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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 303-323
 Header Item Home Help Service Provision
 Header Item Health Services Staff Remuneration
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item Speech and Language Therapy Waiting Lists
 Header Item Medicinal Products Reimbursement
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Medical Card Data
 Header Item National Children's Hospital Expenditure
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Capital Expenditure Programme
 Header Item National Children's Hospital
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Departmental Staff Data
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 980 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 82 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 303-323

Home Help Service Provision

 303. 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 if additional home help hours will be provided for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9062/19]

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.

Health Services Staff Remuneration

 304. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris further to Parliamentary Question No. 158 of 30 January 2019 and the response of the HSE, the action taken to inform the person (details supplied) of the reason for the non-payment of the incremental credits they were entitled to; the dates of communication with the person to inform them of non-payment; if they were provided the opportunity to appeal the decision; if the decision not to pay the increments will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9066/19]

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

Proposed Legislation

 305. 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 progress of legislation to provide for exclusion zones for protests around health institutions such as general practitioner offices and hospitals in which termination of pregnancy services may be provided. [9080/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris It is my intention to introduce legislation to ensure safe access to premises in which termination of pregnancy services may be provided. It was originally intended to provide for safe access in the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018, but a number of legal issues were identified during the drafting process. In order to allow full consideration of these issues, and so that the publication of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill would not be delayed, it was decided that the best option would be to provide for safe access to health services in a separate companion piece of legislation in 2019.

Government approval for this approach was received in September 2018.

Officials in my Department are working with the Office of the Attorney General on this legislation with a view to having a General Scheme drafted by the summer.

Speech and Language Therapy Waiting Lists

 306. 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 persons on the speech and language therapy assessment waiting list aged zero to four, five to 12 and 12 to 18; and the number waiting less than four, four to 12 and more than 12 months, respectively, by local heath office, LHO, and age in tabular form. [9083/19]

 307. 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 persons on the speech and language therapy initial assessment waiting list aged zero to four, five to 12 and 12 to 18; and the number waiting less than four, four to 12 and more than 12 months, respectively, by LHO in tabular form. [9084/19]

 308. 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 persons on the speech and language therapy further treatment waiting list aged zero to four, five to 12 and 12 to 18; and the number waiting less than four, four to 12 and more than 12 months, respectively, by LHO in tabular form. [9085/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 306 to 308, inclusive, together.

  As these questions relate to service matters, I have arranged for them to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

 309. 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 Spinraza treatment will be rolled out to spinal muscular atrophy, SMA, sufferers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9094/19]

 310. Deputy Eamon Scanlon Information on Eamon Scanlon Zoom on Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when Spinraza treatment will be rolled out to persons with SMA under the general medical scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9106/19]

 312. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when the Spinraza treatment will be rolled out to SMA sufferers here; the reason for ongoing delays; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9123/19]

 316. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice Information on Michael Fitzmaurice Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when he expects the Spinraza treatment to be made available to sufferers of SMA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9129/19]

 317. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice Information on Michael Fitzmaurice Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if funding will be made available for the Spinraza treatment for sufferers of SMA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9130/19]

 318. Deputy Shane Cassells Information on Shane Cassells Zoom on Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when Spinraza will be rolled out to sufferers of SMA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9132/19]

 330. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when Spinraza treatment will be rolled out to persons with SMA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9238/19]

 393. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the details of the decision of the HSE leadership team in respect of extending Spinraza to persons with SMA.  [9543/19]

 403. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when Spinraza will be made available through the HSE; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9587/19]

 433. Deputy John Curran Information on John Curran Zoom on John Curran asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the position regarding the provision of Spinraza to children with SMA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9683/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 309, 310, 312, 316 to 318, inclusive, 330, 393, 403 and 433 together.

  The Health Service Executive has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicines, in accordance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013.

  The Act specifies the criteria to be applied in the making of reimbursement decisions which include the clinical and cost effectiveness of the product, the opportunity cost and the impact on resources that are available to the HSE.

  I am advised by the HSE that an application for the reimbursement of Nusinersen (Spinraza) was considered by HSE Leadership at its meeting on 12 February 2019.

  Following detailed consideration of the application, the HSE Leadership made the decision that it was unable to recommend reimbursement of Spinraza and concluded that the evidence for clinical effectiveness is still quite limited and that the current price proposed by the manufacturer was not a cost-effective use of resources.

  The HSE has written to the company involved and informed them of the proposal to refuse reimbursement at the current price offering. Under the requirements of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013 the company now has 28 days to respond or make representations to the HSE’s proposed decision.

  The HSE remains open to considering any new evidence or information which emerges regarding the clinical effectiveness or price of this medicine.

Hospital Appointments Status

 311. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe Information on Kevin O'Keeffe Zoom on Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if a hospital appointment will be expedited for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9115/19]

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, since 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 the Deputy directly.

Question No. 312 answered with Question No. 309.

Medical Card Data

 313. 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 number of medical card and general practitioner card users; the number of discretionary medical cards and discretionary general practitioner visit cards in circulation; the statistical increase in those accessing the general medical service scheme over the past four years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9124/19]

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 attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

  I would like to bring the following to the Deputy's attention. The HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service publishes monthly reports on the HSE website. These reports provide up to date data on the number of persons who hold a medical card, general practitioner card and discretionary medical card.

National Children's Hospital Expenditure

 314. 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 amount drawn down to date of the €490 million loan secured from the European Investment Bank, EIB, to construct the national children’s hospital; if a further loan is being considered in view of increased costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9126/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The European Investment Bank is providing a loan of €490 million to Ireland to part-support the construction of the new children’s hospital and associated outpatient and urgent care centres.

  I am informed by the National Treasury Management Agency that €245m of this loan has been drawn down. A further loan is not being considered in respect of the new children's hospital project.

Hospital Appointments Status

 315. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of an appointment for a person (details supplied); the reason there is a delay in appointments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9128/19]

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.

Questions Nos. 316 to 318, inclusive, answered with Question No. 309.

Capital Expenditure Programme

 319. 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 health projects affected due to the re-profiling of projects to accommodate the reduction in the capital budget for health in 2019 due to the overrun on the national children’s hospital. [9135/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The Government recently outlined how the €99m necessary this year for the timely provision of the new children’s hospital will be accommodated with a minimum of disruption to the scheduled rollout of key infrastructure projects under Project Ireland 2040.

The new children’s hospital is a vital and much needed project. The Government has examined the funding pressures associated with delivering this important project. In meeting these funding pressures, Government has examined all projects and programmes across Government and has made adjustments to ensure that the much-needed new children’s hospital will be delivered and will facilitate delivering the overall investment programme, as set out in Project Ireland 2040. Projects that are currently in construction and are contractually committed will not be affected.

My Department and the Health Service Executive are currently engaged in a process to finalise the HSE Capital Plan for 2019.

National Children's Hospital

 320. 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 person who held his office when the two-stage procurement strategy was agreed and signed off upon for the new national children’s hospital.  [9136/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) has statutory responsibility for planning, designing, building and equipping the new children's hospital and outpatient and urgent care centres in accordance with a brief approved by the HSE with the prior consent of the Minister, and subject to any subsequent variations to this brief as may be determined by the Executive in consultation with the Board, and with the prior consent of the Minister.

Under the relevant statutory instrument National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (Establishment) Order 2007 (S.I. 246 of 2007) the Minister, Dr James Reilly T.D. consented in June 2014, followed by HSE approval, to a project brief which enabled the NPHDB to appoint a design team. The project brief did not at that stage specify the two stage procurement approach.

The NPHDB has advised that the two-stage procurement strategy was developed by the NPHDB over the course of 2014 and 2015 with the involvement of the Government Contracts Committee for Construction (GCCC), and finalised in the early part of 2016 when, prior to the issue of the new children's hospital tender documentation, meetings were held with the GCCC to reaffirm the procurement strategy. The NPHDB initiated the tender process, for which Ministerial approval was not required, in June 2016. Tender bids were received by NPHDB at the end of October 2016. I brought a Memorandum to Government in April 2017 advising of the outcome of the process and the associated capital costs and seeking approval for the construction investment decision.

Hospital Appointments Status

 321. Deputy Peter Burke Information on Peter Burke Zoom on Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied). [9155/19]

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, since 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 the Deputy directly.

Departmental Staff Data

 322. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of conferences staff of his Department have attended in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; the number of staff who attended each conference; the cost of same in each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9171/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I thank the Deputy for the clarification material provided.

  Officials in my Department will make every effort to provide a response to your question based on information available within the Department. A collated reply will be forwarded to you as soon as possible.

  If the Deputy is interested in attendance at a particular conference, you might contact my Office who will be happy to make enquiries.

Departmental Expenditure

 323. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the amount spent on advertising, sponsorship or both in respect of conferences external and internal, respectively, in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, by conference; the aggregate amount for each year; the amount available in the remainder of 2019 to fund same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9188/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The information requested by the Deputy is not collected routinely. Officials in my Department will make every effort to provide a response to your question based on information available within the Department. A collated reply will be forwarded to you as soon as possible.


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