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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 693-707
 Header Item Medical Aids and Appliances
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Wards of Court
 Header Item Health Services Funding
 Header Item Physiotherapy Services
 Header Item General Practitioner Services
 Header Item Home Help Service
 Header Item Medicinal Products
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Medicinal Products
 Header Item Medical Cards
 Header Item Disability Services Provision
 Header Item Home Care Packages

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. 693-707

Medical Aids and Appliances

 693. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if a custom-made orthotic device will be provided to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28501/20]

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

 694. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if an earlier appointment will be arranged for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28503/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly It is recognised that waiting times for scheduled appointments and procedures have been impacted as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic the HSE had to take measures to defer most scheduled care activity in March, April, and May of this year. This was to ensure patient safety and that all appropriate resources were made available for Covid-19 related activity and time-critical essential work. This decision was in line with the advice issued by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) in accordance with the advice of the World Health Organisation.

The resumption of services from June onwards has allowed for increased activity, with the HSE utilising innovative methods including telemedicine to facilitate patient appointments. Patient safety remains at the forefront of service resumption. To ensure services are re-introduced in a safe, clinically-aligned and prioritised way, hospitals are following HSE clinical guidelines and protocols which has resulted in reduced capacity and activity

The HSE continues to optimise productivity through alternative work practices such the use of alternative settings including private hospitals, community facilities and alternative outpatient settings.

The National Treatment Purchase Fund has also recommenced arranging treatment in both private and public hospitals for clinically suitable patients who have been waiting for long periods on public hospital waiting lists.

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 is a standardised approach used by the HSE to manage scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures. It sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists and was developed in 2014 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.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Hospital Appointments Status

 695. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if an appointment at the ENT department will be arranged for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28504/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly It is recognised that waiting times for scheduled appointments and procedures have been impacted as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Scheduled care activity was significantly impacted by the necessary decision to defer most elective care appointments and procedures in March, April, and May. The resumption of services from June onwards has allowed for increased activity, and the National Treatment Purchase Fund has recommenced arranging treatment in both private and public hospitals for clinically suitable patients who have been waiting for long periods on public hospital waiting lists.

The monitoring of scheduled care activity and waiting list figures is a key function of the Department of Health. Weekly meetings between Departmental officials, the NTPF and HSE ensure that governance and performance issues are continually monitored. This includes weekly analysis of commissioning activity undertaken by the NTPF, associated HSE insourcing activity, and the review of any issues raised by either the HSE and NTPF in respect of waiting list management and scheduled care activity.

As part of the governance arrangements for the management of NTPF funded outsourced patient treatment, public patients remain on the waiting list of the referring hospital until treatment is completed through the NTPF and the patient is discharged. As a result, in relation to the particular query raised, I have asked the Health Service Executive to raise the issue and respond to the Deputy directly.

In terms of accessing treatment under the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF), the NTPF works with public hospitals to offer and provide the funding for 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. The key criteria of the NTPF is the prioritisation of the longest waiting patients first. While the NTPF identifies patients eligible for NTPF treatment, it is solely on the basis of their time spent on the Inpatient/Daycase Waiting List. The clinical suitability of the patient to avail of NTPF funded treatment is determined by the public hospital.

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 is a standardised approach used by the HSE to manage scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures. It sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists and was developed in 2014 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.

Wards of Court

 696. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the professional fees (details supplied) paid to facilitate ward of court applications brought by the Health Service Executive in each of the years 2017 to 2019 and to date in 2020. [28507/20]

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

Health Services Funding

 697. Deputy Kathleen Funchion Information on Kathleen Funchion Zoom on Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the funding that adult day services has received to date (details supplied). [28508/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Anne Rabbitte): Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte As part of the HSE’s 2020 National Service Plan, funding of €484.257m was allocated to adult day services in 2020. School-leavers who require a day service have been introduced to a new service during September and ring-fenced resources of €12.5 million have been provided to facilitate this, also as part of the National Service Plan.

As part of the overall effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 and in line with public health advice, day service locations closed in March. In August and September, services began to reopen, with most services operating at reduced capacity, due to public health advice and infection control protocols.

Minister Donnelly and I recently announced that €10 million is being made available in 2020 to support the resumption of day services and enhanced home support services for disability service users. This funding is being drawn down from the National Action Plan on COVID-19.

Of this money, €7.5 million will increase disability day services by one day a week for over 14,000 adults, whilst €2.5 million will provide 210 intensive support packages to enable young adults with complex or high support needs to remain at home and in their communities. The packages are person-centred and tailored to the needs of the individual and their families.

Further funding requirements for 2021 will be considered as part of the Estimates process.

Physiotherapy Services

 698. Deputy Kathleen Funchion Information on Kathleen Funchion Zoom on Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly when moneys paid by a person (details supplied) will be reimbursed. [28510/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Anne Rabbitte): Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte Monies have been reimbursed to this person in respect of their treatment, from the date that the person first made contact with the HSE concerning this matter. The Deputy will appreciate that it is not appropriate from a governance perspective, to retrospectively approve reimbursement.

General Practitioner Services

 699. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if additional staff including general practitioners will be deployed to Balbriggan primary care centre in view of the long waiting times for general practitioners and medical services in the town; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28532/20]

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.

  Question No. 700 answered with Question No. 685.

Home Help Service

 701. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of home helps that have retired from the HSE since 2008; the number of new home helps that have been employed in the same period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28535/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy on this operational matter.

Medicinal Products

 702. Deputy Michael Lowry Information on Michael Lowry Zoom on Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if his attention has been drawn to the decision by the HSE to cap monthly quantities of vital lifesaving prescribed products to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary to treat maple syrup urine disorder; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28563/20]

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

 703. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of Covid-19 related deaths reported in August and September 2020 that occurred in a hospital setting; the other settings in which these deaths occurred; the number of deaths that occurred in nursing homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28564/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I have asked the HSE to respond to the deputy directly.

Medicinal Products

 704. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the steps he will take to ensure greater use in prescribing generic and biosimilar medicines; the estimated extra saving envisaged next year by the increased use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28568/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The Department of Health is fully supportive of domestic policies that maximise efficiency in our medicines usage. The HSE is actively engaged in implementing effective policy levers across a number of domains and under several initiatives, including programmes under the Acute Hospitals Drugs Management Programme (AHDMP), the Medicines Management Programme (MMP), and within the Primary Care Eligibility & Reimbursement Service (PCERS).

Our commitment to generic medicines was demonstrated in the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013 whereby the Act provided for the introduction of a system of generic substitution and reference pricing. The Act permits pharmacists to substitute medicines prescribed, provided they have been designated as safely interchangeable by the Health Products Regulatory Authority. Reference pricing involves the setting of a common reimbursement price, or reference price, for a group of interchangeable medicines, and this is the price that the HSE will reimburse to pharmacies for all medicines in this group, regardless of the individual medicines’ price.

In terms of biosimilar medicines, the HSE's Acute Hospitals Drugs Management Programme (AHDMP) has a biosimilar strategy in place since 2017. This is making considerable progress using a collaborative to bring about changes in prescribing practice.

In addition, the HSE Medicines Management Programme completed an evaluation process in 2019 for the identification of the best-value biological (BVB) medicines for TNF-α inhibitors under the High-Tech Drug arrangements.

In June 2019, the HSE introduced a system of gain-share to encourage the prescribing of the BVB medicines which has been largely successful in increasing uptake of these medicines. As of September 2020, at least €42.5m of biosimilar savings are expected to be delivered in 2020.

In relation to your specific data requests, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly as they have responsibility for this area.

Medical Cards

 705. Deputy Paul McAuliffe Information on Paul  McAuliffe Zoom on Paul  McAuliffe asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly when the medical card threshold for persons aged over 70 years will be increased. [28570/20]

 714. Deputy Cathal Crowe Information on Cathal Crowe Zoom on Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly when the increased eligibility guidelines for medical cards for persons over 70 years of age announced in Budget 2020 will be enacted. [28622/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 705 and 714 together.

  The Health (General Practitioner Service and Alteration of Criteria for Eligibility) Bill 2020, enacted on 2nd 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 November 1st   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.

Disability Services Provision

 706. Deputy Cormac Devlin Information on Cormac Devlin Zoom on Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if his attention has been drawn to the case of children (details supplied); if he will request an urgent case conference to discuss the health, services and support that are required for these children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28574/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Anne Rabbitte): Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte The Programme for Government, Our Shared Future,recognises the need to improve services for both children and adults with disabilities through better implementation and by working together across Government in a better way.

   The Government commits to prioritising early diagnosis and access to services for children and ensuring that the most effective interventions are provided for each child, to guarantee the best outcomes.

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

Home Care Packages

 707. Deputy Cormac Devlin Information on Cormac Devlin Zoom on Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he will request the HSE to issue guidelines to home care service providers that will ensure clients do not lose out if a carer cannot make an appointment due to unforeseen circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28575/20]

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


Last Updated: 07/04/2021 15:30:15 First Page Previous Page Page of 120 Next Page Last Page