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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 648-662
 Header Item Dental Services
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Medical Cards
 Header Item Departmental Bodies
 Header Item Care of the Elderly
 Header Item Health Services
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item Medical Cards
 Header Item Home Help Service
 Header Item Covid-19 Tests
 Header Item Audiology Services
 Header Item HSE Properties
 Header Item Health Services
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Hospital Consultant Contracts

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 998 No. 5
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 120 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 648-662

Dental Services

 648. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of children by HSE community healthcare organisation, CHO, region who await dental treatment under general anaesthetic; the maximum waiting period per region; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28175/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 649. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of staff redeployed and deployed through the Be on Call for Ireland campaign and other campaigns as part of the swab, test and trace system to identify Covid-19 cases by origin that is, HSE pre-existing, HSE new for Covid-19, Be on Call and so on, by occupation, by CHO, and by weekly average for the period 1 March to 30 September 2020, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28183/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Medical Cards

 650. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if there are plans to raise the threshold from €900 to €1,000 for over 70s couples who apply for a medical card; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28191/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The Health (General Practitioner Service and Alteration of Criteria for Eligibility) Bill 2020, enacted on 2 August 2020, provided for an increase to the gross medical card income limits for those aged 70 and over to €550 per week for a single person and to €1,050 per week for a couple. The Government has now approved the necessary funding required to implement this measure and the new increased income limits will take effect from 1 November 2020.

Officials in my Department are therefore now making the necessary arrangements to commence the relevant section of the Act and are engaging with the HSE's National Medical Card unit to ensure all operational arrangements are in place for implementation of this measure.

Departmental Bodies

 651. Deputy Bríd Smith Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of disease control workplace inspectors in the employ of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, HPSC; the estimated full-year cost of their employment; and the number of businesses inspected by them in 2019 and to date in 2020.  [28193/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Care of the Elderly

 652. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly when community social daycare facilities for older persons are expected to reopen; when respite care facilities will open their doors for older persons and their families (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28197/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly We all know that community services such as day care and respite services play an important role in enabling older people to continue living in their communities and maintain their social connections. These services contribute to positive ageing and better overall health. However, the introduction of physical distancing, isolation and restricted contact with family and loved ones has changed the usual dynamic of social interaction.

The HSE continues to work closely with providers and community staff to identify where service is most required and has been undertaking risk assessments of local services. This is to ensure, insofar as possible, that Day Care services and respite services can resume in the context of COVID-19 and having regard for Public Health advice.

Services will resume when it is safe to do so; when all infection prevention and control measures and the requirements of physical distancing can be maintained, so as to protect service users and staff and prevent any further spread of the virus. Some Day Centres may not be suitable for reopening due to the constraints of their physical environment and it will be necessary to continue or expand alternative service delivery models developed during recent months. However, I am aware of examples where respite can be provided in exceptional circumstances, according to clinical need.

I understand the impact that the continued delay in the re-opening of day centres and the restoration of respite services is having on older people and the important role this service can play in their lives. I have asked the HSE to ensure that it continues to assess the risks and benefits of re-opening, as well as continuing to expand and explore alternative ways of delivering services to this vulnerable group. I am also continuing to meet with groups that work with and on behalf of older people to see how they can best be supported during this challenging time.

Health Services

 653. Deputy Michael Lowry Information on Michael Lowry Zoom on Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly when full services will be restored to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28218/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly 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.

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Proposed Legislation

 654. Deputy Matt Carthy Information on Matt Carthy Zoom on Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly his plans to introduce a statutory homecare scheme that will provide for appropriate respite each year and a carer needs assessment for full-time carers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28246/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Enabling people with care-needs to continue to live independently at home for as long as possible is a long-standing objective of the Government. To advance this, the Government is committed to establishing a new statutory scheme for the financing and regulation of home-support services, which the Department of Health is currently developing.

It is intended that the new scheme will provide equitable and transparent access to high-quality services based on a person's assessed care-needs, and that it will operate consistently across the country. It will build on the HSE's continual enhancement of existing service-provision and on emerging good practice across the current system of health and social care delivery as well as supporting family and unpaid carers.

The national roll-out of interRAI as the single assessment tool will be integral to the new scheme, underpinning the provision of one streamlined process for responding to the evolving care-needs of the individual, from entry-level home-support through to intensive care in a residential setting. The system of regulation will ensure public confidence in the services provided as well as safeguarding service-users.

Medical Cards

 655. Deputy Matt Carthy Information on Matt Carthy Zoom on Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if the carer general practitioner visit card will be extended to carers in receipt of the carer's support grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28247/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Since 1 September 2018 all those in receipt of either a full or half-rate Carer's Allowance or Carer's Benefit are automatically eligible for a GP visit card. It is noted that many persons in receipt of the Carer's Support Grant will qualify for a GP visit card as the Carer's Support Grant is paid automatically to persons in receipt of Carer's Allowance or Carer's Benefit.

Home Help Service

 656. Deputy Matt Carthy Information on Matt Carthy Zoom on Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of persons who were allocated home help support in County Monaghan for each year since 2015 and to date in 2020, in tabular form; the number of home help hours allocated in County Monaghan for the same periods; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28248/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is an operational matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Tests

 657. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if Covid-19 testing centres in west County Cork will be reinstated. [28255/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Audiology Services

 658. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard J. Durkan Zoom on Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the steps he is taking to ensure that audiology services are minimally impacted by Covid-19 with particular reference to ensuring regular testing, as required; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28266/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

HSE Properties

 659. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if the HSE is willing to lease its property in Tipperary Town, County Tipperary to a person who would be interested in developing and operating a facility that would comprise a nursing home with a specialised dementia unit, a mental health facility with psychiatric beds and a centre to treat drug addiction; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28271/20]

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

Health Services

 660. Deputy Jennifer Murnane O'Connor Information on Jennifer Murnane O'Connor Zoom on Jennifer Murnane O'Connor asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly when a service (details supplied) in County Carlow will reopen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28273/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Departmental Funding

 661. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if funding will be made available to the disability sector, particularly a service (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28279/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities that 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.

Specialist disability services are provided by a range of organisations. Many organisations providing services for people with a disability are funded by the HSE on a contract for services basis, underpinned by sections 38 and 39 of the Health Act 2004. Service Level Agreements are set out between the HSE and the individual organisations. In some cases, services are delivered directly by the HSE.

As the Deputy's question deals with services funded by the HSE, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Consultant Contracts

 662. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan Information on Pádraig O'Sullivan Zoom on Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if the HSE has plans to recruit a paediatric gastroenterologist in the Cork area as currently no such service is provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28294/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.


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