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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 768-782
 Header Item Medical Cards
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Tests
 Header Item Mental Health Services
 Header Item Covid-19 Tests
 Header Item Speech and Language Therapy
 Header Item HSE Waiting Lists
 Header Item Physiotherapy Services
 Header Item Departmental Contracts
 Header Item Departmental Staff

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. 768-782

Medical Cards

 768. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he is considering changing the medical card payment process for general practitioners from a fixed annual payment per medical card holder to paying the GP per consultation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28846/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly General Practitioners are self-employed private practitioners, most of whom have contracts with the HSE to provide services under various public health schemes. Under the General Medical Services (GMS) contract, GPs are reimbursed for a range of services they provide to medical card and GP visit card holders. GPs are remunerated for these services primarily on a capitation basis, with a range of additional support payments and fees for specific items of service. Capitation payments provide certainty for GPs and for the state in relation to funding, and present a less burdensome administrative load on GPs and on the HSE than systems requiring claims for each individual service provided.

There are no plans at present to change how GPs are remunerated. However, the 2019 GP Agreement on GP contractual reform and service developments includes a commitment to undertake a strategic review of GP services within the lifetime of the Agreement; to examine how best to ensure the provision of GP services in Ireland for the future. The outcome of this review will inform future contractual changes, including the possibility of changes to the method of GP remuneration. Preparatory work for the review is beginning this year.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 769. Deputy Patricia Ryan Information on Patricia  Ryan Zoom on Patricia  Ryan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if longer notice will be given to businesses when announcing changes to Covid-19 restrictions to prevent unnecessary losses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28857/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I acknowledge the huge strain placed upon many business during the current pandemic. I am particularly conscious of the enormous impact of recent Level 3 measures on the hospitality sector, including in relation to potential losses relating to perishable goods when the measures come into effect. In making its decisions, Government is conscious of the need to balance advice from NPHET with broader societal and economic considerations.

However, as the Deputy is aware, the NPHET makes recommendations to Government on the basis of the prevailing epidemiological situation and this has been shown to change rapidly. The very nature of this virus does mean that quick and decisive action can need to be taken to break chains of transmission and to prevent the situation deteriorating further. These actions are taken to reduce the risk to public health and to protect the most vulnerable. We have seen during the first wave and again more recently that the growth rate of this disease, if mitigating actions aren't taken, is exponential so it important that actions are taken when needed in a timely manner.

Covid-19 Tests

 770. Deputy Patricia Ryan Information on Patricia  Ryan Zoom on Patricia  Ryan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of persons tested for Covid-19 in each residential centre for persons with a disability in the CHO7 area in the past month; the number of persons who tested positive for Covid-19 in each of these settings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28859/20]

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.

Mental Health Services

 771. Deputy Patricia Ryan Information on Patricia  Ryan Zoom on Patricia  Ryan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the steps he will take to provide funding to prevent the closure of the mental health charity (details supplied) in Newbridge, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28860/20]

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.

Covid-19 Tests

 772. Deputy Paul Kehoe Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly his plans to provide routine Covid-19 testing for persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28876/20]

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.

Speech and Language Therapy

 773. Deputy John Brady Information on John Brady Zoom on John Brady asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of wholetime equivalent speech and language therapists employed by the HSE for the catchment area of County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28878/20]

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

HSE Waiting Lists

 774. Deputy John Brady Information on John Brady Zoom on John Brady asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of adults awaiting speech and language therapy in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28879/20]

 775. Deputy John Brady Information on John Brady Zoom on John Brady asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of adults awaiting occupational therapy in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28880/20]

 777. Deputy John Brady Information on John Brady Zoom on John Brady asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of adults awaiting physiotherapy in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28882/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 774, 775 and 777 together.

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

Physiotherapy Services

 776. Deputy John Brady Information on John Brady Zoom on John Brady asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of wholetime equivalent physiotherapists employed by the HSE for the catchment area of County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28881/20]

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

  Question No. 777 answered with Question No. 774.

  Questions Nos. 778 to 780, inclusive, answered with Question No. 628.

Departmental Contracts

 781. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he has engaged a third-party company in each of the years 2017 to 2019 and to date in 2020 to conduct online and or social media monitoring and or provide reports on social media coverage of his Department; if so, the cost of same; and if the name of the social media platforms being monitored will be provided. [28919/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I can confirm that my Department did not engage a third party company to conduct online and/or social media monitoring of my Department for each of the years in question.

Departmental Staff

 782. 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 number of staff in his Department on sick leave between March and September by month in 2019 and to date 2020; the pay arrangements that exist for staff on sick leave for an extended period of time; the number of sick days accounted for by his Department over the period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28937/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The statistical information requested by the Deputy is set out below and relates to employees of the Department of Health.

MONTH YEAR No of Staff on Sick Leave No of Sick Leave Instances No of Sick Leave Days
01 - January 2019 84 94 612.4
  2020 77 87 565.44
         
02 - February 2019 73 78 485.61
  2020 77 83 535.16
         
03 - March 2019 52 58 318.25
  2020 40 42 509
         
04 - April 2019 43 45 458.16
  2020 12 12 281.75
         
05 - May 2019 56 57 472.73
  2020 14 14 242.5
         
06 - June 2019 37 38 395.25
  2020 13 13 228
         
07 - July 2019 53 60 524.2
  2020 18 19 245.5
         
08 - August 2019 58 61 611.33
  2020 12 13 168.75
         
09 - September 2019 73 80 594.55
  2020 12 13 111.91


  The Department of Health applies Circular 05/2018, Arrangements for Paid Sick Leave regarding the pay arrangements that exist for staff on sick leave for an extended period of time.


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