Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 577-595
 Header Item Hospital Accommodation Provision
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Nursing Home Services
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Medical Card Expenditure
 Header Item Primary Care Centres
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item HSE Funding
 Header Item Hospital Groups
 Header Item HSE Properties
 Header Item Respite Care Services Availability
 Header Item Health Services Staff
 Header Item Nursing Homes Support Scheme Review
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Hospital Consultant Recruitment

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 946 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 577-595

Hospital Accommodation Provision

 577. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the cost of recent refurbishments to private patient accommodation in the Coombe Women’s and Children University Hospital. [17979/17]

 578. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when the triage room in the Coombe Women’s and Children University Hospital is due to be refurbished. [17980/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 577 and 578 together.

  In relation to the queries raised by the Deputy, as these are service issues, I have asked the HSE to reply to you directly.

Hospital Appointments Status

 579. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when a person (details supplied) can expect a hospital appointment. [17981/17]

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 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.

Nursing Home Services

 580. Deputy Brian Stanley Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his views on a nursing home charging a person (details supplied) for a mattress. [17998/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee The Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS), commonly referred to as A Fair Deal, is a system of financial support for people who require long-term residential care. Participants contribute to the cost of their care according to their means while the State pays the balance of the cost.

  The NHSS covers the cost of the standard components of long-term residential care which are:

  - Nursing and personal care appropriate to the level of care needs of the person;

  - Bed and board;

  - Basic aids and appliances necessary to assist a person with the activities of daily living; and

  - Laundry service.

  A person's eligibility for other schemes, such as the medical card scheme or the drugs payment scheme, is unaffected by participation in the NHSS or residence in a nursing home. In determining the services covered by the NHSS it was considered very important that the care recipient and the taxpayer would be protected and would not end up paying for the same services twice. For this reason, medications and aids that are already prescribed for individuals under an existing scheme are not included in the services covered by the NHSS, as this would involve effectively paying twice for the same service.

  Although the NHSS covers core living expenses, residents can still incur some costs in a nursing home. In recognition of this, anyone in receipt of financial support under the NHSS retains at least 20% of their income. The minimum amount that is retained is the equivalent of 20% of the State Pension (Non-Contributory). An operator should not seek payment from residents for items which are covered by the NHSS, the medical card or any other existing scheme.

  Part 7 of the Health Act 2007 (Care and Welfare of Residents in Designated Centres for Older People) Regulations 2013 stipulates that the registered provider of the nursing home must agree a contract in writing with each resident on their admission to the nursing home. This contract must include details of the services to be provided to that resident and the fees to be charged. Residents should never be charged fees which are not set out in the contract. The Department of Health and the HSE are not a party to such contracts which are concluded between each resident and their nursing home.

  Registered providers of nursing home care are obliged to provide an accessible and effective complaints procedure. Concerns about additional charges should in the first instance be taken up with the nursing home provider. The Office of the Ombudsman can examine complaints about the actions of a range of public bodies and, from 24 August 2015, complaints relating to the administrative actions of private nursing homes. The Office of the Ombudsman normally only deals with a complaint once the individual has already gone through the complaints procedure of the private nursing home concerned.

Medical Card Applications

 581. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when a decision will be made in respect of a medical card application for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18016/17]

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 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 was issued to Oireachtas members.

Medical Card Expenditure

 582. Deputy Pat Buckley Information on Pat Buckley Zoom on Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the estimated cost of providing a medical card to all persons that require long-term treatment for mental health problems. [18018/17]

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.

Primary Care Centres

 583. Deputy Pat Casey Information on Pat Casey Zoom on Pat Casey asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the process, decisions and submissions in respect of the proposed primary care centre for Baltinglass, County Wicklow since 2011, including sites identified, planning and services to be offered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18023/17]

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.

Health Services Provision

 584. Deputy Michael Ring Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the reason a person (details supplied) in County Mayo has not been given help from the HSE. [18029/17]

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

HSE Funding

 585. Deputy Seán Haughey Information on Seán Haughey Zoom on Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if his attention has been drawn to the shortfall in funding from the HSE to a facility (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18053/17]

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

Hospital Groups

 586. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he will facilitate and attend a follow-up meeting with members of a group (details supplied) to discuss the issues facing diabetes services in Saolta Group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18062/17]

 627. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he will provide a date for a follow-up meeting with a group (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18255/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 586 and 627 together.

  A Paediatric Insulin Pump Services was initiated in May 2015. This service is based in Sligo University Hospital, with outreach clinics in Letterkenny University Hospital.

  The Saolta University Healthcare Group has confirmed that the Consultant Paediatrician with Speciality Interest in Diabetes, who was instrumental in commencing this service, is leaving this post in mid-April. The Saolta Group has recently advised my Department that a consultant paediatrician has been appointed to this post on a temporary basis.

  The permanent post is to be filled through public competition via the Public Appointments Service; this process is on-going. In order to address continuity, the clinical service arrangements for the management of the insulin pump service are currently being examined in consultation with the relevant clinical teams.

  I have committed to meeting with Diabetes Ireland again and look forward to this being arranged as soon as my diary allows. In the meantime, my officials are preparing responses to recent correspondence from the Group.

HSE Properties

 587. 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 addresses of properties acquired in County Louth by the HSE or the local authority for the purposes of decongregation; and the purchase price of each property [18066/17]

 588. 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 addresses of properties which are being rented in County Louth for the purposes of decongregation; if the contract for this rental is between the HSE and the landlord; the funding stream which is used to pay this rent; and the amount of the rent [18067/17]

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. 587 and 588 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.

  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.

Respite Care Services Availability

 589. Deputy Eamon Scanlon Information on Eamon Scanlon Zoom on Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the position regarding the availability of services at a respite centre (details supplied) in County Sligo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18068/17]

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.

Health Services Staff

 590. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the procedures available to health service staff for debriefing following a critical or traumatic incident; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18090/17]

 591. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of debriefings following a critical or traumatic incident that have taken place by region, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18091/17]

 592. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if counselling is offered to staff following critical or traumatic incidents; and the number of staff that availed of such counselling in each of the years 2013 to 2016 [18092/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee I propose to take Questions Nos. 590 to 592, inclusive, together.

  As these are service matters, they have been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy. 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.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Review

 593. Deputy Hildegarde Naughton Information on Hildegarde Naughton Zoom on Hildegarde Naughton asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when it is planned to publish the interdepartmental working group report on the fair deal scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18100/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee The Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS) is a system of financial support for those in need of long-term nursing home care. Participants contribute to the cost of their care according to their income and assets while the State pays the balance of the cost. The Scheme aims to ensure that long-term nursing home care is accessible and affordable for everyone and that people are cared for in the most appropriate settings.

When the NHSS commenced in 2009, a commitment was made that it would be reviewed after three years. The Report of the Review was published in July 2015. Arising out of the Review, a number of key issues have been identified for more detailed consideration across Departments and Agencies.

An Interdepartmental/Agency Working Group has been established to progress the recommendations contained in the Review. This Group is chaired by the Department of Health and includes representatives from the Department of the Taoiseach, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the HSE, the Revenue Commissioners, and when required, the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF). These recommendations include:

- Examining the treatment of business and farm assets for the purposes of the financial assessment element of the Scheme,

- The implementation of administrative reforms to the Scheme,

- A review by the NTPF of present pricing arrangements in private residential facilities.

This work is currently under way. A Value For Money and Policy Review of the differences in the comparative cost of public and private long-term residential care will commence in 2017 to assess reasons for and components of current cost differentials.

An initial report on the progress of the NHSS Review recommendations was submitted to the Cabinet Committee on Health in September 2016.

Once all of the relevant Review recommendations have been considered, any amendments required to the Scheme will be identified. Changes which require legislative implementation will be addressed collectively, and it is important to remember that the NHSS is largely underpinned by primary legislation.

Medical Card Applications

 594. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the outstanding documentation required in respect of an application for a medical card in the case of a person (details supplied); if the application can be reactivated in view of the fact that a baby is due in the next few weeks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18102/17]

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 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 was issued to Oireachtas members.

Hospital Consultant Recruitment

 595. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if a replacement has been selected to fill a soon to be vacated paediatric endocrinologist consultant post based in Sligo University Hospital; if so, the date the selected candidate will take up the post; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18103/17]

 625. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he will ensure that immediate recruitment of a paediatric endocrinologist consultant to Letterkenny University Hospital (details supplied) will take place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18251/17]

 636. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his plans for providing a full paediatric diabetes service at a hospital (details supplied) in County Donegal in view of the recent removal of service due to staff changes in particular a paediatric diabetes endocrinologist; if all staff are in place for the delivery of such a service in the hospital at present; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18277/17]

 637. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he will confirm the appointment of a second endocrinologist adult services along with the additional diabetic nurse specialist and diabetic dietician for a hospital (details supplied) in County Donegal; if the adult diabetes service is fully staffed at the hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18278/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 595, 625, 636 and 637 together.

A Paediatric Insulin Pump Services was initiated in May 2015. This service is based in Sligo University Hospital, with outreach clinics in Letterkenny University Hospital.

The Saolta University Healthcare Group has confirmed that the Consultant Paediatrician with Speciality Interest in Diabetes, who was instrumental in commencing this service, is leaving this post in mid-April. The Saolta Group has recently advised my Department that a consultant paediatrician has been appointed to this post on a temporary basis.

The permanent post is to be filled through public competition via the Public Appointments Service; this process is on-going. In order to address continuity, the clinical service arrangements for the management of the insulin pump service are currently being examined in consultation with the relevant clinical teams.

There is currently one consultant Endocrinologist at Letterkenny University Hospital providing the adult Diabetes service, which serves approximately 700 patients with Type 1, and 6,500 with Type 2 diabetes. The current Consultant Endocrinologist is receiving support from a locum Consultant General Physician who has a diabetic interest.

Additional clinics are being run on monthly basis (1 - 2 extra clinics per month), in order to address waiting lists for the service.

In terms of the future of diabetes services in the North-West, the Saolta Group advises that a business case is currently being prepared in support of a second Consultant Endocrinologist, a Diabetic Nurse Specialist and a Diabetic Dietician, to further support the Letterkenny Diabetes service.


Last Updated: 03/03/2020 14:00:23 First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page