Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 280-294
 Header Item Occupational Therapy
 Header Item Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
 Header Item Respite Care Services
 Header Item Hospice Services
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Departmental Communications
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
 Header Item Cross-Border Health Initiatives
 Header Item General Practitioner Services
 Header Item Cancer Services

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 999 No. 4
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 58 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 280-294

Occupational Therapy

 280. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Sean Sherlock Zoom on Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if a mechanism in which families that are forced to go private for assessments and occupational therapy due to significant delays in the public system can claim money spent back will be introduced. [30789/20]

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.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

 281. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Sean Sherlock Zoom on Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the average cost per child of assessment of need. [30790/20]

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.

Respite Care Services

 282. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly when normal respite services will resume in a facility in County Kerry (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30803/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Anne Rabbitte): Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte 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.

Hospice Services

 283. Deputy Matt Shanahan Information on Matt Shanahan Zoom on Matt Shanahan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if a notice has issued on the eTenders website in respect of the tender issued for the building of a second Waterford cath lab; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30811/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects, they have advised that the tender for the new cath lab for University Hospital Waterford issued on 30th September. Tenders are not available to view publicly on eTenders, as it is a restricted competition confined to pre-qualified contractors, in compliance with government/OGP guidelines.

   The tender process for this project is being run in line with public procurement guidelines which the HSE must adhere to and the process is being delivered as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 284. 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 banks will be added to the list of workplaces in which the wearing of face masks is mandatory (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30818/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I would like to assure the Deputy that the public health advice relating to Covid-19, including that relating to face coverings, is kept under continuous review by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

  As the Deputy is no doubt aware, a person, without reasonable excuse, must wear a face covering when using public transport, in retail outlets, shops and shopping centres, in other indoor spaces such as libraries, cinemas and cinema complexes, theatres, concert halls, bingo halls, museums, businesses carrying out cosmetic nail care or nail styling, hair care or hair styling, tattoo and piercing services, travel agents and tour operators, laundries and dry cleaners and licensed bookmakers.

  The relevant Regulations, which remain in place until 9 November, 2020, are -

  - Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (Face Coverings on Public Transport) Regulations 2020 (S.I. No. 405/2020),

  - Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (Face Coverings in certain premises and businesses) Regulations 2020 (S.I No. 404/2020),

  The Deputy may wish to note that the wearing of face coverings are not mandatory in premises such as bank branches/credit unions/post offices for both public health and security reasons. By their nature, these locations are controlled environments where social distancing for members of the public should be attainable. There are also security requirements in terms of ensuring the identities of people entering a financial institution.

  The current advice in relation to face coverings is available at -https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/face-masks-disposable-gloves.html and http://www.gov.ie/facecoverings/

Covid-19 Pandemic

 285. 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 arrangements that have been made to move patients with suspected Covid-19 from islands in order to cause minimum risk of infecting others; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30824/20]

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.

Departmental Communications

 286. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the contacts he and his Department have had with the private hospital association since he took office (details supplied). [30827/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The information requested by the Deputy is being collated by Department officials and a deferred reply will be submitted within ten working days.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 287. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if surgery will be expedited for a person (details supplied).  [30842/20]

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 Waiting Lists

 288. Deputy Darren O'Rourke Information on Darren O'Rourke Zoom on Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the date on which a person (details supplied) will receive a hospital appointment. [30849/20]

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.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

 289. Deputy Johnny Mythen Information on Johnny Mythen Zoom on Johnny Mythen asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if a mental health unit for children and young adults will be provided for Counties Wexford and Waterford (details supplied); the number of adolescent mental health units in operation Counties Wexford and Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30850/20]

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.

Cross-Border Health Initiatives

 290. Deputy Paul Kehoe Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the options available for a British pensioner here to access the cross-border treatment directive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30851/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Under the terms of the Cross Border Directive it is a person's Member State of affiliation which is responsible for reimbursement of the cost of treatment. According to Article 7(1) of the Directive, a persons Member State of affiliation is the State which would be responsible for providing them with healthcare under Article 2 of Regulation 883/2004. However, Article &(1) must be interpreted with Article 7(2)(b) of the Directive. This Article states that pensioners whose Member State of origin is not listed in Annex IV to Regulation 883/2004 (the UK is not listed) will have their healthcare reimbursed by the “Member State of affiliation” (i.e. Member State of residence under Regulation 883/2004) except in the following particular cases: firstly, where the healthcare is received in the Member State of origin (in this case the UK) and secondly, where it is not subject to any prior authorisation scheme. In these case it will be the Member State of origin (in this case the UK) who is responsible for assuming the cost of healthcare.

In Ireland only one treatment, enzyme replacement, is subject to prior authorisation and, therefore, with the exception of enzyme replacement, it is the UK which is the pensioners Member State of affiliation and the State which will be responsible for reimbursing them. Accordingly, they should seek the advice of the UK as to their options for treatment under the Cross Border Directive.

General Practitioner Services

 291. Deputy Emer Higgins Information on Emer Higgins Zoom on Emer Higgins asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the status of plans to introduce free GP care for children under 12 years of age; and the timeline for the phased roll out of same. [30853/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The Government is committed to increasing access to GP care without charges for children, an important healthcare measure that will remove a potentially prohibitive cost barrier to accessing GP care and will help to improve children’s health as they develop.

The Health (General Practitioner Service and Alteration of Criteria for Eligibility) Act 2020 was signed into law in August. This Act provides, amongst other things, for the phased expansion of GP care without fees to all children aged 12 years and under. The initial stage of this phased expansion will be the provision of GP care without fees to all children aged between 6 and 8.

The appropriate date for commencing the expansion remains under consideration in light of COVID-19 and the additional pressures the expansion might place on general practice in that context and in anticipation of the usual increase in demand for healthcare services over the winter period. This date will be determined in consultation with the IMO. It is important to ensure that any additional pressures placed on general practice will not limit its capacity to meet the needs of all patients in the community.

Cancer Services

 292. Deputy Colm Burke Information on Colm Burke Zoom on Colm Burke asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the governance the National Cancer Control Programme has in place to ensure regional and geographical equity of access to services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30856/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Successive National Cancer Strategies have embraced the concept of cancer control that emerged internationally and that included recommendations in relation to the organisation, governance, quality assurance and accreditation across the continuum of cancer care. The National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) formulates and implements a whole of population, integrated and cohesive approach to cancer.

  In line with the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026, the NCCP has the broad objective of having models of care in place that ensure that patients receive the required care, in a timely fashion, from an expert clinical team in the optimal location. The concept of a continuum of care underpins the approach to patient services, from prevention, early diagnosis and evidence-based, high quality patient-centred treatment, to appropriate follow-up and support

  The model of care for cancer treatment incorporates 8 designated cancer centres, each serving a defined population and geographic area. The eight designated cancer centres are:

  - St. Vincent’s University Hospital

  - St. James’s Hospital

  - Mater Misericordiae University Hospital

  - Beaumont Hospital

  - Cork University Hospital

  - University Hospital Limerick

  - University Hospital Waterford

  - University Hospital Galway (with a satellite Symptomatic Breast Disease Clinic in Letterkenny University Hospital)

  Symptomatic Breast Disease Clinics and Rapid Access Clinics for lung and prostate cancer operate in each of the designated cancer centres. Personnel in these clinics work to ensure that patients with suspected cancer are seen quickly and that key performance indicators (KPIs) are in place to monitor performance.   Performance is reviewed by the NCCP on a monthly basis.

  The centralisation of all surgical oncology into the 8 designated cancer centres is an objective of the National Cancer Strategy. This is based on clear international evidence that patients who are operated on by surgeons who carry out higher volumes of surgery in specialist centres, that themselves have high volumes, achieve better outcomes. At present, approximately 83% of primary cancer surgery is undertaken in designated cancer centres. Plans are in place, and work is being undertaken, to achieve full centralisation of all cancer surgery in the designated centres during the period of the Strategy to the benefit of patients nationwide.

  Radiation Oncology is provided in 5 public hospital in Dublin, Cork and Galway. Such services are also made available to public patients through private facilities in Waterford and Limerick. Furthermore, through a cross-border Service Level Agreement, patients from the North West can access these services at the North West Cancer Centre, Altnagelvin Area Hospital, Derry.

  Medical Oncology is provided in 26 Hospitals across the country. This enables patients to receive their chemotherapy as close to home as possible.

  Across all services, the NCCP issue guidelines for patient care (worked up in consultation with clinicians on the ground) and follow up through monitoring to ensure that standards are properly and uniformly maintained. Support is provided as needed, and any issues arising are followed up in a speedy way.

   The NCCP has contributed greatly to the development of cancer services throughout Ireland, to the continuing improvements in outcomes for patients and to the greatly improved quality of life of many following their cancer treatment.

  Question No. 293 answered with Question No. 267.

  Question No. 294 answered with Question No. 254.


Last Updated: 20/01/2021 16:57:07 First Page Previous Page Page of 58 Next Page Last Page