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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 405-425
 Header Item Ambulance Service
 Header Item Ambulance Service
 Header Item Air Ambulance Service
 Header Item Ambulance Service
 Header Item Ambulance Service Staff
 Header Item Ambulance Service Staff
 Header Item Ambulance Service Staff
 Header Item Hospitals Capital Programme
 Header Item HSE Funding
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Health Services Funding
 Header Item Tender Process
 Header Item Tender Process
 Header Item Tender Process
 Header Item Tender Process
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists Data
 Header Item National Drugs Strategy
 Header Item National Drugs Strategy
 Header Item National Treatment Purchase Fund Eligibility
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status

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. 405-425

Ambulance Service

 405. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the reason the National Ambulance Service has embarked on a process of converting ambulances with excessive mileage that have been withdrawn from front-line service to emergency equipment carriers; the cost involved for the conversion; his views on whether it would be more appropriate to purchase more modern vehicles which would have a longer lifespan rather than vehicles that are already decommissioned and are unsuitable for further use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9599/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service issue, I have asked the HSE to reply to you directly.

Ambulance Service

 406. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the purpose for which the emergency equipment carriers are to be used in the National Ambulance Service; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that no other European country converts ambulances to equipment carriers which have been retired from active front-line services; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that specialised vehicles are purchased for this task in all other European countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9600/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service issue, I have asked the HSE to reply to you directly.

Air Ambulance Service

 407. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if four of the five helicopters in use for inter-helicopter transfers are not capable of landing on the rooftop planned for the new national children’s hospital; if the aviation providers were consulted in the process of the design of the new national children’s hospital; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that at night-time the helicopters will have to land at Dublin Airport and transport sick children by ambulance to the new national children’s hospital in view of the fact none of the five helicopters will be able to land on the proposed helipad; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9601/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris There will be an elevated helipad at the new children's hospital, which will have direct and rapid access to the critical care, theatre and emergency departments within the hospital. This enhanced direct and rapid access will improve clinical outcomes for the sickest children and young people.

The helipad has been designed in close consultation with the National Ambulance Service Aeromedical Liaison Service who are responsible for providing helicopter services to hospitals. The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board also consulted with the Irish Aviation Authority and the Air Corps who are the primary provider of paediatric helicopter services to the National Ambulance Service.

When reviewing the alternatives with the Irish Aviation Authority and the Air Corps, they recommended against a ground helipad due to the constrained flight paths and obstacle clearance. Use of elevated landing sites on the roof of hospitals is widespread in the UK and Europe and many of the recently completed Paediatric hospitals have elevated helipads.

The Air Corps is the primary provider of paediatric helicopter services to the National Ambulance Service. Air Corps helicopters comprising Augusta Westland AW139 can land on a raised landing site or the roof of a building which is designed and certified for such operations. The Irish Coast Guard provides reserve support to the National Ambulance Service, when required, through its Sikorsky S92 search and rescue fleet primarily for search and rescue missions. The Sikorsky S92 helicopters are not licensed to land on helipads and, for access to the St. James's Campus, will land in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham from which patients will be transferred in an ambulance by road, as is current practice.

The majority of patient transfers to the three Dublin children’s hospitals are completed by road. In any major emergency rescue in a rural area, a Sikorsky Helicopter will bring the patient to the nearest regional hospital for stabilisation resulting in an appropriately planned transfer to the new children’s hospital.

Ambulance Service

 408. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the reason there are two ambulance controls in Dublin city; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9602/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) has provided emergency ambulance services in Dublin since 1898.   

  Emergency calls for ambulances in the Dublin area are managed from the DFB control room in Townsend Street, Dublin, where DFB personnel take calls, and dispatch resources, for both ambulance and fire services.   Emergency calls for ambulances outside of the Dublin area are managed through the National Emergency Operations Centre.

  The current call taking arrangements in Dublin represent an unacceptably high patient safety risk and can give rise to delays in the allocation of ambulance resources to patients, including in potentially life-threatening situations. Since the 1990s several reports have raised concerns about the existence of two separate ambulance call and dispatch centres in Dublin.

  In line with recommendations set out in these reports , Dublin City Council and the HSE have proposed the transfer of all DFB ambulance call taking and dispatch functions to the National Emergency Operations Centre, such that all such services across the state are consolidated in one centre. This issue is currently the subject of a mediation process between Dublin City Council and DFB staff associations.   

Ambulance Service Staff

 409. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the amount the HSE has paid members of the National Ambulance Service in relation to bullying in the past 15 years; the number of cases in which bullying was involved by management or co-workers; the number of incidents of bullying which involved women; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9603/19]

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.

Ambulance Service Staff

 410. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of stage two and three grievances which were dealt within the time parameters as set out in the HSE grievance procedure with reference to the National Ambulance Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [9604/19]

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.

Ambulance Service Staff

 411. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of calls that required ambulance staff to work beyond their rostered finishing time in the period 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9605/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service issue, I have asked the HSE to reply to you directly.

Hospitals Capital Programme

 412. Deputy John Curran Information on John Curran Zoom on John Curran asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when the HSE capital plan for 2019 will be finalised and published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9609/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris My Department and the Health Service Executive are currently engaged in a process to finalise the HSE Capital Plan for 2019. Once the HSE has finalised its Capital Plan for 2019, it will then be submitted to me for consideration. Once approved the Capital Plan for 2019 will be published.     

HSE Funding

 413. Deputy John Curran Information on John Curran Zoom on John Curran asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when additional funding (details supplied) will be allocated; if it can be allocated as an increase to core funding to support existing projects and programmes and to meet emerging needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9611/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): Information on Catherine Byrne Zoom on Catherine Byrne The Department of Health allocated funding of almost €100m to the HSE for addiction services in 2019. The HSE National Service Plan 2019 sets out the type and volume of addiction services to be provided, having regard to the funding allocated.

  In addition, the Department provides a further €28m to Drug and Alcohol Task Forces through various channels of funding, including the HSE.

  Implementing the health-led national drugs strategy continues to be a Government priority. Task forces have an important role in delivering the strategy at the local level.

  Within the limited envelope of resources available for drug and alcohol services in 2019, I am considering options for the provision of additional funding for addiction services and task forces.

  I am committed to providing additional resources to enhance service provision under the national drugs strategy. These resources should be directed towards those interventions which are most likely to lead to a reduction in problem substance use and positive improvement in public health, safety and wellbeing.

  I will shortly be engaging with the task forces to outline my plans for additional funding for community initiatives to tackle the misuse of drugs and alcohol.

Hospital Appointments Status

 414. 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 the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9612/19]

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.

Health Services Funding

 415. Deputy Pat Buckley Information on Pat Buckley Zoom on Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his plans to provide a specific separate Traveller health budget in future budgets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9618/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): Information on Catherine Byrne Zoom on Catherine Byrne Health and wellbeing are not evenly distributed across society. There are socially excluded groups who experience extreme health inequalities. Such groups include Travellers, homeless people, refugees and asylum seekers and people with addiction issues. Inequalities in health are reflected in the mortality and morbidity rates of the population. Rates of chronic diseases are another indicator of health inequalities. A social gradient is also apparent in mental health.

The Department of Health is developing an inclusion health policy which will sets out the department's approach to reducing health inequalities for socially excluded groups. The policy will move away from a silo approach and consider the many cross-cutting issues that affected social excluded groups, be that addiction, mental health, or physical health. It will address the social determinants of health and outline models to provide integrated and comprehensive healthcare services, in line with Slaintecare.

The Department has undertaken significant measures across the health service to address the health needs of Travellers, including funding for the All Ireland Traveller Health Study. There is ongoing and extensive engagement with Traveller organisations on their health needs.

The Department provides funding in the region of €10m per annum to the HSE for targeted measures to improve the health status of the Travelling community. These include:

- primary healthcare projects, counselling services, family support programmes and men's health projects; dedicated public health nurses and related staff;

- mental health promotion and suicide prevention services in a culturally sensitive manner, to reduce the stigma associated with mental health.

A further €500,000 initiatives aimed at improving Traveller mental health is provided through the Dormant Accounts Fund. Additional funding for Traveller mental health initiatives is provided in the HSE National Service Plan 2019.

The provision of additional resources for Traveller health is a matter for consideration in the preparation of the Estimates for Budget 2020.

The National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy (NTRIS) sets out over 30 actions to address the health needs of Travellers and Roma. The Department and the HSE report regularly on the implementation of these actions to the NTRIS steering group, chaired by Minister David Stanton. One of the NTRIS actions is for the HSE to develop and implement a detailed action plan to continue to address the specific health needs of Travellers, using a social determinants approach.

As Minister for health promotion, I am fully committed to improving the health outcomes for Travellers and I look forward to receiving from the HSE its Traveller health action plan in due course.

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris   Question No. 416 withdrawn.

Tender Process

 417. Deputy Darragh O'Brien Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of a competition (details supplied) which was due to go out to public tender in 2017; the progress with the tender; when it will be published or retendered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9629/19]

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 HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Tender Process

 418. Deputy Darragh O'Brien Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of a competition (details supplied); when it is due to be retendered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9630/19]

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 HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Tender Process

 419. Deputy Darragh O'Brien Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when the tender for a matter (details suppled) will be awarded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9631/19]

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 HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Tender Process

 420. Deputy Darragh O'Brien Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when the tender for a matter (details supplied) will be awarded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9632/19]

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 HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Waiting Lists Data

 421. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of persons on the neurology waiting list in Tallaght Hospital over the past three years by the length of time they have been waiting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9633/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Improving waiting times for hospital procedures is a key commitment in the Programme for Government.

  I hope to publish the joint Department of Health, HSE and NTPF Scheduled Care Access Plan 2019 shortly. This will ensure an appropriate balance between high volume activities and offering treatment to complex long waiting patients.

  This Plan for inpatients/day case (IPDC) and outpatients will set out the activity targets for the HSE in line with the National Service Plan, as well as those for the NTPF taking account of their increased funding totalling €75milion in 2019, to provide treatment for patients.

  As of the end of January 2019, there were 33 patients on the IPDC waiting list for Neurology in Tallaght University Hospital. This represents a 48% decrease since January 2017. In January 2019 there were 2,896 patients on the Neurology outpatient waiting list. The HSE advise that Tallaght University Hospital has recently recruited new consultants in the area of neurology as well as orthopaedics and ENT.

  In addition, as part of its work to address long-waiters, Tallaght University Hospital has engaged with the NTPF to propose a number of insourcing and outsourcing initiatives that can help to address the outpatient lists.

  A breakdown of the waiting list requested by the Deputy are provided.

OPD            
Row Labels Values 0-3Months 3-6Months 6-9Months 9-12Months 12-15 Months
Neurology            
  31/01/2019 316 271 292 265 229
  31/01/2018 380 363 264 331 271
  31/01/2017 356 340 289 305 200
IPDC            
Row Labels   0-3 Mths 3-6 Mths 6-9 Mths 9-12 Mths 12-15 Mths
Neurology            
  31/01/2019 22 8 3 0 0
  31/01/2018 18 6 0 0 0
  31/01/2017 28 17 12 6 1


  Table contd.
OPD                
Row Labels Values 15-18Months 18-21Months 21-24Months 24-36Months 36-48Months 48+Months Grand Total
Neurology                
  31/01/2019 268 214 212 552 275 2 2896
  31/01/2018 291 141 190 535 290 0 3056
  31/01/2017 191 197 169 514 6 0 2567
    15-18Months 18-21Months 21-24Months 24-36Months 36-48Months 48+Months Grand Total
IPDC                
Row Labels 31/01/2019 0 0 0 0 0 0 33
Neurology 31/01/2018 0 0 0 0 0 0 24
  31/01/2017 0 0 0 0 0 0 64
                 
                 

National Drugs Strategy

 422. 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 programmes and projects undertaken to achieve strategic action 1.2.8 of the national drugs strategy, to improve services for young people at risk of substance misuse in socially and economically disadvantaged communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9644/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): Information on Catherine Byrne Zoom on Catherine Byrne Strategic action 1.2.8 of the National Drugs Strategy calls for the development of a new scheme to provide targeted, appropriate and effective services for young people at risk of substance misuse, focused on socially and economically disadvantaged communities.

  This action falls under Objective 1.2 which aims to prevent the use of drugs and alcohol at a young age. It is intended that this scheme will fund out-of-school interventions (e.g. youth services).

  This action was discussed at the Standing Sub-Committee meeting in March 2018, with the committee hearing from the following organisations: CORE Youth Service, Solas Project, Neighbourhood Youth Project 2 and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

  The funding arrangements and details of this new scheme under action 1.2.8 are being developed at present.

  I am committed to providing additional resources to enhance service provision under the national drugs strategy. These resources should be directed towards those interventions which are most likely to lead to a reduction in problem substance use and positive improvement in public health, safety and wellbeing.

  I will shortly be engaging with task forces and other stakeholders to outline my plans for a new scheme to provide targeted, appropriate and effective services for young people at risk of substance misuse.

National Drugs Strategy

 423. 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 dates on which and the attendees of the national oversight committee established to drive the implementation of reducing harm, supporting recovery; the frequency with which the committee has met; if it has made recommendations or published progress reports regarding the implementation of the national drug and alcohol strategy since its publication in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9645/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): Information on Catherine Byrne Zoom on Catherine Byrne The National Oversight Committee (NOC) for the implementation of ‘Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery - a health-led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017 – 2025’ met on the following dates: 29/09/2017,19/01/2018, 18/05/2018, 14/09/2018 and 18/01/2019. A list of membership of the committee is attached.

  A Progress Report for 2018 was developed by the lead agencies involved in the strategy and was discussed at the 18 January 2019 NOC meeting. This report will be published on the Department of Health's website in the coming weeks. The progress report will be reviewed by the Standing Sub-Committee in a structured manner over the course of its meetings in 2019.

  RHSR

National Treatment Purchase Fund Eligibility

 424. 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 further to Parliamentary Question No. 180 of 24 January 2019, if a person is eligible for the NTPF; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9651/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital operations and procedures is a key priority for the Government.

The 2019 Scheduled Care Access Plan is currently being finalised by my Department and will set out HSE activity levels to reduce waiting lists across specialties and improve access. The Access Plan will also set out activity levels for the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) who, following an increase in funding in Budget 2019 to €75 million, will supply additionality to HSE activity by arranging both insourced and outsourced appointments and treatments to reduce waiting times experienced by patients.

In terms of treatment offers, the NTPF authorises public hospitals to offer outsourced treatment to clinically suitable long waiting patients who are on an inpatient/day case waiting list for surgery, having been referred on to such a list following clinical assessment by a consultant/specialist at an outpatient clinic. NTPF authorisations are made in respect of the longest waiting patients first.

In relation to the particular query raised, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Hospital Appointments Status

 425. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of the case of a person (details supplied); and when they can expect a hospital appointment. [9657/19]

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.


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