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. 289-302
 Header Item Health Services Staff
 Header Item Disability Services Provision
 Header Item Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland
 Header Item Nursing Staff
 Header Item Health Insurance Data
 Header Item Nursing Staff Data
 Header Item Hospital Services
 Header Item Drugs Payment Scheme Threshold
 Header Item Occupational Therapy
 Header Item Mental Health Services
 Header Item Hospital Staff Recruitment
 Header Item Health Services Staff Data
 Header Item Nursing Homes Support Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Nursing Homes Support Scheme Data

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 947 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 97 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 289-302

Health Services Staff

 289. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if experienced paramedics can be given permission to work over the age of 66 years of age, in view of the shortage of paramedics. [18597/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris In relation to the issue of retirement age, an Interdepartmental Working Group, chaired by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, examined the issues arising from prevailing retirement ages for workers in both the public and private sectors in 2016.

  The Report of this Group, considered policy around retirement age in both the public and private sectors, examining implications arising from retirement ages now and in the future.

  The Group identified a set of framework principles to underpin policy in the area and made a number of recommendations assigned to Government Departments and Employer bodies for follow-up in that regard. A copy of the Report is available online at http://www.per.gov.ie/en/report-of-the-interdepartmental-group-on-fuller-working-lives/.   

  The Report of the Group was agreed by government in August 2016. On foot of one of the recommendations of the Report, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, with Public Service employers, was tasked to review the current statutory and operational considerations giving rise to barriers to extended participation in the public service workforce up to and including the current age of entitlement to the Contributory State Pension. This review is currently under way and is expected to be completed by Q2 2017.

  There are both legislative and contractual issues in relation to employees, including paramedics working beyond their current retirement age and it is anticipated that these issues will be addressed in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform review.

Disability Services Provision

 290. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he will give consideration to requests in correspondence (details supplied); if his attention has been drawn to the concern of parents regarding long delays in having assessments and services provided for children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18601/17]

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.

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland

 291. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 247 and 248 of 2 March 2017, the status of the referred response which has not been received to date. [18606/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I have made enquiries with the NMBI in this matter and I have been advised that due to an oversight, the reply did not issue to the Deputy. However, I understand that a reply together with an apology has now been provided.

Nursing Staff

 292. 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 steps he is taking to retain Irish nursing graduates in view of recent reports that almost two-thirds of accident and emergency nursing posts remain available two months after they were first advertised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18613/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris During recent engagement between this Department, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the HSE, INMO and SIPTU nursing, management supplied a joint proposal document setting out a number of specific measures to attract nursing graduates and to retain nursing staff. This was done in the context of HSE management having developed a fully funded workforce plan for an additional 1,208 nursing/midwifery posts in 2017. The proposal includes permanent contracts for future graduates with scope for a career break and extensive education and personal development opportunities for nurses and midwives to upskill. The management side is also positively disposed to a proposal from the union side for the restoration of a number of allowances for new entrant nurses and this consideration will be concluded in the upcoming pay talks in the summer.

The above is in addition to the many other initiatives currently underway to improve nursing and midwifery staffing levels throughout the country.  The number of nursing and midwifery staff increased by 1,693 whole time equivalents between February 2014 and February 2017, notwithstanding intense global competition for our nurses and midwives. The HSE has offered permanent posts to 2016 degree programme graduates. The HSE is also offering full time permanent contracts to those in temporary posts and is also focused on converting posts filled by agency staffing to permanent posts. Its National Recruitment Service is actively operating rolling nursing recruitment campaigns. The Executive ran a further recruitment open day last week, following that held over the Christmas period, and attended a Health Sector Jobs Fair in London on 8th April.

A number of specific measures have also been taken in relation to pay that will support the recruitment and retention of Irish nursing graduates. Measures to date include the first stage of pay restoration under the Lansdowne Road Agreement, additional pay in return for taking on some duties from doctors and an increase in the rate of pay for the student nursing placement to 70% of the first point of the staff nurse pay scale. In October 2016 the Government approved restoration of incremental credit for all nurses in respect of the 36 week clinical placement undertaken by fourth year student nurses in the context of the 2017 Estimates.

The measures that were proposed by management and agreed with the INMO and SIPTU Nursing will significantly improve the staffing of nursing and midwifery posts in the public health service and offer serving and new nurses and midwives enhanced opportunities to advance their careers.

Health Insurance Data

 293. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of persons currently availing of private health insurance in certain age groups (details supplied).  [18617/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The following table provides for the most recent data available from the Health Insurance Authority (HIA) and shows the number of insured persons by age group as of 1 January 2017. This information is compiled in respect of the commercial health insurers and excludes people serving waiting periods and members of Restricted Membership Undertakings (which provide insurance to people who are members of a particular group, normally a vocational group or employees of a particular organisation).

  Table: Insured persons by age group for the Market

  (Open Enrolment Insurers), 1 January 2017.

Age Group
Membership for the Market

as of 1 January 2017
0-17
481,122
18-29
216,507
30-39
292,224
40-49
326,145
50-59
284,171
60-69
232,048
70-79
140,862
80 years and over
59,539
Total
2,032,618

Nursing Staff Data

 294. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of new nursing staff recruited for each hospital (details supplied) in the year to the end of March 2017 in tabular form; the number of nursing staff that left the hospital in the year to the end of March 2017, in tabular form; the number of nursing staff in the hospital in July 2016, in tabular form; and the net increase or decrease in nursing staff in each hospital in the year to the end of March 2017 in tabular form. [18618/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly on this matter.

Hospital Services

 295. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the percentage of the existing St Loman's campus which is currently in use; and the long-term plans for the entire campus. [18621/17]

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

Drugs Payment Scheme Threshold

 296. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his views on the maximum a family or persons cohabiting should pay per month for medicine regardless of financial means. [18622/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The maximum monthly amount which families, including those who are cohabiting, should pay for approved medicines through the community drugs schemes is determined by their eligibility under the Health Acts.

Currently, the limit under the Drugs Payment Scheme is €144 per month for approved prescribed drugs, medicines and certain appliances for use by that person or his or her family. Under the General Medical Services scheme, the maximum amount payable is €25 per month in prescription charges. The prescription charge for medical card holders over the age of 70 is €2 per item and the monthly maximum is €20.

Occupational Therapy

 297. 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 number of primary care paediatric occupational therapists in County Wicklow; the number of persons waiting for care; the waiting times for an appointment for this treatment since 2011, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18630/17]

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.

Mental Health Services

 298. 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 frequency with which inspections are carried out by an organisation in respect of a psychiatric unit (details supplied); if these reports are published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18636/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee Section 51 of The Mental Health Act 2001 provides that the Inspector of Mental Health Services shall visit and inspect every approved centre at least once in each year and she may also inspect any other premises where mental health services are being provided as she considers appropriate. Annual inspections of all approved centres have been conducted since the establishment of the Mental Health Commission, including Department of Psychiatry, Portlaoise. All inspection reports are published on the Mental Health Commission Website.

Hospital Staff Recruitment

 299. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when a replacement oncologist for a person (details supplied) will be hired at Tullamore Regional Hospital; and the length of time the HSE has known of the person's intentions to leave the post at this point. [18651/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The Deputy's question relates to service delivery matters and accordingly I have asked the HSE to respond directly to him.

Health Services Staff Data

 300. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of paramedics employed nationally in each of the years 2011 to 2016, inclusive, and to date in 2017, in tabular form [18652/17]

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 the Deputy directly.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Eligibility

 301. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the timeframe for complying with the programme for Government commitment to end the discrimination against persons in the fair deal nursing scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18684/17]

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. This work is currently under way. An initial report on progress 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; in that regard, it is important to remember that the NHSS is largely underpinned by primary legislation.

As the Deputy has noted, the Programme for a Partnership Government has also committed to reviewing the NHSS to remove any discrimination against small businesses and family farms. This review is currently underway. I am committed to this review of the position with regard to family farms and small business for the purposes of the financial assessment element of the Scheme.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Data

 302. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of persons awaiting placement under the fair deal scheme; the average waiting time; the number of persons currently awaiting placement under the scheme for each local health area in tabular form; and the time waiting in tabular form. [18716/17]

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.


Last Updated: 04/03/2020 10:38:16 First Page Previous Page Page of 97 Next Page Last Page