSE with the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) for the assessment of new medicines.

In accordance with these procedures, the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE) is currently conducting a pharmacoeconomic evaluation of Nalmefeme (Selincro) which will provide detailed information on the potential budget impact of the medicine. It also assesses whether the medicine is cost effective at the price quoted by the company in question. The NCPE report is an important input to assist the HSE in its decision making process.

The HSE assessment process is intended to arrive at a decision on the funding of new medicines that is clinically appropriate, fair, consistent and sustainable. It would not be appropriate to comment any further at this time as the decision making process is ongoing.

Residential Institutions

 1113. Deputy Robert Dowds Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if the working time directive, 2003/88/EC, is being adhered to in respect of staff in residential care facilities who stay in these facilities overnight; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13642/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The Haddington Road Agreement provides for a process of negotiation under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission in relation to this matter in respect of staff working in residential care settings. Following a referral to the Labour Court in early 2014, it was agreed that the matter should be referred back to the Labour Relations Commission for completion of discussions by 31 May 2014. A series of meetings is scheduled to take place in March and April involving my Department, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the HSE, Service Providers and the Trade Unions representing the employees.

Suicide Prevention

 1114. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of State agencies that currently deliver suicide prevention, counselling and other related suicide programmes (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13673/14]

 1115. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the criteria for setting up suicide prevention, counselling and other related suicide programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13674/14]

 1116. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the funding available to organisations providing suicide prevention, counselling and other related suicide programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13675/14]

 1117. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of State agencies that currently deliver suicide prevention programmes which are classified as section 38 or 39 organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13676/14]

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. 1114 to 1117, inclusive, together.

  Funding for suicide prevention is provided to the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) by the HSE from its overall budget for mental health. The budget for suicide prevention for 2014 is €8.8 million. The NOSP has developed a range of initiatives to support people who are suicidal and also supporting their families, friends and peers in recognising and responding appropriately to signs of emotional distress and suicidal thoughts. The NOSP also coordinates the activity of the many voluntary and statutory agencies that are engaged in suicide prevention activities.   

  As the questions raised by the Deputy are service matters, they have been referred to the HSE for direct reply

Ministerial Expenditure

 1118. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of civil servants engaged in constituency work on his behalf; and the salaries, accommodation costs and expenses involved or associated with these duties [13686/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly There is one civil servant employed in my constituency office at executive officer level on a salary scale of €29,024 - €42,760 (modified pay scale). The telephone bill for the office is paid by my Department. There are no accommodation costs or other expenses associated with these duties.

Medical Card Applications

 1119. 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 a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13701/14]

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.

Cancer Screening Programmes

 1120. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 257 and 258 of 13 March 2014, if the review published in the AJR in 2009 was not a case-controlled clinical trial, with women randomly assigned to machines and not consulted.  [13720/14]

 1121. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 257 and 258 of 13 March 2014, if he views the statistically significant increase in breast cancer incidence which occurs with each screening as a positive.  [13721/14]

 1122. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 257 and 258 of 13 March 2014, if the increase in recall rates is laudable.  [13722/14]

 1123. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 257 and 258 of 13 March 2014, if he will confirm that digital mammogram images can be manipulated.  [13723/14]

 1124. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 257 and 258 of 13 March 2014, if these images can subsequently be used to confirm a diagnosis of cancer.  [13724/14]

 1125. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 257 and 258 of 13 March 2014, if the guidelines for quality assurance also include information that a standardised detection ratio is the preferred method for ensuring unit performance, and if unit performance supersede women's health.  [13725/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 1120 to 1125, inclusive, together.

  The review published in the American Journal of Radiology in 2009 entitled Comparison of the digital mammography and screen-film mammography in breast cancer screening: A review in the Irish breast screening program was not carried out as a 'case controlled clinical trial'. This study reviewed the use of full-field digital mammography (FFDM) in a population-based cancer screening programme and compared the results with screen-film mammography. The study involved 188,823 screening examinations of women aged between 50 and 64 years. Of these 35,204 (18.6%) were obtained using full field digital mammography (FFDM). The re-call rate and cancer detection rate of FFDM were compared with results from screen-film mammography. In this study FFDM gave rise to significantly higher cancer detection and recall rates than screen-film mammography.

  Digital mammography facilitates enhancement of image quality which is particularly associated with improved visualisation of dense breast tissue.   The improved images lead to higher detection rates for cancer which is seen as a positive. This facilitates earlier treatment of known cancers. Digital mammography does not play any part in causing these cancers.

  Furthermore, digital mammography results in significant reductions in the radiation dose associated with screening examinations and it allows images to be acquired in a shorter time. It is also possible to manipulate the examination of images from different angles to obtain better detail.

  A standard protocol for viewing mammograms is routinely used in all the BreastCheck units. BreastCheck offers a triple assessment approach to diagnosis which involves a combination of clinical examination, additional imagery (mammography or ultrasound) and cytology. The standardised cancer detection ratio is assessed centrally by the Programme Evaluation Unit for the entire BreastCheck programme. The health of women is at the centre of all aspects of BreastCheck. Also BreastCheck provides transparent information to women who are invited for screening - with the benefits and limitations of screening clearly explained.

  The latest projections from the National Cancer Registry indicate that the incidence of cancer, including breast cancer, in Ireland is expected to rise in the period up to 2040. They attribute this in the main to demographic changes such as population size and an aging population. Breast cancer survival in Ireland has improved significantly in recent years due to a combined approach of screening, symptomatic detection and improved treatment. Breast cancer 5 year survival is now estimated at 81.8% for people diagnosed between 2003-2007, up from 76.8% for people diagnosed between 1998-2002.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 1126. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly further to Parliamentary Question No. 432 of 3 December 2013, regarding the exact number of patients on the bariatric surgery waiting list at St. Columcille's Hospital and St. Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin, the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny has been waiting 16 years.  [13727/14]

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

  Question No. 1127 answered with Question No. 988.


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