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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 331-342
 Header Item Home Care Packages
 Header Item Hospitals Policy
 Header Item Hospitals Expenditure
 Header Item Mobility Allowance Decision
 Header Item Mental Health Services Provision
 Header Item Respite Care Services
 Header Item Hospital Appointment Status
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Medical Card Eligibility
 Header Item Orthodontic Service Provision
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Organ Donation

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 861 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 331-342

Home Care Packages

 331. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if the home care hours currently in place in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow will be fully retained and be provided by the same person on the basis that this person has Alzheimer's and the disruption of a new arrangement would have a negative impact on her health. [47067/14]

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. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and they will follow up the matter with them.

Hospitals Policy

 332. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the development plan for a hospital (details supplied) in County Kilkenny covering the next five years; the changes being planned in the level and range of services being provided by the hospital; his plans to add new services to what are already available at the hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47069/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Reports ‘The Establishment of Hospital Groups as a transition to Independent Hospital Trusts’ (DoH, 2013) and ‘Securing the Future of Smaller Hospitals: A Framework for Development’ (HSE, 2013), provide the foundations for the reconfiguration of hospital services into Hospital Groups, each with its own governance and management, that will deliver high quality, safe patient care in a cost effective manner. Within Hospital Groups, all hospitals, irrespective of size, will work together in an integrated way. Smaller hospitals will have an increased focus on managing routine or planned care, while more complex care will be managed in the larger hub hospitals.

  As set out in the HSE 2015 Service Plan, Hospital Groups will develop strategic plans by the end of 2015 setting out how the Groups will provide high quality, safe, integrated patient care in a cost efficient manner. As Lourdes Orthopaedic Hospital, Kilcreene is part of the South/South West Hospitals Group, the plans for Kilcreene will form part of that Hospital Group strategic plan.

  I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to the detailed information requested. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials will follow the matter up.

Hospitals Expenditure

 333. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the cost of private transport, that is, taxi and bus services, used in County Kilkenny to transport hospital patients to and from Dublin; the individual companies or businesses being used to provide such a service; the date of the last procurement process relative to this service; the criteria used to qualify patients for this service; if he will indicate who is the decision maker; his views on difficulties experienced in contacting the patient transfer section in County Wexford; and his further views on concerns that the telephone system is not being answered in an efficient way. [47070/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials will follow the matter up.

Mobility Allowance Decision

 334. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when a replacement scheme for the motorised transport grant and mobility allowance will be finalised and introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47101/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch The Department is seeking a solution which would best meet the aim of supporting people with severe disabilities who require additional income to contribute towards the costs of their mobility needs, while remaining within the available budget and satisfying all legal and equality concerns.

Conscious of the reports of the Ombudsman regarding the legal status of the Motorised Transport Grant and Mobility Allowance Scheme, in the context of the Equal Status Acts, the Government decided to close both schemes on 26th February, 2013. In November 2013, the Government decided that the preparatory work required for a new travel subsidy scheme and associated statutory provisions should be progressed by the Minister for Health.

Work is ongoing on the policy proposals to be brought to Government for the drafting of primary legislation for a new scheme. The challenge is to provide these benefits to a wider cohort of people, while continuing to cater for the 4,700 people already in receipt of a monthly payment, within a limited budget.

Once policy proposals have been finalised and approved by Government, the time frame for the introduction of a new scheme will become clearer.

Mental Health Services Provision

 335. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar further to Parliamentary Question No.104 of 20 November 2014, his views on the specific range of care that is being offered to this treatment abroad patient from Woodleigh Hospital in the United Kingdom and the fact the National Health Service has recommended this to be suitable place of care; the facilities here that could match the treatment offered by the Woodleigh Hospital in dealing with the mental health of the patient mentioned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47129/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  As this is a service issue this question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and they will follow up the matter with them.

Respite Care Services

 336. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the respite care available to families caring for older persons in County Monaghan; if those availing of the service must travel to County Cavan in any cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47130/14]

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. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and they will follow up the matter with them.

Hospital Appointment Status

 337. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will expedite an appointment for ophthalmology in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47132/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The scheduling of appointments for patients is a matter for the hospital to which the patient has been referred. Should a patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition warrants an earlier appointment, he or she would be in the best position to take the matter up with the consultant and hospital involved. In relation to the specific case raised, as this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials will follow the matter up.

Medical Card Applications

 338. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will assist in the provisions of a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare who is blind and is receiving ongoing medical treatment for a number of illnesses; if he will expedite this application as a result; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47148/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch 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.

If the Deputy has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office who will follow up the matter with them.

Medical Card Eligibility

 339. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the reason outgoings such as the property tax, bin charges and water charges are not taken into account when assessing a person’s means when applying for a medical card. [47153/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch The HSE has produced the Medical Card / GP Visit Card National Assessment Guidelines to provide a clear framework to assist in making reasonable, consistent and equitable decisions when assessing people who are applying for a medical card. The National Assessment Guidelines are available on the HSE website and can be accessed at the following link: http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/1/schemes/mc/about/Assessmentprocess/.

  I can advise the Deputy that the means assessment of eligibility for medical cards and GP visit cards is based on the income of the applicant, and his or her spouse or partner (if any), after direct taxes - income tax, PRSI and USC - have been deducted. Certain additional allowances are available for necessary expenses incurred in respect of rent or mortgage payments, child care costs, and travel to work costs. Where a person’s assessable income is within the relevant income guidelines, a Medical Card or a GP Visit Card will be granted. Utility charges and indirect taxation are not deductible under the assessment process.

Orthodontic Service Provision

 340. Deputy Pat Rabbitte Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 24 was taken off the orthodontic treatment programme; when the written letter of appeal to recommence treatment dated 25 August 2014 will be responded to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47174/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch I have asked the HSE to investigate this matter and respond to the Deputy as soon as possible. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and they will follow up the matter with them.

Health Services Provision

 341. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the position regarding dermatological treatment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47184/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials will follow the matter up.

Organ Donation

 342. Deputy Olivia Mitchell Information on Olivia Mitchell Zoom on Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans to introduce a national organ donor registry; his plans to increase the level of organ donation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47192/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar My Department is currently developing the Heads of a Human Tissue Bill that will establish a legal framework in relation to the donation of organs for transplantation. A register of those who do not wish to become organ donors after death is envisaged in the context of the introduction of an opt-out system of consent.

Funding for the appointment of 19 whole-time-equivalent personnel was allocated to the HSE in 2014 to recruit Consultants, Organ Donation Nurse Managers, Organ Procurement Co-ordinators and Quality Officers. The additional staff will work to foster a strong culture of organ donation, to optimise conversion rates and, ultimately, to increase the number of transplantations that are carried out each year. Four people have been recruited to date and progress is being made towards filling all posts. The impact of this additional investment will become evident in 2015 and beyond.


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