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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 391-410
 Header Item Drugs Payment Scheme Coverage
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Medicinal Products Reimbursement
 Header Item Drug Treatment Programmes
 Header Item Drug and Alcohol Task Forces
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Delays
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Delays
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Medicinal Products Reimbursement
 Header Item Appointments to State Boards
 Header Item Rural Development Programme

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 960 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 391-410

Drugs Payment Scheme Coverage

 391. Deputy Joan Collins Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the medicines that have been removed by the Medicines Management Programme, MMP, from the community drugs scheme; the amount the medicine cost the State before it was removed; the amount saved after its removal; and the number of persons receiving it before the medicine was removed from the list, in tabular form.  [43931/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, the HSE has statutory responsibility for the administration of the community drug schemes. Therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy..

Medical Card Applications

 392. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if an application for a medical card by a person (details supplied) will be expedited; the timeframe for a decision to issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43936/17]

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

 393. Deputy Peter Burke Information on Peter Burke Zoom on Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if an earlier appointment could be provided for a person (details supplied). [43938/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive 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 directly to the Deputy..

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

 394. Deputy Pat Deering Information on Patrick Deering Zoom on Patrick Deering asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if the assessment process to include a device (details supplied) for testing blood glucose levels for listing under reimbursable items for persons with diabetes that intensively use insulin (details supplied) is completed, in view of the fact that the application was acknowledged by the primary care reimbursement service of the Health Service Executive on 6 February 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43942/17]

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 Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Question No. 395 answered with Question No. 385.

Drug Treatment Programmes

 396. Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his plans to introduce suboxone for the treatment of narcotic addiction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43952/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): Information on Catherine Byrne Zoom on Catherine Byrne In January 2016, the Director General of the HSE submitted the final report of the Opioid Substitution Implementation Group to the Minister of State with responsibility for the national drugs strategy. The report recommends the phased increased access to buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) for groups of patients in specific circumstances, subject to resourcing and the required legislation being enacted.

Approximately 80 people currently receive suboxone for opioid dependence and are registered on the Central Treatment List (CTL) on an informal basis. For the feasibility study, the CTL was required to set up, manage and maintain a separate national database for all clients in receipt of buprenorphine/naloxone treatment. However, unlike the CTL for Methadone this does not yet have a statutory footing.

Drafting of new regulations to provide the same restrictions to the prescribing and dispensing of buprenorphine/naloxone and buprenorphine only for opioid dependence as apply to methadone is at an advanced stage. As buprenorphine has more “every day” uses than methadone (it is widely used as a painkiller both in the community and hospital settings) and is available in a wide variety of forms, the Regulations will need to ensure that the additional controls which apply to methadone do not interfere with the current use of buprenorphine for other clinical indications and avoid any unintended consequences.

It is expected that the regulations will be finalised in the coming weeks. The regulations will then be subject to the 3-month EU notification under the Technical Standards and Regulations Directive 2015/1535/EU.

An additional €750,000 has been allocated to the HSE to facilitate the phased increase in the use of Suboxone this year..

Drug and Alcohol Task Forces

 397. Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the allocation of funding that each of the local drugs and alcohol task forces received, in tabular form. [43953/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): Information on Catherine Byrne Zoom on Catherine Byrne The budget allocation for the twenty four Local and Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Forces from the Drugs Initiative of the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive for 2015 to 2017 is set out in the table hereunder:

LDATF 2015 DOH 2015 HSE 2016 DOH 2016 HSE 2017 DOH 2017 HSE
Ballyfermot €255,446 €1,231,286 €255,446 €1,231,286 €255,446 €1,231,286
Ballymun €422,958 €697,957 €422,958 €697,957 €422,958 €697,957
Blanchardstown €179,305 €913,589 €179,305 €913,589 €179,305 €913,589
Bray €573,860 €916,271 €573,860 €916,271 €573,860 €916,271
Canal Communities €338,605 €1,141,309 €338,605 €1,141,309 €338,605 €1,141,309
Clondalkin €388,114 €1,007,948 €388,114 €1,007,948 €388,114 €1,007,948
Cork €411,988 €1,108,299 €411,988 €1,108,299 €411,988 €1,108,299
Dublin 12 €70,997 €993,150 €70,397 €993,750 €70,397 €993,750
Dublin NE €422,251 €594,836 €239,971 €777,116 €239,971 €777,116
Dún Laoghaire €94,676 €786,755 €94,676 €786,755 €94,676 €786,755
Finglas Cabra €263,277 €627,960 €263,277 €627,960 €263,277 €627,960
NIC €494,856 €1,734,723 €394,856 €1,834,723 €394,856 €1,834,723
SIC €176,043 €1,868,014 €176,043 €1,868,014 €176,043 €1,868,014
Tallaght €341,438 €893,514 €336,022 €898,930 €336,022 €898,930
Total LDATF €4,433,814 €14,515,611 €4,145,518 €14,803,907 €4,145,518 €14,803,907
RDATF 2015 DOH 2015 HSE 2016 DOH 2016 HSE 2017 DOH 2017 HSE
East Coast Area €58,200 €508,500 €58,200 €508,500 €58,200 €508,500
Midland €136,816 €662,491 €136,816 €662,491 €136,816 €662,491
Mid-West €147,982 €1,260,007 €147,982 €1,260,007 €147,982 €1,260,007
North East €0 €927,813 €0 €927,813 €0 €927,813
North West €258,633 €461,730 €258,633 €461,730 €258,633 €461,730
North Dublin City & Co. €309,778 €467,486 €266,245 €511,019 €266,245 €511,019
South East €0 €1,065,760 €0 €1,065,760 €0 €1,065,760
South West €102,820 €696,497 €102,820 €696,497 €102,820 €696,497
Southern €0 €973,178 €0 €973,178 €0 €973,178
Western €136,994 €524,155 €136,994 €524,155 €136,994 €524,155
Total RDATF €1,151,223 €7,547,617 €1,107,690 €7,591,150 €1,107,690 €7,591,150
Overall Total  
€27,648,265
 
€27,648,265
 
€27,648,265

Hospital Appointments Delays

 398. Deputy Lisa Chambers Information on Lisa Chambers Zoom on Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of orthopaedic surgeries scheduled for Merlin Park University Hospital, Galway, that have been cancelled from 1 January 2017 to date due to problems with the roof in the theatre; the length of time the theatre will be closed for; the estimated future number of cancellations while the theatre is closed; the number of persons affected by this issue who are from County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43966/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris On Wednesday 4 October, I met the Saolta Hospital Group Management, representatives of the consultant orthopaedic surgeons at the Hospital, HSE Acute Hospitals and Estate Divisions as well as local Deputies to discuss the next steps in addressing the issue.

The Saolta Group has advised that it is working with the orthopaedic surgeons and staff of the Hospital and more widely across Galway University Hospitals to implement solutions pending completion of the repairs.

Interim solutions being progressed include: utilising additional bed capacity at University Hospital Galway to enable some further elective procedures to be carried out; engaging with local private hospitals regarding the potential to access theatre capacity to carry out orthopaedic surgery; and engaging the hospitals within the Saolta Group, in other Hospital Groups and the NTPF regarding capacity at other hospitals.

Furthermore, the Saolta Group and HSE Estates are working to progress the deployment of a mobile theatre unit at Merlin Park Hospital as quickly as possible. The Saolta Group and HSE have committed to provide a contingency plan that deals with service demand. I acknowledge the upset that this suspension of service has caused the patients affected and their family. The Saolta Group and the HSE have assured me that they are committed to resolving the issue as quickly as possible.

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

Hospital Waiting Lists

 399. Deputy Lisa Chambers Information on Lisa Chambers Zoom on Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of persons on the waiting list for orthopaedic surgeries in Merlin Park University Hospital, Galway; the number of persons on this waiting list from County Mayo; the average waiting time for orthopaedic surgeries before the theatre was closed; the revised average waiting time for such surgeries in the aftermath of the theatre closure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43967/17]

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

Hospital Appointments Delays

 400. Deputy Lisa Chambers Information on Lisa Chambers Zoom on Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of persons affected by the cancellation of orthopaedic surgeries in Merlin Park University Hospital, Galway, due to the closure of the theatre who will be treated in other hospitals; the number of persons who will be treated by each hospital; if there are surgeries that cannot be performed in other hospitals in the region due to the fact that the necessary equipment for some surgeries is only found in Merlin Park University Hospital, Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43968/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The Saolta University Healthcare Group has advised that a leak developed in the roof of a building in the Merlin Park hospital campus that houses the Hospital's two orthopaedic theatres on the 4th of September. Hospital management temporarily suspended operations for a week to facilitate the Galway University Hospital Buildings and Maintenance Unit to effect repairs.

Following discovery of a second leak on the 13 of September, a multi-disciplinary team in the Saolta Group, consisting of Hospital Management and Infection Control staff and HSE Estates took the decision to suspend elective orthopaedic surgical services in Merlin Park Hospital. There has been no elective surgical procedures carried out at Merlin Park since that date. Saolta and the University Hospital Galway management team have engaged an external engineering firm to carry out a full assessment of the damage and provide a timeframe for the completion of repairs. Hospital Management advise that they are contacting patients whose procedures have been deferred to explain the situation and assure those patients of the Hospital's commitment to ensuring they are rescheduled in as timely a manner as possible.

On Wednesday 4 October, I met the Saolta Hospital Group Management, representatives of the consultant orthopaedic surgeons at the Hospital, HSE Acute Hospitals and Estate Divisions as well as local T.D.s to discuss the next steps in addressing the issue.

The Saolta Group has advised that it is working with the orthopaedic surgeons and staff of the Hospital and more widely across Galway University Hospitals to implement solutions pending completion of the repairs.

Interim solutions being progressed include: utilising additional bed capacity at University Hospital Galway to enable some further elective procedures to be carried out; engaging with local private hospitals regarding the potential to access theatre capacity to carry out orthopaedic surgery; and engaging the hospitals within the Saolta Group, in other Hospital Groups and the NTPF regarding capacity at other hospitals.

Furthermore, the Saolta Group and HSE Estates are working to progress the deployment of a mobile theatre unit at Merlin Park Hospital as quickly as possible. The Saolta Group and HSE have committed to provide a contingency plan that deals with service demand. I acknowledge the upset that this suspension of service has caused the patients affected and their family. The Saolta Group and the HSE have assured me that they are committed to resolving the issue as quickly as possible.

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

Question No. 401 answered with Question No. 280.

Hospital Appointments Status

 402. 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 person (details supplied) in County Donegal will receive a new appointment from the Mater hospital for surgery; the reason the original appointment was cancelled by the hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43980/17]

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 specific case raised, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy..

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

 403. 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 the drug Kuvan sapropterin will be approved for reimbursement for those diagnosed with the genetic condition phenylketonuria; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44017/17]

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 under the community drug schemes, in accordance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013.

In reaching a decision, the HSE examines all the evidence which may be relevant in its view for the decision and will take into account such expert opinions and recommendations which may have been sought by the HSE, including, for example, advice from the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE).

Sapropterin (Kuvan) was previously considered under the national pricing and reimbursement processes in 2009. At that time, insufficient evidence was available to support the pricing and reimbursement application submitted by Merck Serono.

In December 2015, Merck Serono advised the HSE that the market authorisation for sapropterin was transferring to Biomarin in 2016. The HSE met with the new market authorisation holder in May 2016 and was advised that it would be submitting a health technology assessment dossier in relation to sapropterin.

The NCPE assessment of the new dossier was completed on the 15 September 2017 and the NCPE did not recommend sapropterin for reimbursement as it was not deemed cost effective.

The HSE assessment process is ongoing and the HSE will take into account any relevant expert advice when making its decision, in line with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013.

Questions Nos. 404 to 408, inclusive, answered with Question No. 277.

Appointments to State Boards

 409. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the State bodies or boards that fall under the remit of his Department; and the number of members of each State body or board who are not qualified within the field in which the board or body has oversight. [43408/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed There are twelve State Bodies under the aegis of my Department, as listed. Vacancies on the Boards of these twelve bodies, other than those which are filled on the basis of nominations from specified organisations*, are advertised and processed by the Public Appointments Service (PAS). In this regard, an Information Booklet is prepared for each vacancy which, among other matters, sets out the skills and experience necessary for the position(s) being filled. This Booklet is prepared in consultation with the Chairman of the Board of the State Body who also sits on the Assessment Panel which considers all applications. Only applicants deemed to satisfy the qualifying criteria for positions advertised are shortlisted for final consideration for appointment by me.

  Board members are therefore appointed on the basis of the specific knowledge, skills, experiences and expertise they bring to the deliberations of the Board and its committees. I am satisfied that the Board members of the State Bodies under my Department’s aegis are suitably qualified to carry out the functions for which they have been appointed.

   *In the case of the Aquaculture Licensing Appeals Board, Bord Bia, Horse Racing Ireland, the National Milk Agency, Teagasc and the Veterinary Council of Ireland, some of the board appointments are made on the basis of nominations from various organisations, as specified in the relevant statutes.   

  State Bodies under the aegis of Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

  - Aquaculture Licensing Appeals Board

  - Bord Bia

  - Bord Iascaigh Mhara

  - Bord na gCon

  - Coillte

  - Horse Racing Ireland

  - Irish National Stud

  - Marine Institute

  - National Milk Agency

  - Sea Fisheries Protection Authority

  - Teagasc

  - Veterinary Council of Ireland

Rural Development Programme

 410. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if he will extend membership of the monitoring committee for Ireland’s rural development programme 2014 to 2020 to an organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43450/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed I met members of the INHFA on Tuesday, 26 September, and had a wide-ranging discussion with them on many issues including their application for membership of the Monitoring Committee for the Rural Development Programme.

The Monitoring Committee was established at the outset of the Programme in 2015, in accordance with regulatory requirements, and comprises diverse and representative group of stakeholders.  It has not been the practice to co-opt new members during the Programming period, however notwithstanding that I am prepared to consider the INHFA’s request for membership.

In considering the membership of any new group for such an important Committee, it is important the applicant group provides the necessary assurances that it is here for the long-term and is an authoritative and coherent voice for a representative group of farmers. I discussed this in detail with the INHFA at the recent meeting and agreed the necessary next steps that must be taken in this process. The INHFA has agreed to submit their Articles of Association, number of members and any other supporting documentation/information which speaks to the durability, coherence and permanence of their group. 

On receipt of this correspondence, I will consider the matter further and will as soon as possible revert to the INHFA with my decision. I have also written to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine in relation to this matter and to update on the procedure outlined above, given their support for the INHFA membership of RDP Monitoring Committee..


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