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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 627-642
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Medicinal Products Availability
 Header Item Health Services Funding
 Header Item Services for People with Disabilities
 Header Item Hospitals Funding
 Header Item Hospital Services
 Header Item Respite Care Services Availability
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Services for People with Disabilities
 Header Item Home Help Service Eligibility
 Header Item Workplace Relations Commission

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 946 No. 2

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Written Answers Nos. 627-642

  Question No. 627 answered with Question No. 586.

Hospital Appointments Status

 628. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he will review the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18256/17]

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.

Medicinal Products Availability

 629. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the position regarding the availability of Orkambi for persons with cystic fibrosis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18258/17]

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.

  Since receiving the last offer from Vertex for the medicine Orkambi in January the HSE have engaged in a robust evaluation process consulting with both its legal advisors and the Department of Health.

  Due to the unprecedented scale of this potential investment, the HSE's objective is to ensure that access to this medicine is sustainable and delivers the best outcome for Irish patients and the Irish health service overall. I fully support the HSE in these efforts.

  At the conclusion of this evaluation process the HSE identified a number of commercial and contractual issues and have proposed solutions to Vertex in order to overcome these issues.

  HSE negotiators are currently in talks with Vertex on these outstanding issues.

  Question No. 630 answered with Question No. 547.

Health Services Funding

 631. Deputy Pat Buckley Information on Pat Buckley Zoom on Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if extra funding will be made available for cataract operations in 2017 and, if so, when. [18264/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Reducing waiting times for the longest waiting patients is one of this Government's key priorities. Consequently, Budget 2017 allocated €20 million to the NTPF, rising to €55 million in 2018.

In December 2016, I granted approval to the NTPF to dedicate €5m to a daycase waiting list initiative with the aim of ensuring that no patient will be waiting more than 18 months for a daycase procedure by 30 June 2017. In excess of 2000 daycases will be managed through this process and outsourcing of treatment has commenced. The focus of this initiative will be those lists with large numbers of long waiting patients including Ophthalmology.

In addition to this Daycase Initiative, the NTPF has been working closely with my Department and the HSE to agree an approach to the remaining 2017 allocation. The HSE is currently developing a 2017 Waiting List Action Plans for Inpatient/Daycase procedures and Outpatient appointments to reduce the number of patients waiting more than 15 months by the end of October. The Inpatient/Day case Plan is being developed in conjunction with the NTPF's approach to the utilisation of its remaining €10m funding for patient treatment in 2017.

In order to reduce the numbers of long-waiting patients, I asked the HSE to develop Waiting List Action Plans for 2017 in the areas of Inpatient Daycase, Scoliosis and Outpatient Services. My Department is currently engaging with the HSE and the NTPF to finalise these plans which I expect to approve shortly.

The HSE is currently finalising the Report of the Primary Care Eye Services Review. The overall aim of the Review is to reorganise primary care eye services with an increased emphasis on maximising delivery of a comprehensive service at primary care level and thereby creating capacity in the acute sector to provide more complex services.

Services for People with Disabilities

 632. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he will review the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18271/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath 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.

  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.

  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 question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospitals Funding

 633. 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 to increase funding for hospitals (details supplied) in County Donegal; his plans to maintain long-term bed capacity at all three community hospitals in view of recent confirmation by a Minister of State (details supplied) following their meeting on the matter; if he will provide a timeline and timeframe for this and confirm the policy change by his Department for retaining all three community hospitals contrary to the statement of 26 January 2016 by his Department, the then Minister and the HSE; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18272/17]

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 Services

 634. 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 the progress made to date since his meeting with a group at a hospital (details supplied) in County Donegal on 12 December 2016; his plans to meet that group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18275/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I fully support the goals of Our Children's Voice in offering support to the families of children with disabilities in County Donegal and I understand the challenges parents face in accessing appropriate services in some parts of the country. I would be happy to meet again with Our Children's Voice and to involve Finian McGrath, Minister for People with Disabilities and the HSE. I will ask my Department to facilitate setting up this meeting.

The focus of a meeting with Our Children's Voice, held in Letterkenny University Hospital last December, was on hospice care for children in Donegal, respite care and the need for a paediatric nurse in the community to support families.

Possible partnership with the Northern Ireland Children's Hospice was mentioned. My officials are currently engaging in discussions with our counterparts in Northern Ireland in respect of a joint proposal from Laura Lynn/NI Children's Hospice to provide a cross-border palliative respite service at the Horizon West Children's Hospice in Fermanagh.

Respite Care Services Availability

 635. 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 the current nursing respite available for children with life-limiting and terminal conditions; the palliative care in the home available for such children on a national basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18276/17]

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.

  Questions Nos. 636 and 637 answered with Question No. 595.

Hospital Appointments Status

 638. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the steps he will take to have a person (details supplied) seen by the vascular clinic surgeon at a hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18314/17]

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.

Services for People with Disabilities

 639. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he will liaise with the HSE to provide services for persons with additional needs (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18315/17]

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.

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.

Home Help Service Eligibility

 640. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when a person (details supplied) will be allocated home help; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18316/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath As Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

  Question No. 641 answered with Question No. 555.

Workplace Relations Commission

 642. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the adjudications and the findings of the Workplace Relations Commission in respect of public bodies in each of the years 2015 to 2016 and to date in 2017 that have not been accepted by his Department having consulted with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; the numbers involved and the reasons for this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18738/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I am not aware of any adjudications or findings of the Workplace Relations Commission in respect of public bodies in each of the years 2015, 2016 and 2017 to date, that have not been accepted by this department having consulted with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.


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