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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 742-769
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Pharmacy Regulations
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item General Medical Services Scheme
 Header Item Mental Health Services
 Header Item Hospital Services
 Header Item General Practitioner Services
 Header Item Service Level Agreements
 Header Item Home Care Packages
 Header Item Eating Disorders
 Header Item Drugs Payment Scheme
 Header Item Treatment Abroad Scheme
 Header Item Health Products Regulatory Authority

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1004 No. 7
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 112 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 742-769

Vaccination Programme

 742. 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 number of Covid-19 vaccines delivered and the expected deliveries for the remaining of quarter 1 by basis of delivery, that is, weekly, fortnightly and so on and by producer, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11106/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Ireland is working as part of the EU to secure a safe and stable supply of Covid-19 vaccinations and expects to receive a total of 1.25 million doses of the three currently approved vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca) before end March 2021.

Ireland is currently above the EU average with about 2.8% of our population fully vaccinated and 8.3 doses administered per 100 of our population. Vaccines continue to be administered very quickly after their arrival into the country, although supply is currently limited by a number of factors including manufacturing constraints. Further significant progress will be made over the coming months, as additional quantities of vaccine supplies arrive into the country and more vaccines are approved, which will substantially increase capacity to administer vaccines and reach broader population coverage.

  Question No. 743 answered with Question No. 709.

  Question No. 744 answered with Question No. 736.

Vaccination Programme

 745. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the position regarding discussions with an organisation (details supplied) regarding the offer from vets to assist with the Covid-19 vaccination programme when it comes to the stage that the supply of vaccine increases and the programme increases in pace; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11110/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The HSE are building and deploying its workforce in order to be prepared for the requirements associated with rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine programme.

  The vaccine rollout is being conducted on a 7-day week basis and to date, more than 8,600 staff have received training to operate as vaccinators. To support the expanded immunisation programme the HSE launched a vaccinator recruitment campaign last week.

  GPs, Pharmacists, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and many healthcare professionals, will have a role to play in the vaccination programme.

  In addition, on 23 February 2021, I signed the Medicinal Products (Prescription and Control of Supply) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2021. The purpose of these amending Regulations is to add registered optometrists and registered dentists to the list of professionals who may supply and administer Covid-19 vaccinations.

  It is not intended that veterinarians will be called upon to participate as vaccinators in the programme at this time.

  Question No. 746 answered with Question No. 736.

Pharmacy Regulations

 747. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan Information on Cian O'Callaghan Zoom on Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly when the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest cuts made to pharmacies will be reversed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11112/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I wish to fully acknowledge that community pharmacy has played a pivotal role in responding to the health needs of the public during the COVID-19 crisis. It is recognised that community pharmacists have ensured the continued availability of a professional, accessible service for the public and have successfully managed to alleviate the worries and concerns of the population around continuity of medicine supply in the face of great uncertainty.

The regulations to which the Deputy refers, were made under section 9 of the FEMPI Act 2009 and these were set to expire at the end of 2019. It was therefore necessary for my predecessor to enact new legislation under the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017, in order to maintain a statutory basis for contractor payments and to prescribe the fees payable from that date.

The previous Government gave a commitment to commence a strategic review of the role of community pharmacists and to engage with the Irish Pharmaceutical Union to develop revised contractual terms. It is my intention to honour that commitment as the existing GMS pharmacy contract is substantially outdated. It has not kept pace with developments that have taken place over the course of recent years including the increasing emphasis on maximising the proportion of people’s healthcare needs met in primary care, interdisciplinary collaboration and the skillset that pharmacists have by virtue of their education and training.

The comprehensive review of the pharmacy contract will address the role to be played by community pharmacy in the context of Sláintecare. It will consider all aspects of pharmacy service provision including delivery of a multi-disciplinary model of service delivery for patients, ensuring clarity of roles and achieving optimum value for money. However, any publicly funded pharmacy service expansion should address unmet public healthcare needs, improve access to existing public health services or provide better value for money or patient outcomes.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 748. 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 nursing home visitation guidelines will be revised in relation to situations in which both the visitor and the resident have received their full Covid-19 vaccination; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11116/21]

 797. Deputy Seán Haughey Information on Seán Haughey Zoom on Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly when family visits to nursing homes can recommence given that the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine for these residents is almost complete; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11325/21]

 812. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan Information on Jim O'Callaghan Zoom on Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if visits by family members to residents of nursing homes who have been vaccinated can now be permitted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11355/21]

 813. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if visiting restrictions must remain in place for nursing home residents in cases in which all residents and staff have been fully vaccinated; if he has plans to amend this restriction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11358/21]

 886. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly his views on whether it is appropriate to relax further the visiting opportunities for residents of nursing homes who have been isolated for a long time given the Covid-19 vaccination programme in nursing homes has been completed; and if he will consider the merit in considering the vaccination of one visitor per resident to make visiting nursing homes safer. [11675/21]

 985. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he has explored the way in which visitation guidelines can be updated and reviewed to benefit residents' health and well-being following the successful roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine in nursing homes and long-term care facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12030/21]

 986. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if the review of the HPSC guidelines regarding visits to nursing homes and long-term care facilities has been completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12031/21]

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. 748, 797, 812, 813, 886, 985 and 986 together.

  The impact of COVID-19 on society in general and especially those living in nursing homes has been considerable and this remains a very difficult time for nursing home residents and their families. The importance of continued social interaction of residents and their families cannot be overstated and every effort should be made, in line with public health advice, to ensure that these interactions continue, including through window visits.

  Notwithstanding this, it is also important to be cognisant of the wider epidemiological situation and the risks associated with same. On the 19th November, the European Centre for Disease Control published its latest risk assessment with regard to long-term care facilities. It highlights that the probability of COVID-19 introduction into a long-term care facility depends on the level of COVID-19 circulation in the community, with a higher risk associated with higher incidence rates in the community.

  Data indicates that 155 nursing homes are actively dealing with a COVID-19 Outbreak. We continue to see new outbreaks being notified with on average, approximately one new outbreak per day being notified in the week up to 27th February. Noting that on 27th February approx. 600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been reported, the level of risk, including to residents of nursing homes remains high. The public health advice remains clear as noted in the statement from the National Public Health Emergency Team on 24th February “Given the increased transmissibility of the virus now, we must continue to limit our social contacts and do all we can to starve this disease of opportunities to spread”.

  Nursing home providers are ultimately responsible for the safe care of their residents. Under Regulation 11 of the Health Act 2007 (Care and Welfare of Residents in Designated Centres for Older People) Regulations 2013 it is the legal responsibility of each registered provider to make arrangements for a resident to receive visitors, having regard to any risks that may present for the resident or other residents. Public health guidance has been developed in order to assist and support providers in this regard.

  I recently wrote to all nursing home providers, through HIQA’s communication portal, to emphasise the importance of adopting a holistic and person-centred approach, noting the important role that visiting, social connections and communication with family and friends has in the context of residents’ overall health and wellbeing. The importance of ensuring that visits take place to the greatest extent possible, in line with public health guidance and risk assessments was reiterated and providers were encouraged to frequently communicate with residents and families on the matter of visiting and to respond to phone to calls by family members, in so far as is practicable, given the constraints on staff.

  The Government’s revised plan, COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021 - The Path Ahead, published on 23rd February, recognises that the challenge of balancing protective health measures and normal living has been particularly important in the context of visitations to long-term residential care settings (LTRC). LTRC visiting guidance has remained under ongoing review throughout the pandemic.

  In light of the advanced stage of rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in LTRCs for both residents and staff, the NPHET (the National Public Health Emergency Team) has requested that the HSE progress a process for considering the scope and application of LTRC visiting restrictions in the context of the Framework of Restrictive Measures, having regard to international and national evidence, the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and the level of disease in the community. The HSE has commenced this process.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 749. 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 nursing homes are being reimbursed for antigen tests deployed on site under the Covid-19 temporary assistance payment scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11117/21]

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.

  Question No. 750 answered with Question No. 736.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 751. 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 he is strategically targeting resources to combat Covid-19 in the areas that have the most persistently high rates of the virus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11119/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As you will be aware, the public health restrictions at level 5 of the Government's Framework Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19 will remain in place until 5th April 2021, when a further review will be conducted. The Framework continues to provide an appropriate mechanism to guide decision-making, and it will continue to be supplemented by more detailed sectoral guidance in relation to measures that apply at each level of the Framework.

  On 23 February, 2021, the Government published COVID-19 Resilience & Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead which sets out how in-school education and childcare services will be reinstated in a phased manner from 1 March, with staggered return throughout March to be concluded after the Easter break on 12 April. Information on the revised plan is available here – https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/c4876-covid-19-resilience-and-recovery-2021-the-path-ahead/?referrer=http://www.gov.ie/ThePathAhead/.

  The objectives of this revised plan are as follows:

  - To make steady progress, starting with childcare and schools, while avoiding a further wave of disease and re-imposition of restrictions.

  - To protect the most vulnerable by an efficient rollout of the vaccination programme.

  - To remain vigilant and agile regarding the uncertainties in the face of new variants and to capitalise on emerging evidence on available vaccines.

  - To lay the foundations for the full recovery of social life, public services and the economy.

  The Path Ahead, states that the “situation will be subject to ongoing review taking account of the evolving epidemiological situation and available evidence in relation to vaccine deployment, uptake and effectiveness”.

  While there is cause to be hopeful that things will improve over the course of the year, an assessment of the future trajectory of the disease is subject to uncertainties and unknowns in relation to variants and vaccine effectiveness and uptake levels. For the next two months the immediate measures are intended to ensure we have far more options in the medium to longer term.

  The public health advice in relation to Covid-19 is kept under continuous review by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), by my Department and by the Government. The Government will meet in advance of the 5th of April to review the level of restrictions.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 752. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan Information on Pádraig O'Sullivan Zoom on Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if his attention has been drawn to the growing waiting lists for routine colonoscopies; his plans to tackle these waiting lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11120/21]

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, and as a result of the deferral of elective scheduled care activity in March, April and May of 2020, and since 2nd January 2021. This impact has been witnessed across all waiting list categories, including GI Scopes.

Endoscopy services were heavily affected during the first surge of COVID-19. In 2020 the scheduled care waiting list for GI Scopes grew by 46% (+10,295) to 32,539. In the last month, as a result of the further curtailment of scheduled care in January, G.I. Scope waiting lists increased by a further 11% to 36,065 by the end of January 2021.

The HSE continues to work to improve access, particularly to urgent colonoscopy services. The HSE’s National Clinical Advisor and Group Lead for Acute Operations has recommended that, where possible, endoscopy services be maintained in the current surge. This may involve relocation of the service to designated non-COVID sites to preserve throughput or to private providers, if available.

In addition, the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) is working closely with individual hospitals to improve access to endoscopy/colonoscopy services for waiting list patients, including through the outsourcing of GI Scopes treatment to Private Hospitals where capacity is available.

In 2020 the NTPF arranged 7,399 scopes for patients. The NTPF continues to commission treatment for patients and plans to double the number of scopes it arranges in 2021.

Vaccination Programme

 753. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the forecast date based upon current market approved vaccines only as to when the vaccination programme will be completed. [11121/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Ireland is working as part of the EU to secure a safe and stable supply of Covid-19 vaccinations and expects to receive a total of 1.25 million doses of the three currently approved vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca) before end March 2021.

Vaccines continue to be administered very quickly after their arrival into the country, although supply is currently limited by a number of factors including manufacturing constraints. Further significant progress will be made over the coming months, as additional quantities of vaccine supplies arrive into the country and more vaccines are approved, which will substantially increase capacity to administer vaccines and reach broader population coverage.

As vaccine rollout is wholly dependent on supply lines and on candidate vaccines obtaining approval, it is not possible at this time to determine a timeframe for completion of the vaccination programme.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 754. 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 concessions with regards to the impending legislation on quarantine for incoming travellers will be available for those who have received a vaccine as approved by the EMA and who would also have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11124/21]

 789. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore Information on Jennifer  Whitmore Zoom on Jennifer  Whitmore asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the position regarding vaccinations and travel in circumstances (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11284/21]

 898. Deputy David Stanton Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if persons entering Ireland who have received vaccination against Covid-19 in another country will be required to self-isolate or quarantine if they have proof of vaccination; if his attention has been drawn to instances in which persons living in Ireland have been offered the opportunity to avail of an earlier vaccination in a different country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11731/21]

 916. 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 regulations in relation to quarantine in place when visiting here from a country (details supplied); if he plans to amend these regulations in view of the vaccine roll-out in the country in question for those persons who have proof of vaccination in their home country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11782/21]

 970. Deputy Joe McHugh Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the protocol for travel from the United Arab Emirates to Ireland in summer 2021 as far as can be projected in circumstances in which a person has been vaccinated in the first quarter of 2021; if travel home to see family will be permitted with a negative PCR test; if quarantine for 14 days will be mandatory; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11969/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 754, 789, 898, 916 and 970 together.

  Under the current international travel policies, all travellers arriving into Ireland from overseas, with limited exemptions, are required to observe the mandatory testing and quarantine regimes.

  It is not yet understood whether available vaccines prevent vaccinated persons from transmitting the disease to others. As such, the impact vaccinations will have on travel policies internationally is yet to be determined.

  The Government gives continuing consideration to travel policy informed by the epidemiological situation internationally and public health advice.

  Question No. 755 answered with Question No. 736.

Vaccination Programme

 756. Deputy John Brady Information on John Brady Zoom on John Brady asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if consideration has been given to establishing a Covid-19 vaccination centre in Bray, County Wicklow; if he has taken into consideration the population of the town; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11129/21]

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.

Vaccination Programme

 757. Deputy John Brady Information on John Brady Zoom on John Brady asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if consideration has been given to establishing a Covid-19 vaccination centre in west County Wicklow taking into consideration that there is a complete lack of public transport in this part of the county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11130/21]

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.

General Medical Services Scheme

 758. Deputy Peter Burke Information on Peter Burke Zoom on Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if a person on a medical card is covered for steroid injections received from their doctor. [11131/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Under the terms of the current GMS contract, GPs are required to provide eligible patients, those who hold a medical card or GP visit card, with ''all proper and necessary treatment of a kind usually undertaken by a general practitioner and not requiring special skill or experience of a degree or kind which general practitioners cannot reasonably be expected to possess." Steroid injections are not considered a routine service provided by GPs and are not covered under the GMS scheme.

Mental Health Services

 759. Deputy Martin Browne Information on Martin Browne Zoom on Martin Browne asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if two premises (details supplied) that were due to be established in Clonmel and Nenagh, County Tipperary are still to go ahead; if he will clarify the comments made by the director of communications for the premises that all services for County Tipperary will be provided from the Thurles premises; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11139/21]

 760. Deputy Martin Browne Information on Martin Browne Zoom on Martin Browne asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly when a premises (details supplied) in County Tipperary is due to open. [11141/21]

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. 759 and 760 together.

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

Hospital Services

 761. 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 the equipment tender for the proposed new cath lab at University Hospital Waterford will allow for a company (details supplied) to tender; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that such inclusion will have no material effect to the pending date of cath lab build award approval; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11151/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the management of healthcare equipment, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.

General Practitioner Services

 762. Deputy Thomas Gould Information on Thomas Gould Zoom on Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the status of the continued closure of SouthDoc Blackpool and Listowel. [11154/21]

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.

Service Level Agreements

 763. Deputy Thomas Gould Information on Thomas Gould Zoom on Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if his attention has been drawn to a situation in which SouthDoc could be in breach of a service level agreement with the HSE worth almost €7.3 million; the steps he has taken or plans to take to investigate this possible breach; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11155/21]

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.

Home Care Packages

 764. Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne Information on Violet-Anne Wynne Zoom on Violet-Anne Wynne asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the funding resources or other resources that are available to family home carers to cover the costs of PPE while caring for their family members at home (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11170/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The HSE currently supplies PPE to Acute Hospitals, the National Ambulance Service, Long Term Residential Care Settings, Public Home Care, Primary Care-based clinics, Testing Centres, Community Assessment Hubs, Public Dentists, and GP/ Out of Hours Practices, in the interests of both staff and patient safety in both preventative and therapeutic usage settings through the PPE supply chain established at local level. At this time, the provision of PPE to family carers has not been indicated by Public Health or the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

  PPE is not required by family members for normal routine care if COVID-19 infection is not suspected or confirmed. Gloves and aprons are only needed for direct personal care and Public Health Nurses usually supply these for Medical Card/Long Term Illness card holders. Some charities and service providers, including Family Carers Ireland, have received donations or funding for Personal Protective Equipment to use in the home. More information on this is available by contacting the Family Carers Careline at 1800 240724.

  Courses in infection control and putting on and taking off PPE are available on www.hseland.ie. Carers can access this site by registering as a volunteer.

  The Covid-19 information booklet sent to all households provides guidance on caring for a person diagnosed with Covid-19. https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/newsfeatures/covid19-updates/partner-resources/.

  Relevant HPSC Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for family and friends (informal carers) who support people in their own homes is also available at https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/guidance/infectionpreventionandcontrolguidance/visitorsvisiting/.

  Family carers should operate in support bubbles and there is guidance in this regard on the Government website at https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/3516d-support-bubbles/.

  The Department of Health and the HSE acknowledge the valuable role of carers and families, home support workers and providers across the services in supporting older people, people with disabilities and others with care needs throughout this challenging period.

Eating Disorders

 765. Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne Information on Violet-Anne Wynne Zoom on Violet-Anne Wynne asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of beds specifically allocated for the treatment of persons with eating disorders that are available nationally; the hospitals in which such treatment is available; the number of beds available for patients in the mid-west; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11171/21]

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.

Drugs Payment Scheme

 766. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he will consider including ozempic (details supplied) in the drugs repayment scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11172/21]

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.

Treatment Abroad Scheme

 767. Deputy James Lawless Information on James Lawless Zoom on James Lawless asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he will examine the reimbursement of Covid-19 testing in relation to the treatment abroad scheme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11194/21]

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.

Health Products Regulatory Authority

 768. Deputy James Lawless Information on James Lawless Zoom on James Lawless asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he will examine regulation for AEDs in respect of both registration and maintenance (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11196/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly My Department has liaised with officials in the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) with regard to this question. HPRA’s role is to protect and enhance public and animal health by regulating medicines, medical devices and other health products.

  An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a medical device that analyses a person’s heart rhythm and, when needed, delivers a shock to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) victims who are in a shockable heart rhythm.

  All medical devices must BY LAW display a CE mark. If a defibrillator has a CE mark then you can be assured that it should, when used, stored and maintained properly, work as intended and be safe. Furthermore It is important to note as part of the CE marking process under the Medical Devices Directives 93/42/EEC and in the future under the Medical Devices Regulation 745/2017 that the AED manufacturer is required by legislation to supply with the AED details of the nature and frequency of the maintenance needed to ensure that the devices operate properly and safely at all times.

  The HPRA prepared and published an information leaflet to provide advice on selecting and purchasing an AED for use in a community setting. The information leaflet also includes information on storing, training and maintenance in relation to the device. For ease of access to the leaflet please click here http://www.hpra.ie/docs/default-source/publications-forms/information-leaflets/hpra_external-defibrillators_web-final.pdf?sfvrsn=6.

  The HPRA does not maintain a register of AEDs and their service status.

  Question No. 769 answered with Question No. 736.


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