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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 268-287
 Header Item Cross-Border Health Initiatives
 Header Item National Dementia Strategy
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item HSE Legal Cases
 Header Item Pharmacy Regulations
 Header Item Ambulance Service
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Nursing Homes Support Scheme
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Hospitals Building Programme
 Header Item Abortion Services Provision
 Header Item HSE Staff Data
 Header Item HSE Planning
 Header Item Autism Support Services
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Pharmacy Services
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 980 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 91 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 268-287

Cross-Border Health Initiatives

 268. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if a cross-border directive refund will be awarded to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10315/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service matter, I have requested the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly. 

National Dementia Strategy

 269. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if his attention has been drawn to a mapping project (details supplied) that was produced in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10316/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris In 2016 and 2017, the HSE's National Dementia Office partnered with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland on a project to map dementia-specific community-based services and supports. The project did not look at the generic services that people with dementia and their families and carers may use, or the quality of the identified services. However, it offers a useful snapshot and baseline study into what, where and when services are being offered. The study has also been used to inform a service finder hosted on the National Dementia Office’s website. This allows people to search for dementia-specific community services in their area.

The report, entitled ‘Dementia Specific Services in the Community: Mapping Public and Voluntary Services’, found gaps in access to services and a large variance in what services are provided across the country. The National Dementia Office has met with senior HSE officials in each Community Healthcare Organisation region to highlight gaps in each area and to develop local action plans to improve service provision.

The National Dementia Office has developed a needs analysis framework to support local dementia service planning and development. This framework is a mechanism to help the Office direct time, energy and resources into dementia care that most appropriately meets the needs of people with dementia. It will be used to make dementia service development more responsive and consistent across the country.

The mapping exercise was conducted to complement the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy, which seeks to improve dementia care, deliver improved services and supports, and allow people with dementia to live well for as long as possible in their own homes and communities. While there continue to be gaps in the provision of services, the Strategy's implementation has improved supports and understanding of the challenges faced by people with dementia through the provision of dementia-specific intensive homecare packages, a programme that helps GPs and primary care teams diagnose and manage cases of dementia, and a nationwide public awareness campaign.

The Department of Health also secured €6.26 million through the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Dormant Accounts Fund Action Plans to develop a number of projects which are designed to expand public awareness of dementia and to improve care for people with dementia. Projects receiving funding include the delivery of post-diagnostic supports; a dementia diagnostic service for people with intellectual disability; a national network of memory technology resource rooms; the development of a model for a national dementia registry; the national rollout of a Dementia Training Programme for HSE homecare staff; the development of Dementia Resource Centres; funding for a dementia community activation coordinator; an evaluation of services for people with early onset dementia; and community support projects for people with dementia. 

The Department of Health and the HSE are committed to the full implementation of the National Dementia Strategy, and to using available resources in the best way possible to support people with dementia, their carers and families.

Health Services Provision

 270. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if his attention has been drawn to the case of an organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10317/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

HSE Legal Cases

 271. Deputy Noel Grealish Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the progress of the expert group established to consider alternative mechanisms to the court process for resolving clinical negligence claims; the position regarding the expected publication of the final report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10318/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Government agreed in June this year to the establishment of an Expert Group to review the law of torts and the current systems for the management of clinical negligence claims. They agreed that High Court Justice Charles Meenan would chair the Group which would advise on whether there are alternative mechanisms to the current court process for resolving clinical negligence and personal injury claims. 

Judge Meenan's Expert Group will especially examine the system from the perspective of the person who has made the claim to explore if there is a better way to deal effectively yet more sensitively with certain cases. In this process the Group will also look at the impact of tort legislation on the overall patient safety culture and open disclosure.

Judge Meenan submitted an Interim Report to the Minister for Health and the Minister for Justice and Equality on the 9 January 2019 and the Final Report is expected in June 2019. I am currently arranging for the publication of the Interim Report.

Pharmacy Regulations

 272. Deputy James Browne Information on James Browne Zoom on James Browne asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the position regarding restrictions on the role of pharmaceutical assistants who have contributed to the smooth running of pharmacies here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10324/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The Pharmacy Act 2007 established the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) and the functions of the Society are set out in the Act. The functions of the PSI are carried out on its behalf by the Council of the Society. 

Section 30 of the Pharmacy Act 2007 provides for an exception to the general provision in the Act which requires the sale and supply of medicines at a pharmacy to be conducted under the personal supervision of a registered pharmacist, and specifies that no offence is committed where a registered pharmaceutical assistant “acts on behalf of a registered pharmacist during the temporary absence of the registered pharmacist”.

Section 30 also permits the Council to make rules as to:

1. What may or may not be done by a registered pharmaceutical assistant when acting on behalf of a registered pharmacist; and

2. What constitutes the temporary absence of a registered pharmacist.

Following a period of public consultation, the Council of the PSI considered the proposed draft Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (Temporary Absence of Pharmacist from Pharmacy) Rules 2018 at its meeting of 20 September 2018, where the Council approved the draft rules without amendment.  Following this, the PSI undertook to redraft the Rules in relation to what may or not be done by a registered pharmaceutical assistant when acting on behalf of a registered pharmacist.

On 6 December, the Council of the PSI approved a revised draft of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (Temporary Absence of Pharmacist from Pharmacy) Rules 2018 for issuance for public consultation. This public consultation commenced on 13 December 2018 and ran until 11 January 2019, affording any interested party the opportunity to make representations on the matter directly to the PSI.

Following completion of the public consultation phase, the Council of the PSI considered the proposed draft Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (Temporary Absence of Pharmacist from Pharmacy) Rules 2018 at its meeting on 14 February 2019.

My role in relation to this process is limited to the consideration of any such Rules once submitted for my consent. I must consider any Rules presented to me from a fair and impartial perspective, without prejudice or prejudgment.

I await the receipt of the Rules for my consideration from the PSI and, until that time, I am unfortunately not in a position to comment any further on the matter raised.

Ambulance Service

 273. Deputy Lisa Chambers Information on Lisa Chambers Zoom on Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the 2018 survey carried out by a company (details supplied) on the National Ambulance Service has not been issued to all staff; and if the results of the survey will be issued to staff. [10330/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this concerns the release of results to HSE staff, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Hospital Appointments Status

 274. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if an appointment will be expedited for a person (details supplied). [10333/19]

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.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

 275. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his views on a matter in regard to the fair deal scheme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10335/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly The proposed policy change to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS), to cap contributions from farm assets at 3 years where a family successor commits to working the productive asset, has been approved by Government. My Department is working on the development of draft Heads of Bill while considering a number of complex ancillary policy and operational matters which may need to be addressed in the proposed legislation. 

It is intended that this proposed policy change, the 3 year cap, will be extended to eligible existing participants in long term residential care so that they are not disadvantaged, but that there would be no retrospective recoupment of contributions for those who have paid contributions over and above the 3 year period.

A draft General Scheme of a Bill is currently with legal advisers for advice and legal quality control review. There is a current delay in accessing legal responses due to the demands of the emergency Brexit legislation. Subject to legal advice, I expect to bring the heads of bill to Government soon. The changes to the Scheme will come into effect in 2019 subject to the legislative process.

Hospital Appointments Status

 276. 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) will receive an appointment for Letterkenny University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10337/19]

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.

Hospitals Building Programme

 277. 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 status of the provision of a new-build emergency department and surgical block with 147 single rooms at Sligo University Hospital. [10338/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.

Abortion Services Provision

 278. 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 general practitioners who have signed contracts to provide termination-of-pregnancy services; the number who are accepting referrals from a service (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10339/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As the Deputy's question relates to a service matter, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

HSE Staff Data

 279. 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 HSE employees on administrative leave; the duration of the leave; and the cost of covering the leave, in tabular form. [10340/19]

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.

HSE Planning

 280. 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 amount spent on the winter plan; the amount spent on advertisement and public relations, in tabular form; the achievements of the plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10341/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As the Deputy will be aware, the Winter Plan came into effect on 1 December 2018 and will continue until 31 March 2019. The Plan seeks to ensure that the health system is as prepared as possible for the increase in demand on services over the coming months, within existing capacity and financial parameters.

  Key actions are now underway, as part of the Winter Plan, and a €30 million investment has been made to improve services for patients during this period of peak demand including: the opening of additional beds, the use of private hospital capacity, frailty intervention teams in Emergency Departments, additional homecare packages and transitional care beds along with additional diagnostics in hospitals and for GPs.

  Four public information, patient focused campaigns were undertaken by the HSE as part of the Winter Plan 2018/19 and funding of €700,000 was allocated.

  The four campaigns were: 

  - Winter Wellness - to unify all public health messages across all platforms;

  - Flu Vaccine - to promote the uptake of flu vaccine among at-risk groups;

  - Under the Weather - to provide advice for people for common illnesses; and

  - Promotion of the 11 Injury Units including clinical spokesperson highlighting the services available and providing information on Emergency Departments.   

  According to provisional figures, we have observed increased attendances at Emergency Department, increased admission and a 14% reduction in trolley figures this winter, between December 2018 and February 2019, compared to same months last year.  

  A review and lessons learned process to inform on the details of the actions, outputs and outcomes of the Winter Plan, including a breakdown of the amounts spent for the various aspects of the plan, will take place at the end of the winter period. The review will aim to highlight areas of success and areas for improvement, in order to inform the planning process for winter 2019/20.

Autism Support Services

 281. 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 counties in which applied behavioural analysis, ABA, programmes are being made available to families of children with autism, in tabular form; the number of hours under the programme delivered in each of the years from 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of children receiving ABA supports by county in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10344/19]

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

 282. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if an appointment will be expedited for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10346/19]

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.

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland

 283. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his views on the CEO recruitment process in the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland; if he has been briefed on the departure of the previous interim CEO and the dismissal of their interim successor by the president of the board (details supplied); and if his attention has been drawn to the ethical reasons that forced the interim successor into this situation. [10363/19]

 284. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if his attention has been drawn to the appointment of the CEO of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland by the board without following a similar recruitment process to that followed when a person (details supplied) was appointed to the interim role; and the reason the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland does not appear to have advised the public on its website as to the name of the current incumbent. [10364/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 283 and 284 together.

  The appointment of a Chief Executive Officer is a matter for the Board of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland.

  Section 28 of the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011 states that the Board shall appoint a Chief Executive Officer in accordance with the Public Service Management Act 2004. It further provides that should the position of CEO be vacant the functions of CEO may be performed by an employee of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) designated by the Board.

  I understand that the position is currently filled on a temporary basis and that the NMBI will advertise the post shortly. 

  Staff in my Department hold regular meetings with the NMBI to monitor compliance with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies. Matters of employment law are the responsibility of the NMBI.

Medical Card Applications

 285. 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 a new application for a medical card by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10369/19]

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.

Pharmacy Services

 286. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the changes to the rules for phased dispensing of medications by pharmacists to qualifying patients made in recent months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10373/19]

 301. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if the rules governing phased dispensing by pharmacists to older patients will be reviewed in view of the fact it is one of a number of factors that will keep them away from the acute system and long-term nursing home care; if the phased dispensing on the recommendation of a general practitioner will be allowed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10445/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 286 and 301 together.

  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.

Hospital Appointments Status

 287. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when a person (details supplied) will receive an appointment; the waiting time for such appointments in counties Roscommon and Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10378/19]

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 attention and direct reply to the Deputy.


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