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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 271-286
 Header Item Health Services
 Header Item Healthcare Policy
 Header Item Medical Cards
 Header Item Disease Management
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Patient Safety
 Header Item Health Services
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1009 No. 5
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 104 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 271-286

Health Services

 271. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly when the current application process for the insulin pumps contract will be complete. [28081/21]

 272. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly when the new list of insulin pumps will be sent to the community drug schemes. [28082/21]

 273. 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 estimated timeline of the process from product review to inclusion on the PCRS for insulin pump. [28083/21]

 274. 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 details of the membership of the expert group which will review insulin pumps for use by the HSE. [28084/21]

 275. 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 there will be any consultation with patients or patient advocacy groups in the process to review insulin pumps that may be used by the HSE. [28085/21]

 287. Deputy Neale Richmond Information on Neale Richmond Zoom on Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he has considered making an insulin pump (details supplied) available to diabetic patients in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28206/21]

 293. Deputy Neale Richmond Information on Neale Richmond Zoom on Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly when the new list of insulin pumps will be sent to the community drug schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28212/21]

 295. Deputy Neale Richmond Information on Neale Richmond Zoom on Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the membership of the expert group who review insulin pumps to assess their inclusion on the primary care reimbursement service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28214/21]

 296. Deputy Neale Richmond Information on Neale Richmond Zoom on Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if there is patient involvement in the review of insulin pumps to be included on the primary care reimbursement service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28215/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 271 to 275, inclusive, 287, 293, 295 and 296 together.

As this Parliamentary Question relates to an operational issue, it is a matter for the HSE. However, members of the Oireachtas are advised that the HSE is currently unable to access the information to answer Parliamentary Questions due to the recent cyber-attack, which has required a temporary shut-down of HSE IT systems. The disruption to service is on-going, and the HSE is working hard to restore its IT capacity and resume normal services.

Members of the Oireachtas will be advised as soon as the HSE is again in a position to provide responses to PQs and are encouraged to resubmit their Parliamentary Questions at that point.

  Question No. 272 answered with Question No. 271.

  Question No. 273 answered with Question No. 271.

  Question No. 274 answered with Question No. 271.

  Question No. 275 answered with Question No. 271.

Healthcare Policy

 276. 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 further to Parliamentary Question No. 207 of 22 April 2021, the funding secured by the National Stroke Programme of the HSE for an organisation (details supplied) stroke support line during the Covid-19 crisis to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28090/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this Parliamentary Question relates to an operational issue, it is a matter for the HSE. However, members of the Oireachtas are advised that the HSE is currently unable to access the information to answer Parliamentary Questions due to the recent cyber-attack, which has required a temporary shut-down of HSE IT systems. The disruption to service is on-going, and the HSE is working hard to restore its IT capacity and resume normal services. Members of the Oireachtas will be advised as soon as the HSE is again in a position to provide responses to PQs and are encouraged to resubmit their Parliamentary Questions at that point.

Medical Cards

 277. Deputy Mark Ward Information on Mark Ward Zoom on Mark Ward asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly further to Parliamentary Question No. 231 of 12 May 2021, the reason the medical card threshold for over 70’s is not given to those at retirement age. [28091/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Medical Card provision is primarily based on financial assessment. In accordance with the Health Act 1970 (as amended), eligibility for a medical card is determined by the HSE. The HSE assesses each application on a qualifying financial threshold. This is the amount of money that an individual can earn a week and still qualify for a card. It is specific to the individual’s own financial circumstances.

Persons aged 69 and under are assessed under the general means tested medical card thresholds which are based on an applicant’s household income after tax; PRSI and the Universal Social Charge (USC) have been deducted. Certain expenses are also taken into account, i.e. mortgage payments, which helps to increase the amount a person can earn and still qualify for a medical card.

Regarding persons aged 70 or older, the medical card assessment is based on gross income. As noted in Parliamentary Question 231 of 12 May 2021, this assessment process was introduced for this cohort only, by way of the Health Act 2008, as a means to replace the automatic entitlement to a medical card for people aged 70 years and over. The new gross income arrangements were therefore introduced on that basis and provided for the vast majority of people aged 70 years and over to continue to hold medical cards under the new income thresholds. The weekly gross income thresholds for eligibility to a medical card for those aged 70 and over were recently increased in November 2020 and are currently €550 per week for a single person general means tested medical card scheme which is based on an applicant’s household income after tax; PRSI and the Universal Social Charge (USC) have been deducted. Certain expenses are also taken into account, i.e. mortgage payments, which helps to increase the amount a person can earn and still qualify for a medical card.

There are no plans at present to revise the current age cohorts for the different medical card assessment processes.

Disease Management

 278. 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 steps being taken regarding the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of Lyme disease and to ensure that persons suffering with Lyme disease or chronic Lyme disease are being properly supported; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28195/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this Parliamentary Question relates to an operational issue, it is a matter for the HSE. However, members of the Oireachtas are advised that the HSE is currently unable to access the information to answer Parliamentary Questions due to the recent cyber-attack, which has required a temporary shut-down of HSE IT systems. The disruption to service is on-going, and the HSE is working hard to restore its IT capacity and resume normal services. Members of the Oireachtas will be advised as soon as the HSE is again in a position to provide responses to PQs and are encouraged to resubmit their Parliamentary Questions at that point.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 279. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if a risk assessment has been carried out by South Tipperary General Hospital in relation to the ongoing restrictions on maternity units; if he has obtained a copy of the risk assessment; if such risk assessments can be made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28196/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this Parliamentary Question relates to an operational issue, it is a matter for the HSE. However, members of the Oireachtas are advised that the HSE is currently unable to access the information to answer Parliamentary Questions due to the recent cyber-attack, which has required a temporary shut-down of HSE IT systems. The disruption to service is on-going, and the HSE is working hard to restore its IT capacity and resume normal services. Members of the Oireachtas will be advised as soon as the HSE is again in a position to provide responses to PQs and are encouraged to resubmit their Parliamentary Questions at that point.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 280. 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 clarity will be provided in relation to the way fully vaccinated persons, in particular Irish citizens, who plan to travel to Ireland can prove their vaccination or to secure an exemption prior to arrival; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28197/21]

 301. Deputy Cathal Crowe Information on Cathal Crowe Zoom on Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if there are plans at a European level to change the quarantine rules for those who have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine (details supplied) and intend on returning to Ireland from their homes in the United Arab Emirates.  [28244/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 280 and 301 together.

  The Government has applied 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 suppressing transmission domestically.

The Government continues to advise against non-essential international travel.

  Passengers who are fully vaccinated with an EMA approved vaccine are exempt from hotel quarantine but are still subject to other travel restrictions, such as the need to provide a negative pre-departure PCR test and to complete a period of self-quarantine at home or wherever specified in their passenger locator form.

  These travel measures are kept under continuous review based on public health advice and the international epidemiological situation. The Government has announced revised travel policies to take effect from 19 July in keeping with the EU Digital Covid Certificate. Work to give effect to these measures is progressing on a cross-departmental basis.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 281. 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 clarity will be provided in relation to visiting restrictions in St James's Hospital (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28198/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I am aware of how difficult the current visitor restrictions are for hospital patients and their families.

The HSE has advised that visiting arrangements in hospitals have changed to help protect patients and to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Information/guidance on visiting individual public hospitals is regularly updated on hospital websites, as well as on the HSE website.

Decisions on visitor restrictions are made, implemented and reviewed at hospital level. Such restrictions are necessary to protect the safety of patients, the wellbeing of staff and the operability of hospital services. The overall level of vaccination of the population is a factor in decision making, as well as the levels of vaccination of patients and staff. You can be assured that, in the context of the rapidly evolving situation, visiting restrictions are frequently reviewed.

I would also emphasise that anyone with symptoms indicating that they could possibly have Covid-19 should not visit a hospital.

Patient Safety

 282. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he will request a review into the treatment of a person (details supplied); if there is a formal process that may be used; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28199/21]

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

Health Services

 283. 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 address a matter raised in correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28200/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The introduction of the HPV screening test last year was a significant milestone for our cervical cancer screening programme. This move to HPV cervical screening, which is a more sensitive test and helps identify more people at risk of cervical cancer in the population, means that Ireland joins a small group of countries that employs the best-in-class testing to screen their populations for cervical cancer.

The National Screening Service and CervicalCheck programme have been running a public information campaign on the new HPV test this year. This campaign includes explaining why we now test for the HPV virus first and what follow-on tests some people may need to have. There are a range of resources available on their website, and CervicalCheck also have a Freephone number (1800 45 45 55) which people can contact with any queries they may have or to seek further information.

In relation to the specific concerns raised, while I cannot comment in relation to individual cases, it is important that anyone experiencing symptoms is advised to contact their GP. It is important that the public understands that screening is a population health measure for people who are presumed healthy and do not have symptoms, it is not a diagnostic test. Anyone with concerns about symptoms should always contact their GP who will arrange appropriate follow-up care.

In relation to participation in the CervicalCheck programme, this is voluntary and screening tests are offered to all women and people with a cervix in the target age group of 25 to 65. In general, people aged 25 to 29 are invited every three years; people aged 30 to 65 every five years. Depending on their clinical circumstances some people may be invited or advised to have more frequent tests. Further details about how often anyone should attend for screening is available from CervicalCheck. An individual's clinical care team will be best placed able to advise what type of tests or care they may need based on their individual circumstances.

As this Parliamentary Question primarily relate to operational issues, further details may be provided by the HSE.

However, members of the Oireachtas are advised that the HSE is currently unable to access the information to answer Parliamentary Questions due to the recent cyber-attack, which has required a temporary shut-down of HSE IT systems. The disruption to service is on-going, and the HSE is working hard to restore its IT capacity and resume normal services. Members of the Oireachtas will be advised as soon as the HSE is again in a position to provide responses to PQs and are encouraged to resubmit their Parliamentary Questions at that point.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 284. Deputy Neale Richmond Information on Neale Richmond Zoom on Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if drive-in movies are permitted under the current Covid-19 guidelines; if not, when they will be permitted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28201/21]

 317. Deputy Richard O'Donoghue Information on Richard O'Donoghue Zoom on Richard O'Donoghue asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly his views on the resumption on drive-in bingo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28262/21]

 325. 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 the public health grounds on which drive-in cinemas are not being allowed to operate; if this will be reconsidered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28271/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 284, 317 and 325 together.

There has been considerable progress in reducing infection levels since the peak of the wave of infection in late 2020/early 2021 because of the widespread adherence by the public to the public health measures in place, and this progress has been sustained during recent phases of reopening in April and May. While there is still a high level of infection nationally, the situation is considered reasonably stable and significant progress is being made in relation to the roll-out of our vaccination programme.

On 28 May, Government decided to move ahead with the process of lifting restrictions further. A range of measures were eased in June, and it has signalled a further easing of measures in July and August subject to the epidemiological situation at the time.

I can confirm to the Deputy that, in line with the Resilience and Recovery Plan for the easing of measures, drive-in cinemas and drive-in bingo resumed on the 7 June.

While there has been scope to continue with the easing of public health measures, our approach must continue to be cautious, gradual and on a phased basis, with sufficient time between any easing of measures to assess the impact. This will be critical to ensure that our progress in controlling the virus is maintained.

Significant progress has been made on suppressing the virus over recent months due to the huge effort of people across the country. By working together, we have saved lives and limited the impact of the disease on society in Ireland. To protect the gains of recent months we must continue to practice basic preventative behaviours and to follow public health guidelines.

Hospital Appointments Status

 285. 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 he will advise on a procedure for a person (details supplied). [28202/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this Parliamentary Question relates to an operational issue, it is a matter for the HSE. However, members of the Oireachtas are advised that the HSE is currently unable to access the information to answer Parliamentary Questions due to the recent cyber-attack, which has required a temporary shut-down of HSE IT systems. The disruption to service is on-going, and the HSE is working hard to restore its IT capacity and resume normal services. Members of the Oireachtas will be advised as soon as the HSE is again in a position to provide responses to PQs and are encouraged to resubmit their Parliamentary Questions at that point.

  Question No. 286 answered with Question No. 246.


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