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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 708-722
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Home Care Packages
 Header Item Hospital Facilities
 Header Item Hospital Facilities
 Header Item Hospital Facilities
 Header Item EU Directives
 Header Item Addiction Treatment Services
 Header Item Drug and Alcohol Task Forces
 Header Item Health Services
 Header Item Ambulance Service
 Header Item Diabetes Strategy
 Header Item Health Services

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. 708-722

Covid-19 Pandemic

 708. 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 publish details of the reason behind the requirement for face coverings in schools, including any international evidence or risk assessments considered by NPHET; if there is an ongoing review of the effectiveness of the policy; the stage in the national framework on living with Covid-19 it is expected the requirement would be lifted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28576/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I can assure the Deputy that the Public Health advice relating to COVID-19 is kept under continuous review by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). In drafting our national guidance, Irish stakeholders including Government Departments and the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre, are informed by the international scientific evidence, and guidance produced by international bodies including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). WHO and ECDC guidance is formulated in the context of considered appraisal of the international experience and accumulating scientific evidence in relation to COVID-19. The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) reviews international developments as a component of its overall examination of the evolving epidemiology of the disease.

The aim of face coverings is to reduce the spread of infection by acting as a source control to stop the spread of infection by the person wearing the mask (including those who do not know they are infected, such as those with no symptoms) or to protect the wearer from droplet splashes or inhaling airborne contaminants including small (aerosol) and large particle droplets. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of face coverings by persons in various community settings has been recommended by an increasing number of countries. In Ireland, cloth face coverings are currently mandatory on public transport and in a range of indoor settings, including shops and other retail outlets. Additionally, cloth face coverings are recommended in situations where physical distancing may not be possible. In both the primary and post-primary setting, it is a requirement that staff wear a face covering when a physical distance of 2m from other staff or students cannot be maintained. Children in the post-primary setting should also wear a face covering when a physical distance of 2m from other staff or students cannot be maintained. It is not recommended that children attending primary school wear face-coverings. The requirements in relation to use of face coverings in schools are clearly outlined in the sectoral guidance available on the ‘Back to School’ webpage at gov.ie.

The WHO in their Guidance on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19 advise that the general public should be encouraged to use medical and non-medical masks in public settings, including schools. This advice can be found at www.who.int/publications/i/item/advice-on-the-use-of-masks-in-the-community-during-home-care-and-in-healthcare-settings-in-the-context-of-the-novel-coronavirus-(2019-ncov)-outbreak

The ECDC advise that “in secondary schools, the use of face masks is recommended for both students and adults” and that “The use of masks should be seen as a complementary measure, rather than a single measure to prevent transmission within schools”.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has also issued Interim Guidance on Use of Face-coverings in childcare and educational settings to provide advice for childcare and educational facilities regarding the use of face-coverings for staff and children in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This Guidance can be found at www.gov.ie/en/publication/532b6-health-advice-provided-by-the-health-protection-surveillance-centre-hpsc-for-the-safe-reopening-of-schools-and-educational-facilities/.

Home Care Packages

 709. Deputy Réada Cronin Information on Réada Cronin Zoom on Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of home help hours and home care packages provided nationally in each of the past five years; the number of such hours in north County Kildare in the same time frame; the cost of such provision to the Exchequer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28587/20]

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

Hospital Facilities

 710. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he will provide a report on the refurbishment works at Kanturk Community Hospital; the time frame for their completion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28594/20]

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 in relation to this matter.

Hospital Facilities

 711. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he will provide a report on the refurbishment works at St. Joseph's Community Hospital, Millstreet; the time frame for its completion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28595/20]

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 in relation to this matter.

Hospital Facilities

 712. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he will provide a report on the refurbishment works at Macroom Community Hospital; the time frame for their completion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28596/20]

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 in relation to this matter.

EU Directives

 713. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the cost to his Department to date of all fines paid by Ireland for non-transposition of EU directives into Irish law; the breakdown, by directive, of the lump sum cost and the daily cost of each fine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28614/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The Department has not incurred any costs in this area to date.

  Question No. 714 answered with Question No. 705.

Addiction Treatment Services

 715. Deputy Thomas Gould Information on Thomas Gould Zoom on Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly further to Parliamentary Question No. 929 of 29 September 2020, if there is an addiction or recovery policy unit in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28630/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Frankie Feighan): Information on Frankie Feighan Zoom on Frankie Feighan The Government’s strategic response to addressing drug and alcohol problems in Ireland is set out in Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery – a health led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017-2025.

  The Drugs Policy and Social Inclusion Unit is responsible for drugs policy in the Department of Health.

   The unit has the following roles:

  - to coordinate the implementation of the national drugs strategy

  - to oversee the funding allocated through the Department of Health for drug and alcohol services

  - to develop policy responses to changing patterns of drug use and emerging issues

  - to support the national oversight structures for the national drugs strategy

  - to represent Ireland at EU and international forums on drugs policy

  - to analyse the implications of research and evaluation for drugs policy and planning

  - to advise the Minister on drugs policy.

Drug and Alcohol Task Forces

 716. Deputy Ged Nash Information on Ged Nash Zoom on Ged Nash asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if additional resources will be provided to local and regional drugs task forces, in particular to deal with the impact of Covid-19, in budget 2021 and in line with the commitment in the programme for Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28656/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Frankie Feighan): Information on Frankie Feighan Zoom on Frankie Feighan The Covid-19 pandemic has created a time of uncertainty and anxiety for everyone and particularly for those who are affected by drug and alcohol addiction. The restructuring of services, social distancing measures and self-isolation can be particularly difficult for those who are trying to remain drug or alcohol free and for those who are in recovery.

The Government plan for living with Covid-19 details how non-Covid health and social care services will be resumed, especially during the challenging winter months. This includes planning for the safe resumption of drug and alcohol services, including community-based services, residential programmes and recovery support groups.

The Department has set up a working group with drug and alcohol service providers to develop a 'Framework for the Restoration of Drug and Alcohol Services', in a planned and appropriate manner in line with public health advice. The working group has identified issues on which guidance and supports are required.

I have approved additional funding to support the resumption of drug and alcohol services including the adaptation of services, premises, online meetings and personal protective equipment.

I recently met with representatives of drug and alcohol task forces to discuss the commitment in the Programme for Government to support targeted initiatives addressing drug and alcohol misuse. The allocation of additional resources for this purpose will be considered as part of the Estimates process.

Health Services

 717. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Zoom on Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if a vaccine or medical procedure can be administered on a mature minor, that is, over 16 years of age with an intellectual disability without the consent of the parents following the enactment of recent laws. [28666/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Recent changes in the Regulations in relation to the administration of the seasonal influenza vaccine have focussed on technical changes required in relation to the administration of vaccines by pharmacists, and in relation to the relevant fees for GPs and pharmacists. There have been no changes in relation to the requirements for consent.

Ambulance Service

 718. Deputy Pa Daly Information on Pa Daly Zoom on Pa Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of employees of the national ambulance service; and the number on sick leave currently by county in tabular form. [28677/20]

 719. Deputy Pa Daly Information on Pa Daly Zoom on Pa Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the overall budget assigned to the running of officer response vehicles in the national ambulance service. [28678/20]

 720. Deputy Pa Daly Information on Pa Daly Zoom on Pa Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if a capacity review has been carried out in the national ambulance service; and if are there plans to base an ambulance in Killorglin, County Kerry, or Abbeyfeale, County Limerick. [28679/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 718 to 720, inclusive, together.

  As these are service matters I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Diabetes Strategy

 721. 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 his plans to make the FreeStyle Libre device available for type 1 diabetes patients through the long-term illness scheme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28681/20]

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

Health Services

 722. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly his views on legislating to allow nurses to prescribe controlled drugs and opiate substitution therapy, for example, methadone and buprenorphine, as was previously done on controlled drugs in areas such as palliative care; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28684/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly During the last quarter of 2019, and following a request from the HSE, my Department commenced an evaluation process of the benefits or otherwise of introducing nurse prescribing of opiate substitution therapy (OST). Since then a number of stakeholder consultations have taken place. This work was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic and will be resumed as soon as possible.

Should this evaluation conclude that there is a service user benefit to be gained by enabling nurses to prescribe OST, my Department will consider what changes might be required to Schedule 8 of The Misuse of Drugs Regulations, 2017. This extended scope could then be included as part of the HSE's National Nurse and Midwife Medicinal Product Prescribing Policy.


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