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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 723-737
 Header Item Addiction Treatment Services
 Header Item Addiction Treatment Services
 Header Item Mental Health Services
 Header Item Respite Care Services
 Header Item Home Help Service
 Header Item Home Help Service
 Header Item Covid-19 Tests
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Medical Records
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic

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. 723-737

Addiction Treatment Services

 723. 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 enhancing independent regulatory oversight and inspection on addiction treatment services, such as through HIQA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28685/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Frankie Feighan): Information on Frankie Feighan Zoom on Frankie Feighan The national drugs strategy, Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery has as an objective to attain better health and social outcomes for people who experience harm from substance misuse and, meeting their recovery and rehabilitation needs.

  The strategy contains a series of actions which aim to reduce waiting times, provide more equity of access to services around the country and remove potential barriers to accessing treatment by those with complex needs.

  The National Drug Treatment Reporting System records data on the incidence and prevalence of drug and alcohol treatment from all publicly funded drug and alcohol treatment services. In 2019, there were 10,664 cases treated for problem drug use, of which a third were new cases, and a further 7,546 cases treated for problem alcohol use, of which 44 per cent were new cases.

  The Department of Health has no jurisdiction over agencies that provide private addiction treatment services. There is currently no provision in legislation for the regulation or inspection of residential treatment or rehabilitation organisations that specialise in addiction.

  Organisations which provide addiction services and are funded by the HSE are required to meet minimum standards in the delivery of services across a range of criteria which form the basis of any service level agreement.

  I believe there is adequate monitoring and oversight of publicly funded drug and alcohol treatment services. I would advise anyone in need of treatment to access these publicly funded services.

Addiction Treatment Services

 724. 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 plans for reform and investment in addiction treatment services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28686/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Frankie Feighan): Information on Frankie Feighan Zoom on Frankie Feighan The national drug strategy, Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery, is the Government roadmap for addressing drug and alcohol use. A key objective in the strategy is to attain better health and social outcomes for people who experience harm from substance misuse and meet their recovery and rehabilitation needs.

  The HSE has developed a four tier person-centre model of rehabilitation based on the principle of a continuum of care, that allow the individual to access the range of supports they need to achieve their personal recovery goals. This integrated care pathway is the shared responsibility of a range of service providers.

  Improving access to drug and alcohol services and extending the range of options available is integrate to achieving better outcomes. The strategy contains 15 actions which aim to reduce waiting times, provide more equity of access to services around the country and remove potential barriers to accessing treatment by those with complex needs.

  The Department of Health provides over €130 million in funding to support the provision of drug and alcohol services by the HSE, voluntary drug and alcohol services and drug and alcohol task forces.

  In 2019, there were 10,664 cases treated for problem drug use, of which a third were new cases, and a further 7,546 cases treated for problem alcohol use, of which 44 per cent were new cases.

  Additional funding of €800,000 was provided to expand drug and alcohol services in 2020. This funding supports the expansion of addiction services for pregnant and post-natal women, the development of a community alcohol service in Galway and the provision of a residential treatment service for women and children in the mid-west region, among other measures. The full year costs for these additional services is over €2.1 million.

Covid-19 posed a major threat for people with drug addiction, especially for those who were homeless and those not in treatment. To address this risk, the HSE significantly improved access to opioid substitution treatment (OST) since January 2020. As a result, an additional 755 people were brought into treatment, an increase of 7 per cent.

  In line with the commitment in the Programme for Government, I want to ensure that improved access to OST is mainstreamed within the health services. The allocation of additional resources for this and other drug and alcohol treatment services will be considered as part of the Estimates process.

Mental Health Services

 725. Deputy Neasa Hourigan Information on Neasa Hourigan Zoom on Neasa Hourigan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly his plans to publish a Traveller and Roma mental health action plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28687/20]

 757. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if work has begun on the Traveller and Roma mental health action plan as per the programme for Government commitment; his plans to publish the plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28792/20]

 783. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if work has commenced on the Traveller and Roma mental health action plan as per the programme for Government commitment; when he intends to publish the plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28948/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Frankie Feighan): Information on Frankie Feighan Zoom on Frankie Feighan I propose to take Questions Nos. 725, 757 and 783 together.

  The national mental health policy, ‘Sharing the Vision’, makes a series of recommendations that will improve mental health outcomes for the whole community, including the Traveller and Roma community. ‘Sharing the Vision’ recognises the particular issues faced by different priority groups with respect to mental health and the policy will address these by implementing recommendations that are designed to individualise services to the needs of the user by taking account of his or her unique socio-economic and cultural background.

One of the priority groups specifically mentioned in “Sharing the Vision” is the Traveller community. Minister Butler (with responsibility for mental health and older people) recently met with Traveller and Roma representatives. Further discussions have also taken place between officials at the Department of Health and Traveller representatives regarding how the specific needs of the Traveller community will be met during the implementation of Sharing the Vision. It is envisaged that Traveller and Roma representation will engage in a significant way with Sharing the Vision’s National Implementation and Monitoring Committee to ensure that the implementation of ‘Sharing the Vision’ will maximise beneficial outcomes for Travellers and Roma.

Government policy strategy for improving the lives of Traveller and Roma communities is outlined in the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy. The strategy is a cross-departmental initiative and contains a set of specific actions aimed at improving the situation for Traveller and Roma communities in Ireland. The Strategy includes 10 actions relating to mental health and suicide among Travellers. There is also an action under NTRIS to implement a detailed action plan to address the specific health needs of Travellers, using a social determinants approach.

  It is envisaged that the mental health actions in NTRIS will be incorporated in the Traveller health action plan and will be aligned with the overall approach in Sharing the Vision. This will allow for an integrated and coordinated response to the specific health needs of Travellers, as outlined in NTRIS.

  Minister Butler is fully committed to providing the leadership and resources to improving mental health outcomes for Travellers and Roma, as part of an holistic response to the health needs of these social excluded groups.

Respite Care Services

 726. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the body to which a respite care centre (details supplied) can apply for funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28696/20]

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.

Home Help Service

 727. Deputy Charles Flanagan Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of persons in counties Laois and Offaly who were granted home help hours in 2020; if numbers are above or below the national average; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28699/20]

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.

Home Help Service

 728. Deputy Charles Flanagan Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if his attention has been drawn to the fact that CHO 8 is experiencing a long waiting time for approval and delivery of home help services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28700/20]

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.

Covid-19 Tests

 729. 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 cycles used in the PCT testing here for the detection of Covid-19; if he has concerns regarding the over-sensitivity of these tests; the steps he is taking to introduce more rapid testing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28704/20]

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

 730. 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 the status of an appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28712/20]

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

 731. 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 the status of an appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28713/20]

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.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 732. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly further to Parliamentary Question No. 319 of 29 September 2020, the amount of additional Covid-19 related Exchequer expenditure for 2021 for his Department and the breakdown by line items of this additional expenditure [28716/20]

 741. 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 estimated expenditure by his Department in 2021 compared to 2020, disaggregated by precommitted expenditure such as by demographics, PSSA and so on, Covid-19 related expenditure and other additional expenditure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28738/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 732 and 741 together.

  The level of funding available for my Department is being considered as part of the national Estimates and budgetary process for 2021 which is currently underway.

  These discussions are still progressing and until they are concluded it would not be appropriate for me to anticipate the outcome.

Medical Records

 733. Deputy Paul Murphy Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he will request that St. James's Hospital expedite the provision of medical records by the hospital as required by a patient for Tallaght Hospital and as requested under freedom of information by the patient concerned (details supplied) [28723/20]

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

 734. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if both Gorey and Thomastown district hospitals had been designated as Covid-19 step-down facilities; if the step-down designation of both Gorey and Thomastown district hospitals has been removed, when this occurred; if the two hospitals have reverted to their pre-Covid-19 operation status and use; the reason St. Brigid's Hospital has not reverted to its pre-Covid-19 status in the same manner as the similar facilities outlined; when St. Brigid's will have its Covid-19 designation removed and begin resumption of normal operation at the hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28728/20]

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.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 735. 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 both Gorey and Thomastown district hospitals had been designated as Covid-19 step-down facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28729/20]

 736. 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 step-down designation of both Gorey and Thomastown district hospitals has been removed; when this occurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28730/20]

 737. 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 Gorey and Thomastown hospitals have reverted to their pre-Covid-19 operational status and use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28731/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Mary Butler): Information on Mary Butler Zoom on Mary Butler I propose to take Questions Nos. 735 to 737, inclusive, together.

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


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