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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 335-358
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Cancer Screening Programmes
 Header Item Respite Care Services
 Header Item Hospital Services
 Header Item National Children's Hospital
 Header Item Long-Term Illness Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item General Practitioner Data
 Header Item Commencement of Legislation
 Header Item Medical Card Administration
 Header Item Medicinal Products Reimbursement
 Header Item Health Services Staff Recruitment
 Header Item Home Help Service Data
 Header Item Medicinal Products Availability
 Header Item Services for People with Disabilities
 Header Item Health Services Funding
 Header Item Services for People with Disabilities

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 944 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 84 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 335-358

Hospital Appointments Status

 335. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick Information on Peter Fitzpatrick Zoom on Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when a person (details supplied) will receive a hospital appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14928/17]

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.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 336. 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. [14937/17]

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 particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.

Cancer Screening Programmes

 337. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his plans to extend free cervical smear testing to include women under 25 years of age, in particular to those under 25 years of age who, based on family history, require a smear test; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14940/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris CervicalCheck, the National Cervical Cancer Screening Programme, was introduced in 2008 and offers free smear tests to women aged 25-60. The screening of women from the age of 25 is in line with international best practice.

Invasive cervical cancer is extremely rare in women aged under 25, with less than 5 women in this age group being diagnosed with this condition each year. While changes in the cells of the cervix are very common for those under 25, in the vast majority of cases these changes will settle and return to normal without intervention. If the screening age was lowered to invite those under 25 for smear tests, young women could be subjected to unnecessary treatment that could have potential long-term negative effects on their health and fertility.

The Department encourages all women aged under 25 to be vigilant about their health and to consult their GP immediately if they have any symptoms which could raise the suspicion of cervical cancer. If necessary, their GP will refer them to a gynaecology clinic for further investigation. Meanwhile, any women concerned about their family risk of cancer should discuss this with their GP.

The Department also encourages all 12-18 year old schoolgirls to avail of the free HPV vaccination which is offered in secondary schools.

Respite Care Services

 338. 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 if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the HSE has requested that an organisation (details supplied) utilise its last remaining respite house in Donabate as a permanent residential care home for service users; and if alternative respite facilities will urgently be made available for these affected families and their children. [14947/17]

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.

The Programme for Partnership Government states that the Government wishes to provide more accessible respite care to facilitate full support for people with a disability.

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.

Hospital Services

 339. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the support the State provides to the cardiac screening programme provided at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital; the details of all funding provided for the provision of the service for each of the years 2014, 2015 and 2016; if such a programme is offered at public facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14954/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris In relation to the query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service issue, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.

National Children's Hospital

 340. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the process for assessment of tenders for the building of the new national children's hospital; the precise basis on which value for money will be assessed; if cost comparisons will be made with other potential locations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14957/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The Government decision that the new children's hospital should be co-located with St James's on its campus in Dublin 8 was clinically led. In 2006, the McKinsey report, Children’s Health First, recommended that the population of Ireland and projected demand could support only one world-class tertiary paediatric centre, that this should be in Dublin and that it should ideally be co-located with a leading adult academic hospital to ensure relevant sub-specialty and academic linkages. In 2012, the Dolphin Review Group was commissioned to advise on the progression of the new children's hospital. Their report stated that “co-location is essential and tri-location optimal", and identified St James’s as the most suitable adult partner for the new children’s hospital from both a clinical and research perspective. St James’s Hospital has the broadest range of national specialties of all acute hospitals, as well as a strong and well established research and education infrastructure, making it the hospital that best meets the criteria to enable the children’s hospital achieve our vision of excellence in modern paediatric practice. In light of the above, the question of carrying out cost comparisons with other potential locations does not arise.

  The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) was appointed in 2013 to plan, design, build and equip the new children’s hospital on the St James's site and satellite outpatient and urgent care centres on the campuses of Tallaght and Connolly Hospitals. An internationally recognised Design Team supported by an experienced Board and Project Team are in place, and have followed best international design, planning and procurement process at each stage of the project. A highly competitive tender process, in which local and international companies participated, recently concluded for the core construction cost of the new children's hospital and satellite centres. More than 35 people participated in review panels for the tenders. The tenders were reviewed and measured against a number of technical and financial criteria, were independently peer-reviewed by construction experts with extensive experience of projects of this size and complexity and a company has been notified that it is the preferred bidder. I understand that the final construction elements of the project compare favourably to the costs of international projects of a similar size and scale.

  The updated capital costs have been incorporated into the Definitive Business Case for the new children’s hospital, which has been prepared in accordance with the Public Spending Code which requires that projects are properly appraised, including the requirement for a Cost Benefit Analysis. The NPHDB is continuing to ensure that every stage of the project is delivered in accordance with national policy to optimal design and value for money, and along with the Children’s Hospital Group Board, continues to work closely with the HSE and my Department to deliver this much-needed world-class hospital.

Long-Term Illness Scheme Eligibility

 341. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his views on a matter regarding the refusal of the long-term illness scheme for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14959/17]

 400. Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if consideration will be given to adding Crohn's disease to the long-term illness scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15382/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 341 and 400 together.

The LTI Scheme was established under Section 59(3) of the Health Act 1970 (as amended). The conditions covered by the LTI are: acute leukaemia; mental handicap; cerebral palsy; mental illness (in a person under 16); cystic fibrosis; multiple sclerosis; diabetes insipidus; muscular dystrophies; diabetes mellitus; parkinsonism; epilepsy; phenylketonuria; haemophilia; spina bifida; hydrocephalus; and conditions arising from the use of Thalidomide. Under the LTI Scheme, patients receive drugs, medicines, and medical and surgical appliances directly related to the treatment of their illness, free of charge.

There are no plans to extend the list of conditions covered by the Scheme.

General Practitioner Data

 342. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if up to 915 general practitioners are set to retire from general practice in the next three to five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14962/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The mandatory retirement age for GPs under the current GMS contract is 72 years of age, having been increased from 70 years of age in 2015.

Information on the number of GPs who will reach the age of 72 in any given year, or the number of GPs who have given notice of their intention to retire before they reach the mandatory retirement age, is not routinely provided to my Department. Therefore, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

The Deputy will understand that it is not possible to predict the number of GPs who may decide to cease practicing for reasons other than reaching retirement age in the next three to five years.

Commencement of Legislation

 343. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris further to Parliamentary Question No. 55 of 1 February 2017, the efforts that have been made to invoke the urgency procedure to shorten the notification period with respect to the tablet regulations and to ensure protection of public health and safety in order that the relevant orders can be signed with respect to the Misuse of Drugs Act.  [14963/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): Information on Catherine Byrne Zoom on Catherine Byrne Under the Technical Standards Directive Member States are required to inform the European Commission of any new regulations or standards which may create a barrier to the free movement of goods. Since these draft Regulations have the potential to affect trade, in particular because of the introduction of a requirement for import licences, they must be notified to the EU whilst they are in draft form and before they are adopted in national law.

Notified regulations are usually subject to a 3-month standstill period to enable the Commission and the other Member States to examine the notified text and to respond appropriately. As the regulations related to the protection of public health or safety, the Department invoked an urgency procedure which shortened the notification period to 10 days. The Commission did not raise any objections and this process has now been completed. It is therefore expected that the various Regulations and Orders will be commenced in the coming weeks when the drafting is complete.

Medical Card Administration

 344. Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if MRI scans are covered by the medical card scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14980/17]

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 particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

 345. Deputy Pat Deering Information on Patrick Deering Zoom on Patrick Deering asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of reimbursement of money paid for prescription drugs in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15015/17]

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 reply to the Deputy.

Health Services Staff Recruitment

 346. Deputy Eamon Scanlon Information on Eamon Scanlon Zoom on Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if the position of dental hygienist as advertised in May 2016 in CHO2 has been filled by the HSE. [15016/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for reply to the Deputy.

Home Help Service Data

 347. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of children aged five or under five years of age with life-limiting conditions in receipt of a home support service in each LHO; the number of applications for the service for each of the years 2012 to 2016 and to date in 2017; the number of applications for such a service for children under five years of age with life-limiting conditions with disabilities received in each LHO in each of the years 2012 to 2016 and to date in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15020/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.

Medicinal Products Availability

 348. Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of the negotiations with a company (details supplied) on the provision of Orkambi medicine for cystic fibrosis patients here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15021/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicines, in accordance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013.

With regard to Orkambi for the treatment of cystic fibrosis patients aged 12 and older, an application to the HSE from the manufacturer was received in March 2016. The application was considered and not recommended for reimbursement at the submitted price by both the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics – the NCPE – and the HSE’s Drugs Committee. In December, the HSE Directorate took the decision not to reimburse at the submitted price. The HSE called on the company to re-enter negotiations, with a view to significantly reducing the cost of the treatment.

Further meetings were held with the manufacturer in December and early January. The discussions with the company have broadened to include Orkambi, Kalydeco and further treatments for CF patients. The matter is currently under consideration by the HSE Directorate and by officials in my Department.

I expect that this process will conclude in a period of weeks. However, given the scale of the investment, the potential benefits for Irish patients and the impact of this decision on the health service overall, I would call on all deputies to allow this statutory process to be concluded.

I am acutely aware that the last number of months have been a stressful and worrying time for CF patients and their families. However, the Government’s priority is to achieve the best outcome for Irish patients and the health system overall.

Services for People with Disabilities

 349. 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 amount of funding that has been allocated to local authorities in each of the past five years for the provision of housing to facilitate the movement of persons with disabilities from congregated settings to decongregated settings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15045/17]

 350. 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 amount of funding that has been sought and allocated to Louth County Council for the facilitation of the policy of decongregation in each year for the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15046/17]

 351. 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 amount of funding that has been sought and allocated by housing associations for the facilitation of the policy of decongregation within County Louth in each year for the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15047/17]

 352. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if persons with disabilities who require 24-hour care and currently reside in a congregated setting will be afforded the same level of care in a decongregated setting; and if so, the mechanism for delivering this provision. [15048/17]

 353. 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 number of persons currently resident in congregated settings. [15049/17]

 354. 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 definition of a congregated setting. [15050/17]

 355. 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 process of consultation with families of those persons currently living in congregated settings regarding their potential movement to decongregated settings. [15051/17]

 356. 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 location of decongregated homes for persons with disabilities in County Louth; and the tutelage of each decongregated setting. [15052/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath I propose to take Questions Nos. 349 to 356, inclusive, together.

  The HSE’s report “Time to Move on from Congregated Settings – A Strategy for Community Inclusion”, (2011) proposes a new model of support in the community by moving people from institutional settings to the community. The plan is being rolled out at a regional and local level and involves full consultation with stakeholders.

  The Programme for Government contains a commitment to continue to move people with disabilities out of congregated settings, to enable them to live independently and to be included in the community. In May 2016, 2725 people lived in congregated settings and our objective is to reduce this figure by one-third by 2021 and ultimately, to eliminate all congregated settings. A congregated setting is defined as a residential setting where people live with ten or more people.

  The HSE has established a subgroup, under ‘Transforming Lives’, the Programme to implement the recommendations of the Value for Money and Policy Review of Disability Services, which is developing an implementation plan for moving people from institutions. I welcome the fact that the needs of people moving from congregated settings will be fully taken into account during this process as the model of care for individuals will be based on a person centred plan.

  At the end of December 2016, less than 2,600 people with a disability were living in congregated settings. The HSE's 2017 National Service Plan has set a target of 223 to move from institutions in 2017. This will ensure that people are able to move out of congregated settings, and into their own homes in the community. I want to emphasise that the appropriate supports and resources are being put in place to ensure that people are supported as they move out of residential centres.

  Issues in relation to the funding of Local Authorities is a matter for my colleague the Minister for the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. I am pleased to note that the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government is providing funding under the Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS) to provide suitable accommodation for people transitioning from institutions in 2017. CAS funding will also be available to provide housing for people with disabilities in the community more generally that is not specifically targeted at deinstitutionalisation.

  This demonstrates the joined up commitment of both Departments to support the de-congregation programme.

  As the HSE is responsible for leading out on the recommendations on "Time to Move on from Congregated Settings - A Strategy for Community Inclusion", I have arranged for the Deputy's questions to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Health Services Funding

 357. 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 amount of funding that is available through the service reform fund; if there are priority locations for this funding; the measures this funding can support; and the details of the mechanism for applying for this funding. [15053/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath In 2015, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Atlantic Philanthropies (Atlantic), the Department of Health (DoH), the Health Service Executive (HSE) Social Care and Mental Health Directorates and Genio on the establishment and operation of the Service Reform Fund (SRF).

The SRF will support the implementation of reforms in the Disability and Mental Health Services by providing funding to meet the costs of migration to a person-centred model of services and supports.

The SRF represents a total combined investment of €45m by the funding partners from 2015 to 2017 of which Atlantic will invest €15m and the DoH/HSE €30m. The HSE is the fiscal agent in respect of the SRF and all payments from the fund will be in line with the MoU and comply with the governance and accountability requirements.

Ten large congregated settings have been identified as the focal point in terms of transition to community living under the disability programme of the SRF.

As the HSE is the fiscal agent for the SRF, I have asked the HSE to reply directly to the Deputy in respect of the funding for the 10 priority sites and to outline details of the mechanisms for applying for this funding.

Services for People with Disabilities

 358. 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 funding and supports available for persons who have been caring for sons, daughters or siblings with disabilities at home but who find themselves unable to continue providing this care. [15054/17]

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.

The particular issue raised by the Deputy is a service matter, accordingly, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.


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