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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 124-136
 Header Item National Children's Hospital Expenditure
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Physiotherapy Provision
 Header Item Counselling Services Provision
 Header Item Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Data
 Header Item Long-Term Illness Scheme Coverage
 Header Item Nursing Homes Support Scheme
 Header Item Disability Definitions
 Header Item Health Services

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 981 No. 5

First Page Previous Page Page of 66 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 124-136

Question No. 124 answered with Question No. 114.

National Children's Hospital Expenditure

 125. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if his Department is responsible for the salaries of the members of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board; if so, the amount that has issued in salaries to the members of the board to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [15772/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board is established under the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (Establishment) Order, 2007 (SI No 246 of 2007).  Article 12 (1) of that Order provides that members of the Board, including the Chairperson, may receive such remuneration as may from time to time be determined by the Minister for Health, with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. 

  The annual Chairperson and member fees which apply to the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board are €11,970 and €7,695 respectively.    

  Details of the fees paid to individual members of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board are published in the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board’s Annual Report each year. This includes the details of individuals who have waived their entitlements and those who do not receive a Board fee under the One Person One Salary principle precluding public servants and public sector employees who sit on State Boards from receiving fees.

Hospital Appointments Status

 126. 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. [15776/19]

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, 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.

Physiotherapy Provision

 127. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony Information on Margaret Murphy O'Mahony Zoom on Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of persons on the physiotherapy waiting list; the number waiting less than four, four to 12 and more than 12 months, respectively; and the number waiting aged zero to four, five to 17, 18 to 64 and more than 65 years, respectively, by each category in each local healthcare area at the end of March 2019 or the latest date available, in tabular form.  [15807/19]

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.

Counselling Services Provision

 128. 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 number of persons in each LHO area waiting for a counselling appointment in primary care at the end of March 2019 or the latest date available; and the number waiting less than 12, 12 to 26, 26 to 52 and more than 52 weeks, respectively.  [15813/19]

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.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Data

 129. 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 number of persons in each local health office area waiting for a child and adolescent mental health services appointment at the end of March 2019 or the latest date available; and the number waiting less than 12, 12 to 26, 26 to 52 and more than 52 weeks, respectively.  [15814/19]

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.

Long-Term Illness Scheme Coverage

 130. Deputy John Curran Information on John Curran Zoom on John Curran asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he will consider adding fibromyalgia to the long-term illness list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15821/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The LTI Scheme was established under Section 59(3) of the Health Act 1970 (as amended). The conditions covered by the LTI are: acute leukaemia; mental handicap; cerebral palsy; mental illness (in a person under 16); cystic fibrosis; multiple sclerosis; diabetes insipidus; muscular dystrophies; diabetes mellitus; parkinsonism; epilepsy; phenylketonuria; haemophilia; spina bifida; hydrocephalus; and conditions arising from the use of thalidomide.

  Under the LTI Scheme, patients receive drugs, medicines, and medical and surgical appliances directly related to the treatment of their illness, free of charge.

  There are no plans to extend the list of conditions covered by the Scheme at this time. However, I wish to inform the Deputy that the LTI Scheme will be included as part of a review of the current eligibility framework, including the basis for existing hospital and medication charges, to be carried out under commitments given in the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy.

  For people who are not eligible for the LTI scheme, there are other arrangements which protect them from excessive medicine costs.

  Under the Drug Payment Scheme, no individual or family pays more than €124 a month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme significantly reduces the cost burden for families and individuals with ongoing expenditure on medicines.

  People who cannot, without undue hardship, arrange for the provision of medical services for themselves and their dependants may be entitled to a medical card. In the assessment process, the HSE can take into account medical costs incurred by an individual or a family. 

  People who are not eligible for a medical card may still be able to avail of a GP visit card, which covers the cost of GP consultations.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

 131. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his plans to introduce a three-year cap on farm businesses' assets in circumstances in which a family successor commits to continue to farm the asset for a period of six years (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [15822/19]

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 based on 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.

The General Scheme of a Bill has been drafted and we are currently working closely with legal advisers on advice and legal quality control. The focus on matters relating to Brexit, including planning and preparing in a legal and legislative context, has unfortunately had an impact on progressing the Heads of Bill. However, subject to legal advice, I expect to bring the Heads of Bill to Government in May. The changes to the Scheme will come into effect in 2019 subject to the legislative process.

Disability Definitions

 132. Deputy John Curran Information on John Curran Zoom on John Curran asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he will examine the issue of having fibromyalgia classified as a disability under the Disability Act 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15823/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath Fibromyalgia is a syndrome associated with wide-spread pain and fatigue. It is labelled a syndrome as fibromyalgia is a collection of signs, symptoms and medical problems that tend to occur together but are not related to a specific, identifiable cause. Fibromyalgia is not classified as a disability and there are currently no plans for the reclassification of fibromyalgia.

Health Services

 133. 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 reason children who travelled under the scoliosis action plan outsourcing initiative to a hospital (details supplied) now find themselves without access to their referring Irish consultant.  [15830/19]

 134. 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 reason children with scoliosis who travelled to a hospital (details supplied) are treated differently to children who travelled to Germany who remain patients of their Irish consultant, post surgery.  [15831/19]

 135. 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 reason letters were not issued to parents to explain the change to their children's terms of their scoliosis outsourcing agreement with the HSE and that some children are now without access to an Irish orthopaedic consultant and must present to their local emergency department if they require a spinal assessment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [15832/19]

 136. 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 cost of scoliosis outsourcing initiatives considering it now entails long-term follow-up of children by a hospital (details supplied) resulting in numerous trips to the United Kingdom by teams and patients; his views on whether this is the best policy; and his further views on whether it would be better to invest in capacity and services to carry out the surgeries and treatments here.  [15833/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 133 to 136, inclusive, together.

  The long-term strategy to develop sustainable scoliosis services is a priority for my Department and for the HSE, and the impact of investment and the implementation of the Scoliosis 10 Point Action Plan is now delivering results with a consistent reduction in waiting times being recorded.

  Children's Health Ireland (CHI) advise that the total number of surgeries performed in 2018 was 418 compared with 371 in 2017. This represents an increase in activity of 12% against 2017 and an increase in activity of 87% compared to 2016 when 224 procedures were carried out.

  CHI advise that as of the 29th March 2019 there were 174 patients on the Total Spinal Waiting List (including suspensions). This is a reduction of 26% (61 patients) since the same period last year when there were 235 patients on the Total Spinal Waiting List. Furthermore, the number of patients suspended has decreased by 77% in the same period, down from 64 at the end of March 2018 to 15 at the end of March 2019.    

  CHI is currently recruiting two additional general orthopaedic consultants which will further reduce waiting times for children for an orthopaedic outpatient appointment. More broadly, all patient referrals to the orthopaedic spinal service at CHI are reviewed and clinically prioritised by a consultant. These patients are seen in order of clinical priority. Most patients are seen within 12 months.

  An additional 800 Outpatient appointments were given to patients in CHI at Crumlin in 2018 compared to 2017, which led to a 31% reduction in the overall orthopaedic outpatient waiting list.

  The Department of Health is working closely with CHI with the aim of supporting the further development of a sustainable scoliosis service and ensuring that the on-going demand for services is met.

  In relation to the specific queries raised by the Deputy regarding outsourcing initiatives, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.


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