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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 234 - 248
 Header Item Hospital Records
 Header Item National Cancer Strategy
 Header Item Health Services
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Administration
 Header Item National Drugs Strategy
 Header Item Disability Support Services Funding
 Header Item Primary Care Centres
 Header Item Accident and Emergency Services Provision
 Header Item Electronic Cigarettes
 Header Item Programme for Government Priorities
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Drug and Alcohol Task Forces
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Speech and Language Therapy

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 911 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 60 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 234 - 248

Hospital Records

 234. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of a person's (details supplied) hospital records; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14025/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

In relation to the specific case raised, 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.

National Cancer Strategy

 235. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his plans to introduce a compensation scheme for persons suffering from asbestosis cancer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14030/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris My Department has no plans to introduce a compensation scheme for persons suffering from Asbestosis cancer. The focus is on supporting the health and well-being of our population, and on providing high-quality, patient-centred care when cancer, or other illnesses, occur.

My Department is currently developing a new National Cancer Strategy 2016 - 2025 which is likely to focus on prevention, early diagnosis and further improvements in treatment and patient care, as well as on survivorship. This Strategy will be published in the coming months.

Health Services

 236. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his views on the case of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14043/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As the particular issue raised relates to an individual case, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the HSE for direct reply to you. 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 Appointments Administration

 237. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding hospital appointments. [14048/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

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 should take the matter up with the consultant and the hospital involved. In relation to the specific case raised, 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.

National Drugs Strategy

 238. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if the issue of alcohol misuse will form a comprehensive part of any successor to the National Drugs Strategy 2009 to 2016. [14053/16]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): Information on Catherine Byrne Zoom on Catherine Byrne Government policy on tackling the drug problem is set out in the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016. A Steering Committee, chaired by an independent chair and with representatives from the Statutory, Community and Voluntary Sectors, has been established to advise on the development of a new National Drugs Strategy, which will cover the period from 2017 onwards.

The terms of reference of the Steering Committee include the development of an integrated public health approach to substance misuse, which is defined as the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances including alcohol and illicit drugs, incorporating the relevant recommendations of other related policies including the National Substance Misuse Strategy.

The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill remains a priority for this Government. The Government approved the publication of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill and the introduction of the Bill in the Houses of the Oireachtas on the 8 December 2015. The Bill completed Second Stage in the Seanad on the 17 December 2015. The Department of Health is currently awaiting dates to progress the Bill in the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The Bill is part of a suite of measures agreed on foot of the recommendations in the Steering Group Report on a National Substance Misuse Strategy. Work is continuing on the implementation of the recommendations in the Steering Group Report on a National Substance Misuse Strategy. It is intended to publish the First Annual Report on the National Substance Misuse Strategy later this year.

Disability Support Services Funding

 239. Deputy Jack Chambers Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of the provision of funding for a disability support service (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14054/16]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy. If the Deputy has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, he can contact my Private Office and they will follow the matter up with the HSE.

Primary Care Centres

 240. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of the new primary care centres he will establish, including when they will be completed and operational, and in particular the centre in Edenmore, Dublin 5; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14068/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service issue, this question has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy. 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.

Accident and Emergency Services Provision

 241. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when he will complete the new accident and emergency department at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14069/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris 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.

Electronic Cigarettes

 242. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his views on vaping, including the measures he will bring forward to regulate it; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14070/16]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy): Information on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy Zoom on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy Vaping is a relatively new occurrence. However, the market share for electronic cigarettes and refill containers is growing and, as such, the long-term effects of vaping on public health are not yet known.

  The European Union (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale of Tobacco and Related Products) Regulations 2016 which transposed the European Tobacco Products Directive came into effect on 20 May 2016. These Regulations which are a first step in the regulation of electronic cigarettes and refill containers will give confidence to users as to the safety and efficacy of products used for vaping.

  The Regulations include the following provisions:

 - Obligatory health warnings advising consumers that electronic cigarettes contain nicotine and should not be used by non-smokers.

 - Obligatory information leaflets setting out instructions for use and information on adverse effects, risk groups, addictiveness and toxicity.

 - Mandatory safety and quality requirements setting maximum nicotine concentration levels for electronic cigarettes and maximum volumes for cartridges, tanks and containers of nicotine liquids.

  In addition to these Regulations, electronic cigarettes will be further regulated in Ireland through the introduction of a retail licensing system. The legislation, approved by Government will also prohibit the sale of these products to, and by, persons under 18 years of age.

  My Department will continue to monitor existing and emerging evidence on the potential harms and potential benefits of vaping, so as to inform any future decisions in this area.

Programme for Government Priorities

 243. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his priorities as outlined in the programme for Government; if he requires, and the amount of, Supplementary Estimates to meet these commitments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14071/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I outlined my priorities under the Programme for a Partnership Government to the House previously.

  The planning and management of future health expenditure will be considered as part of the annual estimates and budgetary process which seeks to balance available funding across all of the various service areas to achieve the best possible outcomes for the greatest number of service users and prioritise areas of greatest need.

Medical Card Applications

 244. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of an application by a person (details supplied) under the medical card scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14078/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris 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 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 Applications

 245. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of an application by a person (details supplied) under the medical card scheme, given that the person has provided all requested documentation; how he ensures that when subsequent documentation is received it is referenced to the original; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14089/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris 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 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.

Drug and Alcohol Task Forces

 246. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan Information on Maurice Quinlivan Zoom on Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the reason for cuts to the mid-west task force of 51.8% since 2009; if he will establish a drugs task force for the metropolitan area of Limerick city; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14099/16]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): Information on Catherine Byrne Zoom on Catherine Byrne In line with the National Drugs Strategy, the Government is committed to continuing support for initiatives to tackle the drug problem. Drug and Alcohol Task Forces play a key role in assessing the extent and nature of the drug problem in their areas and coordinating action at local level, so that there is a targeted response to the problem of substance misuse in local communities.

Every effort has been made to protect the budgets of Drug and Alcohol Task Forces in recent years. The overall allocation to the Mid-West Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force for community-based drugs initiatives from the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive in 2016 is €1,407,989. This is the same overall level of funding allocated in 2014 and 2015, and a reduction of 9% on the 2009 allocation.

The Department of Health has commissioned external consultants to develop a performance measurement framework to assist in measuring the effectiveness of Drug and Alcohol Task Forces. The framework will provide a mechanism to target funding allocations on the basis of objective criteria, having regard to the drugs situation in the Task Force catchment areas and other demographic factors. The Study will also inform the question of how best to align Drug and Alcohol Task Forces in order to address locally identified needs. This issue is also under consideration in the context of the development of the new National Drugs Strategy.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 247. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of an operation for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14101/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

  The National Waiting List Management Policy, A standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, January 2014, 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 been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

  In relation to the particular query raised, 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.

Speech and Language Therapy

 248. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the speech and language services, the waiting time for early intervention services and the waiting time from initial assessment to commencement of treatment in County Mayo, by clinic area, in tabular form. [14138/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service issue, this question has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy. 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.


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