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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 2161-2179
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Drugs Payment Scheme
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Hospital Data
 Header Item Hospital Transfers
 Header Item Hospital Data
 Header Item Hospital Data
 Header Item Hospital Data
 Header Item Hospital Transfers
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Eating Disorders
 Header Item Disability Services Data
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Health Services
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Cross-Border Co-operation

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1005 No. 7
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 207 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 2161-2179

Vaccination Programme

 2161. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly when he expects the medical conditions cohorts phase of the vaccine roll-out to be largely complete; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19997/21]

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

 2162. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the estimated population size of each of the vaccine cohorts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19998/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Ireland’s COVID-19 vaccination programme strategy is to distribute all available vaccine as quickly as is operationally possible, prioritising those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19.

  The programme is based on the principles of safety, effectiveness and fairness, with the objective of reducing severe illness, hospitalisations and deaths from COVID-19 infection.

  To date over 1,200,000 vaccine doses have been administered. Vaccination of cohort 1 and 2 are now substantially complete. Further information on vaccines administered to cohort groups is available on the HSE Integrated Information Service - vaccination programme dashboard at:

  https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/newsfeatures/covid19-updates/integrated-information-service-vaccination-programme-dashboard.html

  Vaccination of the over 70s in cohort 3 and those aged 16-69 and at very high risk of severe illness and death in cohort 4 is ongoing. Work is continuing on the stratification of subsequent groups and assessing the number of people encompassed by each group.

Vaccination Programme

 2163. 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 cohorts which will be vaccinated in mass vaccination centres, general practitioner clinics or other pathways; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19999/21]

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.

Drugs Payment Scheme

 2164. Deputy Alan Dillon Information on Alan  Dillon Zoom on Alan  Dillon asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the reason the HPV vaccine is not covered under the drug payment scheme; if this will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20001/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The immunisation programme in Ireland is based on the advice of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC). The committee's recommendations are based on the prevalence of the relevant disease in Ireland and international best practice in relation to immunisation. It makes recommendations on vaccination policy to my Department. The NIAC continues to revise recommendations to allow for the introduction of new vaccines in Ireland and to keep abreast of changes in the patterns of disease. Therefore, the immunisation schedule will continue to be amended over time.

In 2009, the NIAC recommended HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination for all 12 to 13 year old girls to reduce their risk of developing cervical cancer when they are adults. In September 2010, the HPV vaccination programme was introduced for all girls in first year of secondary school.

The NIAC recommended that the HPV vaccine should also be given to boys. On foot of the NIAC’s recommendation, my Department asked the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to undertake a health technology assessment (HTA) to establish the clinical and cost-effectiveness of extending the current immunisation programme to include boys in the first year of secondary school.

The HIQA completed the HTA in December 2018, recommending that the HPV immunisation programme be extended to include boys. A policy decision was made to extend the HPV immunisation programme to include boys, starting in September 2019, with the introduction of a 9-valent HPV vaccine.

The ages at which vaccines are recommended in the immunisation schedule are chosen by the NIAC in order to give each child the best possible protection against vaccine preventable diseases. As the HPV vaccine is preventative it is intended to be administered, if possible, before a person becomes sexually active, that is, before a person is first exposed to HPV infection.

Therefore, the gender-neutral HPV vaccination programme targets all girls and boys in first year of secondary school to provide maximum coverage. All vaccines administered through the School Immunisation Programme are provided free of charge.

My Department will continue to be guided by NIAC's recommendations on any emerging evidence on this issue in the future.

Anyone not in 1st year of secondary school or age equivalent in special schools or home schooled during the 2020/2021 school year who wishes to get the HPV vaccine, must go to their GP or sexual health clinic and pay privately for the vaccine and its administration.

Vaccination Programme

 2165. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if Ireland has indemnified all Covid-19 vaccines; and if the HSE and his Department have received claims from persons as result of side effects from the vaccine. [20002/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Ireland is currently involved in an EU Procurement Exercise being operated by the European Commission on behalf of member states to procure a portfolio of suitable, safe and effective vaccines, in sufficient quantities, to combat COVID-19.

As part of the exercise, Ireland has already opted into an Advance Purchase Agreements with AstraZeneca (partnering with Oxford University); Janssen (Johnson & Johnson); BioNTech / Pfizer; CureVac and Moderna.

The content of the Advance Purchase Agreements, including with regard to liability / indemnity, are negotiated with vaccine suppliers by the European Commission and its negotiation team acting on behalf of Member States. Member States may decide to opt in / opt out, but do not have scope to recast the provisions of any APA. Responsibility for claims management will be assigned to the State Claims Agency.

Hospital Data

 2166. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of beds in acute mental health wards that are occupied by persons with neurological disorders waiting to access long-term care. [20005/21]

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.

Hospital Transfers

 2167. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the discharge options available to persons who have dementia in a hospital setting if they need to avail of long-term care for the first time. [20006/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Mary Butler): Information on Mary Butler Zoom on Mary Butler The Nursing Homes Support Scheme, commonly referred to as Fair Deal is a system of financial support for people who require long-term residential care. Participants contribute to the cost of their care according to their means while the State pays the balance of the cost.

  Applicants to the scheme will be assessed to determine their requirement for long-term care. This is carried out by a medical professional.

  Once approved to the Scheme, participants contribute up to 80% of their assessable income, such as their pension and a maximum of 7.5% per annum of the value of assets held, such as their principal private residence or cash assets. The capital value of an individual’s principal private residence is only included in the financial assessment for the first three years of their time in care.

  Furthermore, applicants to scheme have the option of applying for the Nursing Home Loan (Ancillary State Support). This is an additional financial support offered through the scheme, the purpose of which is to ensure that a person does not have to sell their home during their lifetime to pay for long-term nursing home care.

  The choice of nursing home is with the applicant themselves, as long as there are places available; this includes public, private and voluntary nursing homes. The share of the cost of care paid by the applicant does not change depending on the home, being instead determined by their means, as set out above. Some homes may have specialist facilities for those with dementia.

  I would recommend that the family contact their local HSE office to discuss all the options open to them. Contact details are available on the HSE website.

Hospital Data

 2168. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the cost of operating a bed in an acute mental health ward. [20007/21]

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.

Hospital Data

 2169. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the estimated cost of keeping a person in an acute bed in a mental health ward who suffers from a neurological issue as compared with releasing transitional funding to a more appropriate care home while a fair deal application is pending such as in the case of a person (details supplied). [20008/21]

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.

Hospital Data

 2170. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the criteria needed for a patient in a hospital setting under the care of the metal health department to access transitional funding while trying to access long-term care. [20009/21]

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.

Hospital Transfers

 2171. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the procedure for patients transferring from mental health care to long-term care facilities such as a person (details supplied). [20010/21]

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.

Vaccination Programme

 2172. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if his Department or the HSE have a centralised reporting system for flagging the side effects of Covid-19 vaccines; and if so, the details of the way the system works. [20024/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) is the regulatory authority in Ireland for medicines, medical devices and other healthcare products. As part of its remit in terms of monitoring the safety of medicines/vaccines on the market in Ireland, the HPRA operates the national adverse reaction (side effect) database. Healthcare professionals as well as members of the public are encouraged to submit reports of suspected adverse reactions to medicines/vaccines via various reporting options including:

- An online system which may be accessed via the HPRA website homepage (www.hpra.ie/report).

  - A specific COVID-19 downloadable report form, which is also available at the link above, and can be completed and emailed to medsafety@hpra.ie or posted to the HPRA - By email to medsafety@hpra.ie.

  All adverse reaction reports received are individually assessed, relevant follow up information is requested as appropriate, processed and entered into the HPRA’s national pharmacovigilance database. Reports are subsequently sent to EudraVigilance (EV), the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA’s) database of suspected adverse reactions, where the data are analysed to detect new safety signals. While the safety of COVID-19 vaccines is being monitored according to the guidelines that apply to all medicines and vaccines, the EMA together with medicines agencies across the EU, have outlined several additional measures for COVID-19 vaccines in a Safety Monitoring Plan. In addition, for each COVID-19 vaccine, a specific risk management plan (RMP) is agreed at the time of approval by EU regulators, which sets out amongst other things, any specific safety monitoring activities for that vaccine. The RMP is a living document and will be continually updated as more information becomes available.

  To establish whether an adverse effect is caused by a vaccine, regulators look for new evidence from adverse reaction reports, studies or other sources including the RMP, about possible additional effects or an increased risk of known side effects associated with the vaccine compared with a non-vaccinated population or with historical data obtained before the COVID-19 vaccines were introduced. Where appropriate, suitable regulatory action will be taken. Further information on the HPRA’s adverse reaction reporting system was included in the HPRA Drug Safety Newsletter Edition 101 which was published on the HPRA’s website and circulated to healthcare professionals.

  Anonymised data from the EV database are publically accessible for review at www.adrreports.eu.

  The HPRA is publishing periodic overviews of national reporting experience on its website with the most recent update published on 25 March. The next update is expected to be published on Thursday 22nd April. The HPRA also provides a weekly update to the NPHET, summarising adverse reaction reports received and information on reports of interest. The HPRA is also represented on the NIAC and also updates this group on key relevant safety information and adverse reaction reports.   

Eating Disorders

 2173. Deputy Johnny Mythen Information on Johnny Mythen Zoom on Johnny Mythen asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the services in place to treat young persons in County Wexford with an eating disorder; the plans in place to expand any eating disorder services for County Wexford; the number of young persons who are waiting for treatment for eating disorders in the county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20026/21]

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.

Disability Services Data

 2174. Deputy Johnny Mythen Information on Johnny Mythen Zoom on Johnny Mythen asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the current waiting list for disability psychology services for children in County Wexford; the length of waiting time for same in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20027/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Anne Rabbitte): Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 2175. 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 matters raised in correspondence by a person (details supplied) in relation to level 5 restrictions will receive a response. [20034/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The Health Act 1947, as amended, provides that all persons arriving in Ireland from a designated state, or having travelled through a designated state in the previous 14 days, are required to undergo mandatory quarantine in a designated facility unless they are an exempted traveller under the Act. All applicable travellers must reserve and pay for a place in mandatory hotel quarantine.

The Act identifies those who are exempt from mandatory hotel quarantine, including a person arriving in the state who "holds a valid annex 3 certificate in accordance with the Communication from the Commission on the implementation of the Green Lanes under the Guidelines for border management measures to protect health and ensure the availability of goods and essential services...". Persons who are fully vaccinated with an EMA-approved vaccine are also exempt from quarantine in a designated facility, though such persons remain subject to any other travel restrictions in place.

The provisions of the Act also allows for travellers to request a review of decisions relating to their quarantine; however this can only be undertaken once quarantine has begun.

The Government continues to evaluate wider policy on international travel as informed by the epidemiological situation and public health advice.

Neither I as Minister for Health nor my Department have a role in decisions relating to whether individual persons must enter mandatory quarantine or whether individual persons are exempted travellers. All such decisions are to be determined in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

Health Services

 2176. 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 an organisation (details supplied) is a section 29 organisation. [20035/21]

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

 2177. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan Information on Maurice Quinlivan Zoom on Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the status of the case of a person (details supplied) who has been waiting in excess of three years for an appointment with a pain relief specialist at University Hospital Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20036/21]

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 23 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.

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

The National Waiting List Management Policy is a standardised approach used by the HSE to manage scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures. It sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists and was developed in 2014 to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 2178. Deputy Michael Ring Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of persons who were subject to mandatory hotel quarantine in Dublin who have paid for their quarantine costs to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20040/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As of 19th April, there are 576 people in mandatory hotel quarantine and 532 people have completed their quarantine stay in a designated facility.

As of 18th April, there have been 509 ‘walk ins’ – mainly people arriving from designated states without a mandatory hotel pre-booking and also a small number of arrivals from non-designated states with ‘non-detected’ PCR test result in the previous 72 hours.

There have been 27 Covid-19 detected cases in guests undergoing quarantine in a designated facility. 4 of the resident cases are confirmed variants of concern (VoC ) with analysis ongoing on other test results.

All guests are responsible for the full cost of their stay in a quarantine facility, including their initial booking as well as any additional costs which might be incurred.

It should be noted that in some limited and exceptional cases, such as emergency repatriation of a citizen, a deferral on the requirement to pre-pay for quarantine while booking may be granted by the Department of Foreign Affairs. This deferral does not remove the responsibility of such guests to pay for the full cost of their quarantine in a designated facility.

Additionally, I understand that my colleague the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science is establishing a refund mechanism for students returning from Erasmus programmes who are required to undergo mandatory quarantine in a designated facility.

Cross-Border Co-operation

 2179. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Zoom on Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he will carry out an urgent review of the Cross-Border Directive that is being administered by the HSE following recurrent problems with the compatibility of DRG codes that have cost applicants thousands of euro. [20041/21]

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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