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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 887-905
 Header Item Hospital Staff
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Hospital Staff
 Header Item Disease Management
 Header Item Hospital Car Parks
 Header Item Public Procurement Contracts
 Header Item Public Procurement Contracts
 Header Item Public Procurement Contracts
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Medical Negligence Cases
 Header Item State Claims Agency
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Hospital Data
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Maternity Services

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1005 No. 5
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 136 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 887-905

Hospital Staff

 887. Deputy Ged Nash Information on Ged Nash Zoom on Ged Nash asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of newly qualified doctors at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda as a result of intern posts created in April 2020 which were designed to bolster the health service during an unprecedented pandemic; if he plans to retain all of the newly-qualified doctors and related posts as whole-time equivalents at the stated hospital given the continued seriousness of Covid-19 and the consequent backlog in terms of treatment waiting lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16428/21]

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

Health Services Provision

 888. 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 current position in respect of the five-year delay for orthodontic treatment in Cork city and county; if some of the work will be transferred out to private practitioners in order to reduce waiting times for this treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16430/21]

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 Services Provision

 889. 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 reason there is a different approach in the Cork region compared to the Kerry region in respect of orthodontic treatment (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16431/21]

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 Services Provision

 890. Deputy Colm Burke Information on Colm Burke Zoom on Colm Burke asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if persons waiting for over two years for orthodontic treatment as is the case in Cork city and county can apply for this treatment under the Treatment Purchase Fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16432/21]

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.

Hospital Staff

 891. Deputy Verona Murphy Information on Verona Murphy Zoom on Verona Murphy asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of medical intern posts at Wexford General Hospital presently up to July 2021; the number of intern posts which will be in effect at the hospital from July 2021 to July 2022; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16433/21]

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

Disease Management

 892. Deputy Verona Murphy Information on Verona Murphy Zoom on Verona Murphy asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the steps actively being taken to provide a much improved testing system for Lyme disease here to ensure early diagnosis of the debilitating disease and to prevent misdiagnosis and late diagnosis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16434/21]

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

Hospital Car Parks

 893. Deputy Steven Matthews Information on Steven  Matthews Zoom on Steven  Matthews asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if a mechanism will be investigated that would allow for free parking in public hospitals and healthcare facilities for patients with specified diagnosed long-term illnesses who require frequent visits; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16435/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The Programme for Government makes a commitment to introduce a cap on the maximum daily charge for patients and visitors at all public hospitals, where possible and to introduce flexible passes in all public hospitals for patients and their families. I am very aware of the financial burden this issue can cause some patients and families. Accordingly, my Department and the HSE are currently examining the issue.

Public Procurement Contracts

 894. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the status of a competition (details supplied) which was due to go out to public tender in 2017; the progress in relation to the tender; when it will be published or retendered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16440/21]

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.

Public Procurement Contracts

 895. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the reason a tender (details supplied) which was due to go out to public tender in 2017 has been extended each year since, with a further extension until May 2021; the way this was allowed to occur in the years before Covid-19; when the competition will go back out to public tender; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16441/21]

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.

Public Procurement Contracts

 896. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the way that the successful company (details supplied) won a tender competition by providing a product without a specific feature on it given that other companies with products without the same feature in question were eliminated from the tender process for that very reason; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16442/21]

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 Services Provision

 897. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the status of the provision of services and staff for diabetic children at Mullingar hospital; and if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the hospital has been forced to cease all diabetic paediatric clinics with immediate effect and is no longer in a position to accept new patients due to limited resources. [16457/21]

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.

Medical Negligence Cases

 898. 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 amount paid in legal costs to each of the top ten legal firms representing plaintiffs in medical negligence cases in 2020; the number of cases that payments relate to in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16467/21]

 899. 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 amount paid out in legal costs to each of the top ten named legal firms representing the agency in medical negligence cases in 2020; the number of cases that payments relate to in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16468/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 898 and 899 together.

The State Claims Agency (SCA) has a statutory remit to manage personal injury claims on behalf of Delegated State Authorities including the Health Service Executive. The State Claims Agency has provided me with the following information, in respect of the Deputy's questions.

 - The information contained below has been extracted from the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

 - Medical negligence claims are identified on NIMS through the Incident / Hazard Category of Clinical Care

 - Plaintiff legal costs relate to the payment made to the Plaintiff’s legal team i.e. Solicitors and Counsel and are also inclusive of expert fees which are discharged by the Plaintiff’s solicitor. These expert fees may relate to actuarial, engineering, medical, witness fees etc.

 - Agency Legal costs relate to fees to solicitors engaged by the Agency.

 - The legal costs sums include VAT.

Criteria used   

 - Table 1 shows the top 10 named Legal firms representing plaintiff legal costs made in relation to Clinical Care claims in 2020 with highest paid totals.

 -Table 2 shows the top 10 named Legal firms representing the State Claims Agency by solicitor fees made in relation to Clinical Care claims in 2020 with highest paid totals

- This report is correct as of 28/02/2021

  Question 1: Top 10 Legal Firms by Plaintiff Legal Costs paid in 2020

Payee Amount Paid No. of Claims
Cian O'Carroll Solicitors € 5,400,896 26
Michael Boylan Litigation Law Firm € 4,810,948 21
Cantillons Solicitors € 3,479,103 19
Callan Tansey Solicitors €3,430,033 37
Augustus Cullen Law Solicitors € 2,543,947 21
Malcomson Law € 1,778,117 4
Damien Tansey Solicitors € 1,135,100 15
Denis O'Sullivan & Co € 754,314 8
McElhinney & Associates Solicitors € 720,000 2
James Lucey & Company Solicitors € 625,000 1


  Table 1: Top 10 Legal firms representing Plaintiffs by total costs paid and number of claims involved in payments for 2020

  Question 2: Top 10 Legal Firms by Agency Solicitor Legal Costs paid in 2020
Payee Amount Paid No. of Claims
Mason Hayes & Curran Solicitors € 4,108,629 166
Comyn Kelleher Tobin € 2,764,418 109
Hayes Solicitors € 2,314,127 93
Ronan Daly Jermyn Solicitors € 1,989,632 99
Doyle Solicitors € 1,119,747 49
Daniel Spring & Co. Solicitors € 652,366 48
BLM Ireland € 491,217 58
V.P. McMullin € 472,122 18
Hegarty & Armstrong Solicitors € 432,213 22
A&L Goodbody € 342,235 12


  Table 2: Top 10 Legal firms representing the State Claims Agency by total costs paid and number of claims involved in payments for 2020

State Claims Agency

 900. 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 claims ongoing by the State Claims Agency in relating to late diagnosis and missed diagnosis relating to failings in the CervicalCheck screening programme; the number of cases settled; the total amount paid out in claims to date; and the legal costs of the cases to date. [16469/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The State Claims Agency (SCA) has a statutory remit to manage personal injury claims on behalf of Delegated State Authorities including the Health Service Executive. The State Claims Agency has provided me with the following information, in respect of the Deputy's questions.

  The information contained below has been extracted from the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and is accurate as of 25/03/2021.

Number of Claims   

  To date the SCA has received 263 claims relating to allegations of misinterpretation of slides by the National Screening Service. Of these, 212 relate to Clinical Care claims brought directly by the service users, the remaining 51 relate to psychological injury claims brought by family members/dependents. In relation to the 263 claims received, 31 have been concluded.

Amount paid out in claims to date   

  It should be noted that almost all of the claims have been settled by the laboratories involved in the individual claims and, accordingly, the Agency does not, in all instances, have details of settlement payments made by those laboratories. This applies equally to the associated legal costs – see below.

Legal costs of the cases   

  In respect of all associated National Screening Services (CervicalCheck) cases, legal costs amounting to €2,832,491 have been paid. These legal costs include fees paid to mediation services, which is consistent with the SCA’s policy of using mediation wherever possible to resolve these claims in a non-adversarial manner. These legal fees also include matters not relating to the areas in which the State has already accepted liability. It is anticipated that much of the legal work carried out in respect of these initial cases, and by extension the fees incurred, will be applied in resolving future cases that have been notified to the SCA and that this legal work will not need to be repeated in managing these future cases.

Vaccination Programme

 901. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly his views on a matter raised in correspondence by a person (details supplied) in relation to the provision of the Covid-19 vaccine for carers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16470/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy sets out a provisional list of groups for vaccination. The Strategy was developed by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) and my Department, endorsed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), and approved by Government on 8 December 2020.

On the 23rd   of February, I announced an update to Ireland’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy. In comprising the initial Vaccine Allocation Strategy, the NIAC listed several conditions associated with increased risk of severe disease and death. In the intervening period, national and international evidence has become available which has enabled a more detailed analysis of underlying conditions that may increase the risk of developing severe disease or death. The NIAC has now been able to more comprehensively identify those medical conditions and to distinguish between those which place a person at very high or high risk of severe disease if they contract the virus. Medical conditions and the magnitude of the risk they pose will continue to be monitored and periodically reviewed.

On the 30th   of March, the Government approved a further update to the COVID-19 Vaccination Allocation Strategy. Based on clinical, scientific and ethical frameworks produced by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee and my Department , following the vaccination of those most at risk, future groups will be vaccinated by age, in cohorts of 10 years (i.e., 64-55; 54-45, etc.).

  The move to an age-based model better supports the programme objectives by

 - protecting those at highest risk of severe disease first, which benefits everyone most;

 - facilitating planning and execution of the programme across the entire country;

 - improving transparency and fairness.

  Further details are available here:

https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/93f8f-minister-donnelly-announces-update-to-irelands-vaccination-prioritisation-list/  

  Frontline healthcare workers (HCWs) in direct patient contact roles are being vaccinated in Cohort 2. This includes HCWs working in public, private, and voluntary settings.

Hospital Data

 902. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if a list will be provided of all inpatient and outpatient treatments and medical procedures for which there are waiting lists at Nenagh hospital; the number of persons on each of the waiting lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16479/21]

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 in the last year as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  The HSE is currently recommending that only critical time dependent elective procedures are undertaken at this time due to the on-going and significant increased demand for bed capacity related to COVID-19.

  This decision was made arising from the rapid increase in COVID-19 admissions and to ensure patient safety and that all appropriate resources were made available for COVID-19 related activity and time-critical essential work.

  Patient safety remains at the centre of all hospital activity and elective care scheduling. To ensure services are provided in a safe, clinically-aligned and prioritised way, hospitals are following HSE clinical guidelines and protocols.

On 23rd   March the HSE published the “Safe Return to Health Services Plan”. This plan outlines a three phased approach for the proposed restoration of services across Community Services, Acute Hospital Operations, Cancer Services and Screening Services. It sets target times for their safe return and details the conditions and challenges that will have to be met.

  Every phase of the plan has been informed by clinical guidance and putting patient and staff safety first.

  Decisions in relation to the type and volume of activity will be made at site level based on local COVID-19 numbers, available capacity and guidance from national clinical leads.

  The schedule outlined in the plan for resumption of services will be regularly monitored by the HSE and updated as appropriate, dependant on public health advice and healthcare capacity.

  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.

  The information requested by the Deputy, Inpatient Day Case and Outpatient waiting list data at the end of February for Nenagh Hospital is outlined in the attached document. The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) publishes the Inpatient and Day Case (IPDC) and Outpatient (OPD) waiting lists on the NTPF website monthly https://www.ntpf.ie/home

  IPDC-OPD

Covid-19 Pandemic

 903. Deputy Chris Andrews Information on Chris Andrews Zoom on Chris Andrews asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if elite athletes traveling abroad to compete fall within the grouping of essential international travel under the proposed Covid-19 restrictions; if not, if they will be required to hotel quarantine depending on the country they are returning from; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16489/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The Government has introduced more stringent measures applying to international travel in order to mitigate against the risk of new variants being imported through travel and to protect the progress we are making in supressing transmission domestically.

Passengers arriving into Ireland from overseas may be required to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form, to present evidence of a negative pre-departure RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival and to observe mandatory home quarantine.

Under SI 135/2021, exemptions exist from home quarantine requirements for competitors and persons whose participation is essential to the running of events organised by Sport Ireland. Where such a person has been in a designated state within 14 days of arrival to Ireland, these exemptions do not apply and they are subject to the requirements of hotel quarantine.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 904. 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 consideration has been given to seafarers relating to the Covid-19 restrictions (details supplied); and if they will be required to quarantine on return to Ireland. [16491/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The Government has introduced more stringent measures applying to international travel in order to mitigate against the risk of new variants being imported through travel and to protect the progress we are making in supressing transmission domestically.

Under the current travel regime passengers arriving into Ireland from overseas are required to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form, to present evidence of a negative pre-departure RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival and to observe mandatory home quarantine.

Exemptions from quarantine requirements apply for international transport workers who are travelling the course of their duties. These include freight workers who are the bearer of an Annex 3 certificate or who are drivers of a heavy goods vehicle; and transport workers who are aircraft pilot, other aircrew, maritime master or maritime crew.

Maternity Services

 905. 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 details of his plans to implement a report issued by an organisation (details supplied) in October 2011 with a series of recommendations on vaginal birth after caesarean birth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16495/21]

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.


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