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Reilly, James

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 Nbr. 3


Priority Questions - Health Service Staff

Was asked: the way he is monitoring the effects on front line services of the departure of some 4,200 staff from the health services up to the end of February 2012; the additional numbers expected to leave th...More Button

My Department continues to work closely with the Health Service Executive, HSE, to ensure the contingency plans put in place for both hospital and community services are operating satisfactorily an...More Button

Between September 2011 and February 2012, approximately 4,500 members of staff retired from the health service. This figure includes some 800 staff who were not in active service when they retired...More Button

Health sector employment numbers must be reduced to approximately 102,100 whole-time equivalents, WTEs, by the end of this year. Based on the end-2011 outturn of 104,400 WTEs, this requires a net ...More Button

I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who work in the health service for ensuring a continuing safe service in our hospitals and elsewhere despite the serious challenges they face.More Button

Not for the first time Deputy Ó Caoláin attempts to confuse the issue. The service plan was written before all the retirements had actually taken place. For him to state now that an...More Button

I have no intention of setting a date for the lifting of the embargo. When considering how many people have left the health service since 2007, one must bear in mind how many joined in the precedi...More Button

January 2011 saw the highest number of people, some 569, lying on trolleys since counts began by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, INMO. I gave an undertaking at the time that the situat...More Button

Does that make the Deputy a little bombast?More Button

That is right.More Button

What does that make Sinn Féin? It has double standards.More Button

Unlike the bombast opposite, I take responsibility. I made it my business to travel around the majority of hospitals during the latter weeks of February to ensure that contingency plans were in pl...More Button

We are constantly monitoring what is occurring in hospitals. We have real-time information, which we never had before. We can now predict problems and take action, which we were previously unable...More Button

Priority Questions - Primary Care Strategy

Was asked: his views that there are sufficient resources being directed to ensure the primary care strategy is implemented in full; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Priority Questions - Primary Care Centres

Was asked: the steps he will take to ensure that the proposed Wicklow primary care centre, which was due to go into construction in April, is built and opened as scheduled, and that any shortfall in funding w...More Button

I thank the Deputy for his question. The development of primary care, as the Minister of State, Deputy Shortall, has said, is central to the Government’s objective to deliver a high quality,...More Button

The HSE’s draft plan for 2012 to 2016 is under consideration by my Department. It includes some provision for primary care, but further work is required to ensure that the provisions in the ...More Button

Wicklow town is one of the locations where the Health Service Executive proposes to deliver a primary care centre through a leasing arrangement with the private sector. The executive has signed an...More Button

This centre or a centre for Wicklow town is critical indeed. We have no wish for a centre that is at an advanced stage to fail. I accept what the Deputy across the Chamber is saying in terms of b...More Button

Deputy Donnelly’s point is well made. Aside from the excellent new services and care they will bring and aside from the fact that they will take considerable pressure off hospitals, they wil...More Button

We will always explore all options. That is part of the job of the HSE estates management. Its job is to examine all options. I have no problem giving an undertaking that all options will be exa...More Button

Priority Questions - Hospital Services

Was asked: if his attention has been [602]drawn to a statement by a member of the working group on the proposed medical assessment unit at Monaghan General Hospital that the workin...More Button

I am unaware of the comments referred to by the Deputy. I am aware that the HSE established a representative group to undertake a feasibility study on the development of a medical assessment unit ...More Button

I reiterate that my Department trawled through its files today to see whether we were sent that statement, but we were not sent it or informed that its recommendations cannot be accepted or that it...More Button

I said last week, and I reiterate today, that the acute medicine programme would review the position through the clinical programmes, under the auspices of Dr. Barry White. I have no problem in en...More Button

I emphasise again that we want to extend as many more services as we can to Monaghan General Hospital and to ensure that it becomes busier and that jobs there are secure. I cannot guarantee each i...More Button

Absolutely. The Deputy opposite is well aware of the financial situation in the country and well aware of the consequences of such for the health budget. He is also well aware of the need for cos...More Button

The Deputy opposite belongs to a party that is in another jurisdiction on this island where it is presiding over cuts right, left and centre but when that party is down here, they do not want to se...More Button

——but the fact is that we have to take responsible decisions and I have to maintain a service which is safe and this is what I am attempting to do, with tremendous co-operation from the...More Button

Priority Questions - Health Insurance

Was asked: if he will provide an update on the progress of the implementation group for universal health insurance; the model of care on which UHI will be based; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I recently established an implementation group on universal health insurance. This group will play a central role in assisting the Government to deliver on its commitment to introduce a single tie...More Button

In designing the model of care on which universal health insurance will be based, I want to ensure that it meets the needs of the Irish system and that it achieves the best outcomes for patients. ...More Button

Officials in my Department have been examining the experience of health reforms in a range of countries, including in the Netherlands and in Germany. This analysis is vital to enhancing our knowle...More Button

I can make my answer very short. This group has been put together to advise how to implement universal health insurance as per the mandate given this Government by the people. Its mandate is to c...More Button

In the interests of clarity, the Deputy is right. All is not wrong, there is much that is very good about the Irish health service. What is particularly good about it are the excellent people we ...More Button

We have many parallels working at the same time, moving towards the single end point, the universal health insurance system.More Button

They are moving towards the same point across another line which is perpendicular and they will arrive at the point we require. If we wish to continue with this kind of mathematics we can put them...More Button

Other Questions - Medical Cards

Was asked: the average waiting time for medical cards in January 2012; the average waiting time in January 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: when it is likely that provisions can be put in place to address the difficulty and hardship being caused by delays in the issue of medical cards; if any evaluation has been carried out as to the m...More Button

Other Questions - Hospitals Building Programme

Was asked: if the expert group currently examining the issue of the location of the proposed new children’s hospital will be asked to make a single recommendation for a particular site or if a recommend...More Button

Was asked: when the first meeting of the Dolphin group will be held; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 9 and 23 together.More Button

I am committed to ensuring the delivery of a world class hospital for the children of Ireland providing the highest quality treatment they deserve, in other words, the best treatment in the best en...More Button

The decision to refuse planning for the new children’s hospital was disappointing. Immediately following the decision, however, I announced my intention to establish a review group to consid...More Button

The aim of the review is to consider all the possible options for the earliest possible delivery of a new children’s hospital. The review group will present its findings on each of the possi...More Button

I have appointed Dr. Frank Dolphin to chair the review group. There is a wealth of expertise on the group. The membership is composed of senior planners, an architect, the CEO of a major UK paedi...More Button

I welcome the Deputy’s assertion that we are all on the one side, as we all want to see the hospital progress as quickly as possible. Nonetheless, the refusal on the Mater site requires time...More Button

The last thing I want to see is scarce capital reserves and resources ploughed into temporary accommodation that will prove to be no longer necessary in a few years. I want this expedited. I have...More Button

I am aware of all of the issues raised by the Deputy. It is the role of the group not necessarily to interview NAMA on all of its sites, but to give an indication of the pros and cons on a new sit...More Button

The issue of co-location with an adult hospital is a major requirement. The expert group comprising four chief executive officers of some of the biggest paediatric hospitals in the world, three of...More Button

Great people work in our paediatric services but there are limitations on the buildings in which they work. Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin has been very successful in fundra...More Button

The Dolphin group will report later this month, 56 days after its first meeting, and only a few days remain this month. It will be made aware of all of the options available. Rather than giving u...More Button

Other Questions - Health Service Staff

Was asked: if, following the retirement of large numbers of staff from the health service in recent weeks, he has identified the services which have been particularly affected by staffing resource reductions;...More Button

The main service areas that have been identified as critical in the context of the grace period retirements include maternity hospitals and critical and intensive care, as well as community nursing...More Button

It is, therefore, necessary to be as innovative and flexible as possible in order to mitigate the impact on services of reduced budgets and staffing. The mitigation measures which are in place inc...More Button

Some limited recruitment of new staff is also taking place to ensure that key specialist services are maintained. However, the priority is to reform how health services are delivered to ensure a m...More Button

The HSE National Service Plan 2012 acknowledges that there will be inevitable and unavoidable reductions in services this year owing to the scale of the financial and staffing challenge facing the ...More Button

I visited the National Maternity Hospital and met with the new master, who is the first female master in the history of this State. Staff at the hospital are dynamic and the recently opened new th...More Button

The Deputy asked if we have sufficient staff to maintain a safe service. The answer to that question is “Yes, we do.” Every endeavour has been made and arrangements have been put in place to ensu...More Button

On the disability issue, every effort was made to ensure protection of disability services, in respect of which the budget cut was a maximum of 3.5% while the cut elsewhere in the health services r...More Button

We are looking at all areas in an effort to reform how services are delivered and people work, thus allowing for more service to be delivered to the patient.More Button

Leaders’ Questions

Deputy Martin only hears what he wants to hear, just like with the Mahon report.More Button

Will Deputy Higgins listen to himself?More Button

Hear, hear.More Button

Written Answers - Data Protection

Was asked: his plans to store historical and new Guthrie Cards at Temple Street Hospital, Dublin; the timeline and extent of the upcoming consultation in relation to same; if he has considered an opt-out clau...More Button

In late 2009, the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) received a complaint from a member of the public in relation to the retention of Newborn Screening Cards (NSCs). The basis of the complaint (wh...More Button

Soon after I was appointed Minister I requested the HSE to conduct a review of both the legal and ethical basis for retention of NSCs and their potential use for research purposes. The report of th...More Button

However, I fully recognise the value of this material for research purposes, which was why the review group was asked to explore ways in which the material could be made available to the research c...More Button

Written Answers - National Positive Ageing Strategy

Was asked: when the National Positive Aging Strategy will be published; the funding provided for the strategy this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Medical Aids and Appliances

Was asked: if he has been in contact with their counterparts in France in relation to the PIP company which is responsible for breast implants using industrial rather than medical silicone, causing distress a...More Button

Was asked: the total number of women affected by the PIP breast implants controversy in view of the recent revelation that PIP implants manufactured prior to 2001 may also have contained industrial grade sili...More Button

Was asked: if he will provide an update on the advice or assistance being given to Irish women in respect of concerns raised regarding the safety of breast implants (details supplied) More Button

Was asked: if he will support PIP Action Ireland (details supplied) More Button

Was asked: if he is correlating data in relation rupture rates and tissue sampling analysis of Irish victims of PIP implants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that breast implantation clients continue to experience difficulties in getting confirmation of PIP implants while these and other clients are also havin...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 14, 53, 542, 547, 633 and 635 together.More Button

Since concerns were first raised regarding the issue of breast implants provided by the now defunct French company Poly Implant Prosthese (PIP) the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) and my Department hav...More Button

The IMB in its role as Competent Authority for medical devices in Ireland is correlating data regarding the PIP Breast implant recall.More Button

The Board keeps my Department advised of the device rupture rate, currently at 6.63% which is within the expected range.More Button

The IMB tracks the number of implants and their dispersal to treating clinics via the product’s distributors. Detailed examinations of the records of the UK distributors indicate that approx...More Button

On 15th March, 2012 the IMB received updated information from the French Competent Authority for Medical Devices suggesting that PIP silicone gel implants manufactured before 2001 may also have con...More Button

The IMB has continued to liaise with European and international colleagues in relation to this issue and tests conducted to date support the Board’s and the Department’s position that:&...More Button

The EU Commission is currently reviewing the regulatory framework for medical devices, deriving from three EU directives. The Commission expects to publish its proposals for new medical devices le...More Button

The Chief Medical Officer of my Department has met and is engaging with the treating clinics with a view to ensuring that best practice and patient support is paramount in the service provided to c...More Button

The PIP Action Group also met the Chief Medical Officer and IMB officials on Friday 23rd March last and discussed their very reasonable concerns. The meeting was very constructive and the focus wa...More Button

Finally, I am pleased to note that one major provider has dealt very well and responsibly with its patients. All providers should act in a reasonable and responsible manner to their clients and I ...More Button

Was asked: if in view of the PIP scandal it is his intention to introduce a regulatory body to govern medical devices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Care of the Elderly

Was asked: his plans regarding the funding and staffing of Health Service Executive care homes for older persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Health Action Plan

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the Health Service Executive Regional Plan 2012 for the South More Button

The Regional Service Plan for the South sets out the type and volume of service the HSE will provide directly, or through a range of funded agencies, in that region during 2012. In line with the N...More Button

As outlined in the Plan, the HSE will seek to minimise the impact on front line services in the region by fast tracking new, innovative and more efficient ways of using reducing resources. It shou...More Button

My Department continues to work with the HSE to mitigate the impact of retirements and to ensure that the contingency plans are operating satisfactorily and that all critical front line services co...More Button

Written Answers - Medicinal Products

Was asked: the steps he will take with the manufacturer of the cancer drug (details supplied) to reduce its price to the Health Service Executive in order that the 200 people per year here who have advanced m...More Button

The HSE’s National Cancer Control Programme has overall responsibility for providing access to appropriate treatments that meet clinical needs, including emerging drug treatments. e drug to ...More Button

Written Answers - Medical Cards

Was asked: if he has issued or will issue instructions in relation to medical card applications from persons who previously benefitted from the free dispensing of psychiatric medication by mental health servi...More Button

Was asked: the number of women who hold special medical cards based on their having been subjected to the disturbing procedure of symphysiotomy; the entitlements that such cards convey on their holders; when ...More Button

Was asked: the review being carried out of medical cards, the number of persons over 70 years that have been disqualified; the number of persons under 70 years that have been disqualified; and if he will make...More Button

Was asked: the review being carried out of medical cards, the number of persons over 70 years that have been disqualified, how many people under 70 years have been disqualified; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

Was asked: if a medical card will be issued immediately to persons (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and of he will expedite the matter. More Button

Was asked: the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9 More Button

Was asked: the position regarding a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11; if further documentation is still required for the application to be processed; and if a de...More Button

Was asked: the reason a medical card has not yet been issued to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) in County Limerick has not received a medical card after applying for it five months ago; the reason no effort was made by the client registration unit after ...More Button

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) in County Limerick has not received a medical card which was put on hold on 2 December 2011 when the Health Service Executive requested further documentation ...More Button

Was asked: when a decision will issue on a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if a review of a medical card application will be expedited and approved in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny More Button

Was asked: if an appeal for a medical card will be expedited in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Kilkenny More Button

Was asked: if he will arrange an immediate review of an application for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny More Button

Was asked: if a medical card will be approved in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny More Button

Was asked: the position regarding a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; if he will expedite the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the position regarding an appeal against the decision to refuse an application for a full medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

Was asked: if an appeal for a medical card will be expedited in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny More Button

Was asked: the position regarding an appeal against the decision to refuse an application for a full medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 529 of 6 March 2012, the reason that the issue raised has not been rectified. More Button

Was asked: if he will expedite an application for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he has in mind any proposals to reduce the waiting period for medical cards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Closures

Was asked: if any small hospitals will be closed either as part of reconfiguration or due to budgetary measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As Minister for Health my primary concern is the safety of patients. Much of the recent debate about the future role of smaller hospitals has been prompted by the need to deliver safe services and...More Button

The Government intends to publish a framework for the development of smaller hospitals, which will set out the way these hospitals provide services to patients and how they work within their region...More Button

In developing the framework, the Government is clear that:More Button

This framework will demonstrate clearly that the future of smaller hospitals is secure. It will set out what services can and should be delivered safely by these hospitals in the interest of better...More Button

I also believe that we must concentrate on getting the best possible services for patients from the budgets available to us. This means we need to focus on the throughput of patients, on reducing l...More Button

The organisation of hospital services nationally, regionally and locally will be informed by the work of the inter-related clinical programmes which aim to improve service quality, effectiveness an...More Button

Was asked: if he will require the Health Service Executive to reverse plans to close St. Brigid’s, Crooksling, County Dublin and to fully utilise it, providing the necessary upgrade and retaining it as ...More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Services

Was asked: the additional resources and supports that will be provided to Crumlin Children’s Hospital, Dublin in view of the unacceptable conditions there and in view of the further delay in the develop...More Button

Was asked: the additional resources and supports that will be provided to Tallaght Hospital, Dublin, in view of the unacceptable conditions there and in view of the further delay in the development of the Nat...More Button

Was asked: the additional resources and supports that will be provided to Temple Street Hospital, Dublin, in view of the unacceptable conditions there and in view of the delay in the development of the Nation...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 21, 42 and 69 together.More Button

This is a very challenging year for the health services given the extreme financial pressures and public sector moratorium. However, the budget adjustments for Our Lady’s Children’s Hos...More Button

There has been substantial investment in paediatric services in the region in areas such as Intensive Care, Accident and Emergency Department services, Rheumatology, Dermatology, Neurology and Card...More Button

Was asked: the fact that the Health Service Executive has confirmed that its service plan is out of date, if the number of community hospital beds closed this year may be greater than 900; when he expects to ...More Button

Was asked: if he will reverse the under-funding of Letterkenny General Hospital, County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.More Button

Question No. 61 answered with Question No. 43.More Button

Question No. 62 answered with Question No. 55.More Button

Was asked: if he has discussed with his northern counterpart the potential of cross-border co-operation in the area of neurology, specifically the potential of the Erne Hospital at Enniskillen, County Fermana...More Button

There is a high level of cooperation in existence between the service providers in both jurisdictions in the border corridor, led and supported by the Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) organ...More Button

In both health and social care sectors there is a positive focus on building on past and current achievements and in assessing opportunities which will prove beneficial to the populations in both j...More Button

Recently, Senior HSE service managers from the border corridor area visited the New South West Hospital in Enniskillen for a familiarisation visit organised by CAWT. At this point in time the indic...More Button

The regional Neurology Service in Sligo is currently expanding under the National Clinical Programmes with the agreement for the appointment of a second Neurologist. Recruitment for this post has a...More Button

Question No. 65 answered with Question No. 49.More Button

Question No. 66 answered with Question No. 27.More Button

Question No. 67 answered with Question No. 31.More Button

Was asked: the new critical care unit in the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, when the unit will open and when it will begin functioning; the arrangements being put in place to ensure sufficient staff...More Button

In relation to the new critical care block I understand that it will be completed by June 2012 and a period of commissioning will then follow.More Button

The decision to open and close beds is made at hospital management level and approved by the Regional Director of Operations.More Button

I believe we must concentrate on getting the best possible services for patients from the budgets available to us. The work of the Special Delivery Unit, together with implementation of the Clinic...More Button

In relation to the specific information sought by the Deputy, as these are service issues they have been referred to the HSE for direct reply.More Button

Question No. 71 answered with Question No. 29.More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will be called for cataract surgery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I am determined to address the issues which cause unacceptable delays in patients receiving treatment in our hospitals. In this regard I have established the Special Delivery Unit (SDU), which will...More Button

As a priority, public hospitals were instructed to ensure that, by the end of 2011, they had no patients waiting more than 12 months for treatment. I can confirm that the vast majority of hospital...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply. Should the patient’s general practitioner consider that the patient’s condition warrants an earlier appoin...More Button

Was asked: when an appointment will be arranged in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I am determined to address the issues which cause unacceptable delays in patients receiving treatment in our hospitals. In this regard I have established the Special Delivery Unit (SDU), which will...More Button

As a priority, public hospitals were instructed to ensure that, by the end of 2011, they had no patients waiting more than 12 months for treatment. I can confirm that the vast majority of hospital...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply. Should the patient’s general practitioner consider that the patient’s condition warrants an earlier appoin...More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will be called for cataract surgery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I am determined to address the issues which cause unacceptable delays in patients receiving treatment in our hospitals. In this regard I have established the Special Delivery Unit (SDU), which will...More Button

As a priority, public hospitals were instructed to ensure that, by the end of 2011, they had no patients waiting more than 12 months for treatment. I can confirm that the vast majority of hospital...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply. Should the patient’s general practitioner consider that the patient’s condition warrants an earlier appoin...More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny will receive an appointment for surgery at St. Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I am determined to address the issues which cause unacceptable delays in patients receiving treatment in our hospitals. In this regard I have established the Special Delivery Unit (SDU), which will...More Button

As a priority, public hospitals were instructed to ensure that, by the end of 2011, they had no patients waiting more than 12 months for treatment. I can confirm that the vast majority of hospital...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply. Should the patient’s general practitioner consider that the patient’s condition warrants an earlier appoin...More Button

Questions Nos. 561 to 563, inclusive, answered with Question No. 32.More Button

Was asked: the conditions attached to the Special Delivery Unit funding available for funding of step-down facilities private community nursing homes for patients at University College Hospital Galway; if he ...More Button

The health sector is facing significant funding challenges this year because of the economic crisis and the need to put public finances on a sustainable basis. However as Minister for Health I am...More Button

Towards the end of 2011 Galway was identified as one of eight hospitals that required very high support by the Special Delivery Unit (SDU) in relation to trolley waits. Based on proposals received...More Button

Over €4.8m was made available to 16 hospitals throughout the country for specific planned outcomes. Funding released was specific to the immediate mobilisation of these initiatives and could ...More Button

In addition, the SDU established a process of collecting numbers waiting on trolleys in each Hospital ED on a daily basis at three specific times and rating each hospital as Green, Amber or Red. T...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding a hospital appointment in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5 More Button

I am determined to address the issues which cause unacceptable delays in patients receiving treatment in our hospitals. In this regard I have established the Special Delivery Unit (SDU), which will...More Button

By the end of 2011, very significant progress had been made on SDU initiatives in relation to unscheduled care and inpatient/day case targets. Work has now begun on access to Outpatient services, ...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply. Should the patient’s general practitioner consider that the patient’s condition warrants an earlier appoin...More Button

Was asked: the impact of budget cuts on local acute service and his plans for the development of services at the Galway Roscommon hospital group More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.More Button

Written Answers - Ambulance Service

Was asked: if he will instruct the Health Service Executive to develop a national transfer pool for paramedic staff which will enable the movement of paramedic staff between ambulance regions in view of the f...More Button

I am informed by the HSE that the Director of the National Ambulance Service has recently responded to representations in relation to this case. The individual concerned has been informed that the ...More Button

Questions No. 23 answered with Question No. 9.More Button

Was asked: the results of the recent ambulance response times study and future plans for the development of the ambulance service. More Button

In response to the publication of the HIQA Key Performance Indicators, the HSE National Ambulance Service (NAS) has developed a Performance Improvement Action Plan. In line with the national KPI&r...More Button

However, key to further significant progress on improving response times is the issue of using emergency ambulances for planned inter-hospital transfers. The continued use of emergency ambulances i...More Button

Among the options which I am considering to free up emergency capacity is the use of an intermediate care service. Vehicles with a greater patient-carrying capacity are employed as a dedicated reso...More Button

Was asked: the progress made towards the meeting of emergency response time targets by the country’s ambulance services; his plans to ensure that these targets are met across all counties; and if he wil...More Button

In response to the publication of the HIQA Key Performance Indicators, the HSE National Ambulance Service (NAS) has developed a Performance Improvement Action Plan. In line with the national KPI&r...More Button

However, key to further significant progress on improving response times is the issue of using emergency ambulances for planned inter-hospital transfers. The continued use of emergency ambulances i...More Button

Among the options which I am considering to free up emergency capacity is the use of an intermediate care service. Vehicles with a greater patient-carrying capacity are employed as a dedicated reso...More Button

Was asked: if he thinks it is appropriate that an ambulance driver seeking a transfer within the service from one region to another is currently having to resign their post and reapply for their position in t...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.More Button

Was asked: if he will provide details of the number of ambulance drivers seeking transfers who are currently on the national panel; the numbers, length of time waiting and their class category More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.More Button

Was asked: if he will set out the success rate, that is, the percentage of ambulance arriving at the scene of an emergency within the target time by county or by the lowest organisation division for which the...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Reports

Was asked: the reason for the delay in publishing the report on mortality rates at acute hospitals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Chief Medical Officer of my Department has been working on a report entitled ‘Health Care Quality Indicators in the Irish Health System: Examining the Potential of Hospital Discharge Data&rs...More Button

The work to date demonstrates the value of using HIPE as a tool to derive knowledge and understanding of health care quality. However, this work has also uncovered variation in the accuracy of data...More Button

I am concerned about this finding in relation to data quality, given its potential patient safety implications. I believe there is a duty on all hospitals to take steps to ensure that the informati...More Button

Concerns have been raised by certain hospitals and clinicians that the report, which seeks only to examine quality of data, could be either inadvertently or deliberately misinterpreted as making in...More Button

The CMO expects to publish the ‘Health Care Quality Indicators in the Irish Health System: Examining the Potential of Hospital Discharge Data’ report in the near future.More Button

Was asked: when he intends publishing the Walsh Report; if he will advise its terms of reference; the extent of the consultation and engagement with informed voices and, very especially, with victims of symph...More Button

Was asked: if he will provide more than one symphysiotomy liaison officer in the country More Button

Was asked: if he will ensure that all victims of symphysiotomy are automatically entitled to a medical card More Button

Was asked: if he will ensure that all victims and survivors of symphysiotomy receive access to all clinical support needed and that this access should be readily available More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 32 and 561 to 563, inclusive, together. More Button

My Department has received a draft report from the independent academic researcher who was appointed to complete a report into the practice of symphysiotomy in Ireland. As I outlined in the D&aacut...More Button

I asked the Attorney General to consider the draft research report and I have just received her advice. There is no legal impediment to publishing the research with certain clarifications included....More Button

I am determined to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion for all women concerned as soon as possible. I am very conscious of the distress that this procedure has caused to a number of wome...More Button

Patients who underwent this procedure have been granted full GMS eligibility on medical grounds and are issued on application with a medical card from the HSE. Other services available to the women...More Button

The HSE has recently nominated a National Lead Officer for Symphysiotomy who is now in place. The regional liaison officer referred to by the Deputy is in place in the Dublin North-East area and it...More Button

Was asked: the date on which the report compiled by Dr. Darina O’Flanagan for his Department relating to the relationship between narcolepsy and or cataplexy and the Swine Flu vaccination Pandemrix, wil...More Button

The HSE is currently ascertaining the number of narcolepsy and or cataplexy cases that may be associated with Pandemrix vaccination. All cases will be offered a multidisciplinary assessment by the...More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Staff

Was asked: his views in response to claims from senior management concerning the capacity to ensure safe deliveries of new born babies continue in the context of the cuts in mid wife numbers; and if he will m...More Button

Was asked: if he is confident that maternity services continue to be delivered safely following the conclusion of the early retirement scheme; if he will be recruiting additional staff to ensure that standard...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 25 and 37 together.More Button

The impact of the recent retirements requires a range of strategic national responses, together with specific local responses. I have requested the HSE to prioritise the ongoing delivery of safe se...More Button

Planning for the delivery of health services is undertaken within the context of the annual National Service Planning process. This process ensures that all factors, including budgets and staffing ...More Button

Detailed planning for retirements in the period to the end of February 2012 commenced in October last and has also been intensified at local service level as the numbers and locations of those leav...More Button

The HSE is continuing to utilize the provisions of the Public Service Agreement 2010 to 2014 (the “Croke Park Agreement”) as it seeks to change staff rosters, work practices and to redeploy staff. ...More Button

There are a number of additional allocations set out in the HSE’s National Service plan that will assist in minimising the impact of the retirements on services, to include:More Button

The HSE has assured me that the implementation of the contingency plans is continuing to be monitored and that maternity services continue to be delivered safely following the conclusion of the ear...More Button

Was asked: when the Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, County Louth, received notice from an orthopaedic paediatrician (details supplied) of their intention to resign on 17 December 2011; the reason the position w...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: the number of consultant neurologists in the public health service here; the hospital in which they work; if he considers this an [717]adequate number per capita; his pl...More Button

The HSE Clinical Programmes Directorate are currently developing appropriate models of care to ensure the delivery of safe and effective services across epilepsy, stroke services and neurology outp...More Button

Was asked: the number of hospital consultants in breach of the working time directive; if he is concerned that this may impact on the safe delivery of services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Consultants working in the public health service are employed under a number of contracts. Consultants employed under the 1991 and 1997 Consultant Contracts are contracted to work 33 hours a week,...More Button

The European Working Time Directive and related case law from the European Court of Justice define working time as time spent at a place determined by the employer while performing duties on behalf...More Button

Irrespective of contract, many consultants are liable to provide on-call services and attend on-site outside of contracted hours. Consultants employed on the 2008 Contract may be required formally ...More Button

While consultants have work schedules documenting contracted hours, they do not formally ‘clock-in’ or participate in other means of recording time spent on-call on-site. The HSE does not th...More Button

My immediate priority is to achieve more effective implementation of the 2008 Contract so that patients get faster access to services and achieve better outcomes within the budgets available to hos...More Button

Was asked: the number of paediatric neurologists in each hospital here; the change since last year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the number of paediatric neurologists who availed of the early retirement scheme; if he intends to replace any of them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the effects the Mid-Western Regional Hospital’s decision not to renew the contract of its paediatric neurologists; if he will review the decision; and if he...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 557 to 559, inclusive, together.More Button

As these are service matters, they have been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.More Button

Was asked: the steps which he is taking to deal with the shortage of non-consultant hospital doctors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As of 23rd March, the majority of NCHD posts (both training posts and service posts) have been filled normally. Currently, where staffing issues exist, there are sufficient agency staff filling pos...More Button

Approximately 80% of NCHD posts are recruited for and filled by the postgraduate training bodies as part of their training schemes. These posts may be either in HSE hospitals or in voluntary hospit...More Button

To address the filling of vacant service posts in July, the HSE National Recruitment Service launched a national centralised application process on 14 February 2012. This is intended to provide a ...More Button

My Department will be closely monitoring the position over the coming months.More Button

Question No. 600 answered with Question No. 46.More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 599 of 13 march 2012, the other medical equipment currently unused in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, County Louth, as a result of the lack of availabl...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 599 of 13 March 2012, if he will take steps to lift the embargo on the dieticians posts that were advertised, offered and accepted but are now frozen due to th...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 599 of 13 March 2012, the treatment currently being received by the six children who could avail of insulin pumps were it not for the recruitment embargo More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 603, 619 and 620 together.More Button

As these are service issues, they have been referred to the HSE for direct reply.More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Accommodation

Was asked: the number and location of public community hospitals and nursing homes across the country; the number of beds in these hospitals; his plans to extend the range of services especially outpatient se...More Button

Was asked: if he will expand the role of community hospitals and the services that they can offer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Voluntary Sector Funding

Was asked: the controls he can implement on the salaries of CEOs of certain disability charities, NGOs and voluntary hospitals such as Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross, St. Francis Hospice, Dubl...More Button

Was asked: the controls he will implement on the salaries of CEOs of certain disability charities, NGOs and voluntary hospitals, such as Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross, St. Francis Hospice, Du...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 27 and 66 together.More Button

Voluntary organisations in a variety of service areas within the health service are funded by the Health Service Executive under either Section 38 or 39 of the Health Act 2004.More Button

Organisations funded under Section 38 of the Act provide health or personal social services on behalf of the HSE. Staff in these organisations are considered public servants and the standard rates ...More Button

A review by the Health Service Executive in 2011 found some instances where the standard rates of pay for the public health service were not being applied in bodies funded under Section 38 of the 2...More Button

Other organisations may receive grants from the HSE under Section 39 of the Health Act 2004 to provide a service similar or ancillary to a service that the HSE may provide. Staff in such independen...More Button

Our Lady’s Hospice is funded under Section 38 of the Health Act 2004, while St. Francis Hospice and Marymount Hospice are grant-aided under Section 39 of the Act.More Button

Written Answers - Health Insurance

Was asked: the context of his plans for universal health insurance, his intentions for the VHI; if it will be broken up; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Programme for Government provides for the VHI to remain in State ownership in order to provide a publicly-owned health insurance option when the new system of Universal Health Insurance (UHI) i...More Button

I am currently examining how best to address the imbalance in the structure of the private health insurance market in the overall context of a move towards UHI. This is being considered against a b...More Button

The Department will continue to work with the Commission to progress a range of issues relating to the legal status of the VHI. It is making good progress in relation to these and will press ahead...More Button

Was asked: if he will request the VHI to desist from using the Government health insurance levy as a means of preventing persons in financial difficulties from downgrading their policies; and if he will make ...More Button

Was asked: if, in view of the reports that VHI are allowing customers who have been made redundant downgrade their policies without penalty, he accepts the VHI explanation that they must charge other customer...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 55 and 62 together.More Button

VHI is required by law under the Health Insurance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 to provide contracts of insurance that are 12 months in duration. While insurers provide a facility to consume...More Button

In respect of policies renewing or commencing in 2012, the current Scheme of Age-Related Tax Credits and Community Rating Levy provides for the payment by insurers of a levy of €285 per adult....More Button

I understand that, where customers cancel their cover mid-policy (and pay the normal penalties for breaking their contract), I treats them as if they were a new customer, with waiting periods apply...More Button

Section 8(5) of the Health Insurance Act 1994 (as amended in 2001) refers to the cessation of a contract with an insurer and the subsequent effecting of a contract with a different insurer. This se...More Button

The Health Insurance Authority (HIA) is the independent regulator of the private health insurance market in Ireland and provides information to consumers regarding their rights and health insurance...More Button

Question No. 56 answered with Question No. 26.More Button

Question No. 57 answered with Question No. 51.More Button

Written Answers - Health Service Staff

Was asked: the final number of staff who left the Health Service Executive’s mental health services by the end of February; the number of same who were psychiatric nurses; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

Was asked: the final number of staff who left the health services by the end of February deadline; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 29 and 71 together.More Button

The most recent figures available (as at 9 March) indicate that approximately 4,500 staff left the health service in the period between September 2011 and end-February 2012. Final figures are expe...More Button

The provisional number of staff who left the Health Service Executive’s mental health services by end-February was 645. Of these, 450 were in the Nursing staff category which, in addition to...More Button

In this context, the HSE’s Service Plan includes a commitment to reduce acute in-patient capacity by a minimum of 153 beds nationally in 2012, in line with the recommendations of A Vision ...More Button

The HSE is also using the provisions of the Public Service Agreement to bring about greater flexibilities in work practices and rosters, redeployment and other changes to achieve more efficient del...More Button

Was asked: the number of child mental health teams, early intervention teams and disability teams for children that are short of staff as a result of the moratorium on recruitment; and if he will make a state...More Button

Was asked: the number of child mental health teams, early intervention teams and disability teams for children that are short of staff as a result of the moratorium on recruitment; and if he will make a state...More Button

Was asked: the actions he intends to take to fill vacant consultant and social worker posts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: if he will outline the expected total numbers of staff retirements from the Health Service Executive in 2012; if he will outline the expected cost to the HSE budget for all expected retirements, in...More Button

Was asked: if he will ask the Health Service Executive to redraft its service plans for this year in view of the higher than expected number of early retirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 49 and 65 together. More Button

The HSE National Service Plan 2012 acknowledged that there will be an inevitable and unavoidable reduction in services this year because of the scale of the financial and staffing challenges facing...More Button

In the period September 2011 to February 2012 approximately 4,500 members of staff retired from the health service. My Department continues to work closely with the HSE to ensure that the contingen...More Button

The planning assumption used during the preparation of the HSE’s 2012 National Service Plan was that the HSE would have to meet the costs associated with the retirement of about 3,500 people,...More Button

As mentioned above, the latest figures available from the HSE indicate that some 4,500 personnel retired between September 2011 and February 2012. Once the data on actual lump sums and pensions is...More Button

It should also be noted that there may be further retirements during the year outside the “grace period” arrangements. There is no information available at present in relation to such potential ret...More Button

Was asked: the recommendations by the legal aspects of professional home care as reported by the Law Reform Commission (details supplied), his views that such recommendations should be implemented immediately...More Button

Was asked: when the new Health Service Executive director of mental health will be appointed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he will provide in tabular form the number of non-core staff, their grades and overall salary costs per grade whole time equivalents, part-time and contract staff in the Health Service Executive...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: the total number of employees in administration and management roles in the Health Service Executive Dublin north east region who have availed of the retirement package in 2012 broken down by job a...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: if he will provide in tabular form the non medical salary costs for each office and facility in the Health Service Executive Dublin north east region including full time, part time and contract sta...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: the total number of staff for each office and facility in the Health Service Executive Dublin north east region who have availed of the severance package in 2012 broken down by level or rank of sta...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.More Button

Question No. 633 answered with Question No. 14.More Button

Was asked: the number of Health Service Executive staff who availed of the 2012 retirement arrangement who have been re-engaged by the Executive on a contract or agency basis or otherwise; if he will provide ...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: if he will list the number of nurses who retired on or before 29 February 2012, who have been hired back through agencies by the Health Service Executive or other hospitals funded by the State and ...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy. More Button

The Government’s priority is to reform how health services are delivered, in order to ensure a more productive and cost-effective health system. The primary aim of the 29 February ‘grace peri...More Button

Written Answers - Health Services

Was asked: if he will take measures in 2012 [707]to address the major deficit in orthodontic services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the Health Service Executive Regional Plan 2012 for Dublin/Mid-Leinster More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the Health Service Executive Regional Plan 2012 for Dublin/North-East More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the Health Service Executive Regional Plan 2012 for the West More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 43, 44 and 61 together. More Button

The Regional Service Plans set out the type and volume of service the HSE will provide directly, or through a range of funded agencies, during 2012. In line with the National Service Plan, the Reg...More Button

My Department continues to work with the HSE to mitigate the impact of retirements and to ensure that the contingency plans are operating satisfactorily and that all critical front line services co...More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the progress and on the development of a National Plan/Strategy for Rare Diseases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Ireland has been supportive of the EU proposals on rare disease which concluded with a council recommendation in June 2009. The end point is that countries are recommended to develop plans or strat...More Button

In April 2011, I established a National Steering Group to develop a policy framework for the prevention, detection and treatment of rare diseases based on the principles of high quality care, equit...More Button

An integral part of an effective policy framework will be the development of a dedicated HSE clinical programme. A proposal has been submitted to the HSE’s National Director of Clinical Stra...More Button

In addition the steering group is planning to consult with patients and key stakeholders in early summer on the broad proposals and recommendations that will emerge.More Button

It is expected that the steering group will submit a plan to me during the latter half of this year.More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the development of a primary care centre (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will outline the next steps in the process. More Button

Was asked: the reason SouthDoc refused to make a house call to a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy as a matter of urgency.More Button

Was asked: the position regarding a specific application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. More Button

Was asked: his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the position regarding funding (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he will review a case in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9 More Button

Was asked: the reason for the delay in awarding speech and language therapy and occupational therapy to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare More Button

Was asked: his views on the effects of budget cuts on persons with disabilities trying to achieve independent living which has resulted in a reduction in services with serious consequences; his further views ...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding a long term care plan in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9 More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the proposed closure and or cuts to nursing homes around the country that have been actively opposed by local communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the psychotherapy services that are available nationally to children within the child protection area; the long-term service available; the number of children receiving these services; the ages of ...More Button

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kerry cannot be referred to a hospital More Button

The Health Service Executive (HSE) operates a Treatment Abroad Scheme (TAS), for persons entitled to treatment in another EU/EEA member state or Switzerland under EU Regulations and in accordance w...More Button

The HSE has stated that it has not received an application under the scheme on behalf of the patient referred to by the Deputy. An application form has now been sent to his parents.More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to any consolidation in the delivery of services by the Brothers of Charity in the mid west region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the details of the funding model for the development of primary care centres around the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: his policy position on the use of private funding for the development of primary care centres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he has any concerns that the pillar banks are frustrating Ireland’s primary care strategy; if he has been made aware of any instances where this is happening; and if he will make a stateme...More Button

Was asked: if he has had any discussions with the Department of Finance in relation to the pillar banks refusing funding for the development of primary care centres; and if he will make a statement on the mat...More Button

Was asked: if he has discussed or has any plans to discuss with the Department of Finance the fact that Bank of Ireland recently removed funding for the development of the Wicklow primary care centre in Greys...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 623 to 625, inclusive, and 627 and 628 together.More Button

The development of primary care is central to this Government’s objective to deliver a high quality, integrated and cost effective health system. The Programme for Government states that pri...More Button

There are always more construction projects than can be funded from the Exchequer’s capital health care allocation. This primary care centre model offers a good fit for private sector financ...More Button

It was the HSE’s intention that the majority of primary care centres would be provided by the private sector through the leasing mechanism. Primary care centres in deprived urban areas, smal...More Button

I am aware that there are reports of financing difficulties being experienced by developers of primary care centres. Although the Executive enters into agreements for lease with developers, it is ...More Button

While there are many reasons why financial institutions decide to refuse finance, neither my Department nor the Executive is party to these private negotiations. Banks operate in an arms’ le...More Button

I have not had discussions with the Department of Finance in relation to these matters.More Button

The primary care centre in question referred to by the Deputy is located in Wicklow town where the Health Service Executive proposes to deliver a primary care centre through a leasing arrangement w...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the waiting time to access child adolescent service in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Leitrim; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Liquor Licensing Laws

Was asked: if he has reviewed the recent Blanchardstown Alcohol Strategy 2012-2014; his views on whether any of the objectives especially in terms of supply, reduction and enforcement will be rolled out on a ...More Button

Was asked: if he has made any proposals to the Department of Justice in terms of the labelling of all alcohol items that are on sale through Section 22 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003 or any other legisla...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 31 and 67 together. More Button

My Department has received the strategy referred to by the Deputy and the pillars on which it is based — such as Prevention, Education, Supply, Treatment and Rehabilitation and Research and M...More Button

The National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group reported that it considered the possibility of regulations requiring the specific labelling of alcohol containers in order to combat secondary ...More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Waiting Lists

Was asked: the number of day case patient and elective inpatients on waiting lists at the end of 2010; if he will provide the same figure for the end of 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Special Delivery Unit was established in my Department last July to tackle patient wait times for hospital services. Unacceptably high wait times have been tolerated for too long and had become...More Button

The SDU immediately began work with the HSE and the NTPF on the problem of trolley waits and long waits for inpatient care. Last July I introduced a strict policy of chronological management of in...More Button

In August the SDU/NTPF identified that there were 9,657 patients waiting for treatment to meet the 12 month target. By the end of the year all but 372 had been treated.More Button

The challenge is not only to maintain the 12 month waiting time target for inpatient and day case procedures nationally but to continually improve and move to a 9 month maximum waiting time by the ...More Button

The NTPF is working constantly with hospitals to maintain the policy of chronological management, whilst taking into account the challenges arising from issues such as seasonal admissions / cost co...More Button

In relation to the specific questions raised by the Deputy in December 2010 the NTPF recorded 15,490 patients waiting for in patient treatment and 35,092 patients waiting day for day case treatment...More Button

Building on the achievements of 2011 the SDU will work with the NTPF, the HSE Clinical Programmes and hospitals to minimise patient waiting times in emergency departments and reduce waiting periods...More Button

Was asked: the average waiting time on trolleys at the start of 2012; the comparable figure at the start of 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Building on the achievements of 2011, the Special Delivery Unit (SDU) will work with the National Treatment Purchase Fund, the HSE Clinical Programmes and hospitals to minimise patient waiting time...More Button

The SDU is currently working on a refined methodology for recording Emergency Department waiting times for patients (PET) across the system. It is planned to have a number of hospitals reporting o...More Button

In relation to the Deputy’s question regarding trolley wait times the Business Information Unit of the HSE collects data from the INMO on trolley waits. I can confirm that there has been a r...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the waiting time to see a consultant at the prosthetic, orthotic, and limb absence rehabilitation unit at the Mercy University Hospital, Cork; and when a person (...More Button

I am determined to address the issues which cause unacceptable delays in patients receiving treatment in our hospitals. In this regard I have established the Special Delivery Unit (SDU), which will...More Button

As a priority, public hospitals were instructed to ensure that, by the end of 2011, they had no patients waiting more than 12 months for treatment. I can confirm that the vast majority of hospital...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply. Should the patient’s general practitioner consider that the patient’s condition warrants an earlier appoin...More Button

Was asked: if he will review a case in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9 More Button

I am determined to address the issues which cause unacceptable delays in patients receiving treatment in our hospitals. In this regard I have established the Special Delivery Unit (SDU), which wil...More Button

By the end of 2011, very significant progress had been made on SDU initiatives in relation to unscheduled care and inpatient/day case targets. Work has now begun on access to Outpatient services, ...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply. Should the patient’s general practitioner consider that the patient’s condition warrants an earlier appoi...More Button

Was asked: when a person details supplied) in County Galway will receive an appointment. More Button

I am determined to address the issues which cause unacceptable delays in patients receiving treatment in our hospitals. In this regard I have established the Special Delivery Unit (SDU), which wil...More Button

By the end of 2011, very significant progress had been made on SDU initiatives in relation to unscheduled care and inpatient/day case targets. Work has now begun on access to Outpatient services, ...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply. Should the patient’s general practitioner consider that the patient’s condition warrants an earlier appoi...More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be called for an operation; the reason for the delay in a date being given; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I am determined to address the issues which cause unacceptable delays in patients receiving treatment in our hospitals. In this regard I have established the Special Delivery Unit (SDU), which will...More Button

As a priority, public hospitals were instructed to ensure that, by the end of 2011, they had no patients waiting more than 12 months for treatment. I can confirm that the vast majority of hospital...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply. Should the patient’s general practitioner consider that the patient’s condition warrants an earlier appoin...More Button

Written Answers - General Practitioner Services

Was asked: his plans for the development of out-of-hours general practitioner services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the action he will take to address the general practitioner shortage; and the need for further GP training places; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Nursing Homes Support Scheme

Was asked: the way in which the setting of fees by nursing homes under the nursing home support scheme is monitored; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that some nursing homes are setting additional ...More Button

Was asked: if he will confirm the average waiting times per Health Service Executive region for dealing with applications under the fair deal scheme; the procedures that are in place to address delays in asse...More Button

Was asked: the entitlements qualifying patients in private nursing homes have to medical supplies and treatments in private nursing homes; if these entitlements differ to those patients who are in public nurs...More Button

Was asked: if funding for respite care is only available to patients using public nursing homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the savings made to date by changing the funding criteria under the fair deal scheme to one of date of approval versus the date of admission measurement; and if he will make a statement on the matt...More Button

Written Answers - Electricity Transmission Network

Was asked: the action he proposes to take to protect the health of children along the route of Eirgrid’s east west interconnector, in view of the serious professional opinion (details supplied) More Button

I have written to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural resources about the information supplied on this issue, and I have also communicated with the Minister for Environment, Communi...More Button

Question No. 42 answered with Question No. 21.More Button

Written Answers - Accident and Emergency Services

Was asked: the 24 hour accident and emergency services at St. Columcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown, Dublin, and the review being carried out by a project steering group, when the outcome of this review ...More Button

Was asked: the 24 hour accident and emergency services at St. Columcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown, Dublin, and the review being carried out by a project steering group, when the outcome of this review ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 51 and 57 together. More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.More Button

Written Answers - Primary Care Strategy

Was asked: when he envisages the opening of the new primary care centre that will cover Palmerstown, Dublin 20; the stage at which the plans for a primary care centre for Clondalkin are at; the stage at which...More Button

Was asked: when he envisages the opening of the new Primary Care Centre that will cover Palmerstown, Dublin 20; at what stage are the plans for a primary care centre fro Clondalkin, Dublin,; at what stage the...More Button

Written Answers - Hospitals Building Programme

Was asked: if he will report on the work of the group he established in the wake of the refusal of An Bórd Pleanála to grant permission for the National Children’s Hospital plan for the Ma...More Button

I am committed to ensuring the delivery of a world class hospital for the children of Ireland providing the highest quality treatment they deserve. This project is one of the main priorities for t...More Button

The decision to refuse planning for the new children’s hospital was disappointing. Immediately following the decision I announced my intention to establish a Review Group to consider the dec...More Button

”To inform itself about the planning considerations and processes affecting this project.More Button

To consider the different options which now exist for progressing the construction of a national children’s hospital having regard to—More Button

To advise the him, in the light of these considerations, on the appropriate next steps to take with a view to ensuring that a national paediatric hospital can be constructed with minimal delay.More Button

To report to the Minister within 56 days of the first meeting of the group.”More Button

The aim of this Review is to consider all the possible options for the earliest possible delivery of a new children’s hospital. The Review Group will present their findings on each of the po...More Button

I have appointed Dr Frank Dolphin to Chair the Review Group. There is a wealth of expertise on the group. The membership is composed of senior planners, an architect, the CEO of a major UK Paediat...More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the need for a National Paediatric Hospital. More Button

I am committed to ensuring the delivery of a world class hospital for the children of Ireland providing the highest quality treatment they deserve. The challenges presented by the current infrastr...More Button

The decision to refuse planning for the new children’s hospital was disappointing. Immediately following the decision I announced my intention to establish a Review Group to consider the dec...More Button

The aim of this Review is to consider all the possible options for the earliest possible delivery of a new children’s hospital. The Review Group will present their findings on each of the po...More Button

I have appointed Dr. Frank Dolphin to Chair the Review Group. There is a wealth of expertise on the group. The membership is composed of senior planners, an architect, the CEO of a major UK Paedia...More Button

Question No. 587 answered with Question No. 63.More Button

Was asked: if he anticipates delays to the completion of the Children’s Hospital following An Bord Pleanala’s decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I am committed to ensuring the delivery of a world class hospital for the children of Ireland providing the highest quality treatment they deserve. This project is one of the main priorities for t...More Button

The decision to refuse planning for the new children’s hospital was disappointing. Immediately following the decision I announced my intention to establish a Review Group to consider the dec...More Button

The aim of this Review is to consider all the possible options for the earliest possible delivery of a new children’s hospital. The Review Group will present their findings on each of the po...More Button

I have appointed Dr Frank Dolphin to Chair the Review Group. There is a wealth of expertise on the group. The membership is composed of senior planners, an architect, the CEO of a major UK Paediat...More Button

Was asked: the exploratory work he has carried out with a view to relocating the national children’s hospital in Mullingar, County Westmeath; if the review group which he set up has visited the town; an...More Button

Was asked: if he expects the expert group now examining the issue of the location, scale, quality of the proposed children’s hospital is likely to recommend a single or particular locations from which h...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 602 and 656 together.More Button

I am committed to ensuring the delivery of a world class hospital for the children of Ireland providing the highest quality treatment they deserve. This project is one of the main priorities for t...More Button

The decision to refuse planning for the new children’s hospital was disappointing. Immediately following the decision I announced my intention to establish a Review Group to consider the dec...More Button

The aim of this Review is to consider all the possible options for the earliest possible delivery of a new children’s hospital. The Review Group will present their findings on each of the po...More Button

I have appointed Dr Frank Dolphin to Chair the Review Group. There is a wealth of expertise on the group. The membership is composed of senior planners, an architect, the CEO of a major UK Paedia...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Funding

Was asked: the grant or support available to a group (details supplied) in Dublin 5. More Button

My Department administers a National Lottery Discretionary Fund from which once-off grants are paid to community and voluntary organisations, providing a range of health related services. If an or...More Button

Question No. 542 answered with Question No. 14.More Button

Was asked: his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Mental Health Services

Was asked: the Mental Health Commission report regarding the transfer of five residents from an open to a locked ward in St. Brendan’s Hospital, Dublin in December 2011, resulting in the closed unit bei...More Button

Was asked: his views on the creation of youth mental health teams including psychiatrists, psychologists and nurses to address and enhance mental health services for young persons; if he is initiating any mea...More Button

Was asked: if recruitment of the 414 staff for mental health services, as announced in the Health Service Executive service plan 2012, has begun; the number of posts that have been filled; the number of menta...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which psychiatric services are coordinated on a Europe wide basis; if children’s services are compared on any such basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Drugs Payment Scheme

Was asked: if he will report on the availability of the important medicine (details supplied) given its high cost especially for citizens who do not have a medical card; and if he will make a statement on the...More Button

Was asked: if the important medicine (details supplied) is available through the drugs refund scheme given its high cost in particular for citizens who do not have a medical card; and if he will make a statem...More Button

Written Answers - Services for People with Disabilities

Was asked: if he will reverse his Department's Health Service Executive 2012 disability cuts of 3.7%; if he will reverse his decision to cut the personal assistant hours in view of the detrimental effect it i...More Button

Was asked: if he is satisfied that the physical developmental needs of children with cerebral palsy are being met within the State education system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the reason fibromyalgia does not present in any of the disability categories of the national physical and sensory disability database published at the end of 2010; his plans to have it included in ...More Button

Was asked: the courses available for persons with disabilities to participate in to help them make the transition to independent living; the way persons can apply for these courses; and if he will make a stat...More Button

Written Answers - Substance Misuse Strategy

Was asked: if an action plan has been developed as a result of the report by the steering group on a national substance misuse strategy; the time frame that is envisioned for its implementation; and if he wil...More Button

The report of the National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group in relation to alcohol was only recently launched and is encouraging public debate. I envisage an Action Plan being developed in ...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Staff

Was asked: if he will provide a list of staff in his Department that serve as directors of companies arising from their employment; the names of the companies involved; the annual remuneration received, if an...More Button

The information requested is set out in the following table. Neither post attracts remuneration. More Button

The Office of the Attorney General has advised that people working for the State are indemnified for any reasonable legal fees and/or damages if they are sued for undertaking their duties on behalf...More Button

Written Answers - Food Labelling

Was asked: if he is entirely satisfied that food labelling and traceability regulations are fully enforced and enforceable throughout each EU member State; if adequate efforts are being made to prevent re-lab...More Button

In Ireland the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has service contracts in place with official agencies to carry out inspections in food businesses. These official agencies include the Health ...More Button

In 2010 the HSE carried out 70,630 inspections(which include specified risk materials and traceability) in the food businesses under their supervision; of these, 9,919 inspections found non-complia...More Button

In the other official agencies, food labelling and origin are checked at production level as part of routine food controls. The number of inspections specifically on food labels is not separately r...More Button

DAFM Egg and Poultry Inspectors verify compliance with labelling and the marketing standards for eggs and poultry from primary production through to retail. In 2010 DAFM undertook 1,359 inspections...More Button

Following on from the inspections the official agencies undertake appropriate enforcement action with the food businesses. They also verify that compliance is achieved. In most cases breaches of la...More Button

Where serious breaches of labelling are found, however, severe action is taken. For example, in May 2009 a prosecution was taken by the FSAI against a food business in Galway for breaches including...More Button

Written Answers - Ministerial Expenses

Was asked: the amount of expenses claimed on a monthly basis since March 2011 by all Ministers attached to his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The amount of expenses claimed by and paid to the Ministers of my Department on a monthly basis since March 2011 are set out in the following table:More Button

Written Answers - Law Reform Commission Review

Was asked: the Law Reform Commission report on legal aspects of professional home care, his plans to make regulations in respect of the provision of professional home care services; and if he will make a stat...More Button

Written Answers - Vaccination Programme

Was asked: the number of Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccinations that were administered to patients attending drug treatment, by treatment centre, by general practitioner or other, for example prisons, in Du...More Button

Was asked: the number of positive tests for either of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and dual positives among patients attending drug treatment, by treatment centre, by general practitioner or other, for example pr...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 590 and 591 together.More Button

The information requested has been sought from the HSE. I will arrange to have it forwarded to the Deputy shortly.More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the differences which exist across the regions in the administration of the BCG vaccine, with children in the west, in particular, not receiving the vaccine until...More Button

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) recommends that there is an universal BCG vaccination policy in place. Historically this happened in all parts of the country bar: More Button

The issue regarding antibiotic resistant bacterial strains as confirmed recently by the Society for General Microbiology is not relevant to whether BCG is available for newborns. The rates of multi...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the safety of the flu vaccine Pandemrix; if it is actually in the public interest; his views on whether it should be banned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Pandemrix is licensed for use across the EU by the European Medicines Agency for prevention of influenza caused by the H1N1 influenza virus.More Button

The indications for Pandemrix changed following an EU review of concerns about a link between vaccination with Pandemrix and narcolepsy in children and adolescents. This resulted in a recommendatio...More Button

The HSE has not recommended use of Pandemrix in Ireland since early 2011, when GPs were advised to return any remaining stocks to the HSE for disposal.More Button

Written Answers - Substance Abuse

Was asked: his views on the recommendations of the national substance misuse strategy steering group with regard to the problem of excessive youth alcohol consumption; which of the recommendations will be imp...More Button

The report of the National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group made a range of recommendations that impact directly and indirectly on the problem of excessive youth alcohol consumption. At thi...More Button

Written Answers - Cosmetic Products Regulation

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to a report in a newspaper (details supplied) on 21 November 2011 in relation to an suspected incident of a severe allergic reaction resulting in death, to the chemi...More Button

Written Answers - Food Safety Authority

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to research conducted on the possible carcinogenic properties of the sugar substitute aspartame; if he has done any research on aspartame; and if he will make a stat...More Button

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) have advised that the safety of aspartame, including the consideration of potential carcinogenicity, has been comprehensively evaluated by international ...More Button

Following some recent concerns regarding the safety of aspartame raised by several members of the European Parliament and the publication of several new studies on aspartame, EFSA will bring forwar...More Button

Written Answers - Proposed Legislation

Was asked: when he plans to publish the Health Service Executive governance Bill; and if he will be publishing heads of the Bill in advance More Button

I intend to bring legislative proposals to Government in the coming weeks to abolish the HSE Board structure under the Health Act 2004 and to provide for replacement governance structures and enhan...More Button

Written Answers - Primary Care Centres

Was asked: the development of primary care centres, if he will indicate the number of agreements entered into by the Health Service Executive which have been delayed because of a lack of finance from the bank...More Button

The management and delivery of the heath capital programme is a service matter. Therefore your question has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.More Button

Questions Nos. 627 and 628 answered with Question No. 623.More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Correspondence

Was asked: his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I have noted the correspondence that the Deputy has brought to my attention. At this juncture, the recommendations of the Steering Group are encouraging public debate and I envisage an Action Plan...More Button

Written Answers - Nursing Home Services

Was asked: the basis on which the cost of beds in public nursing homes are calculated; if he will indicate in tabular form the total all in cost of a place; the basis on which this is made up; the scale and q...More Button

Was asked: the basis on which the cost of beds in private nursing homes is calculated; if a figure is included to cater for profit or higher level administrative cost is included; if any such nursing homes ar...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he has compared the standard, quality and scale of service in private and public nursing homes and the dependability of the patients in each in the determination of a comparison...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which the psychological or medical assessment services are updated in line with demographic change in respect of the needs of older persons; and if he will make a statement on the mat...More Button

Was asked: the total number of patients in both private and public nursing homes on average over the past five years; the degree to which such numbers have fluctuated in the period in question; and if he will...More Button

Written Answers - Research and Development

Was asked: the extent to which State sponsored and private research co-operate or interacts in respect of research on major health issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Health research covers a diverse range of activities and applications. It is also funded from a number of State Departments and Agencies including the Department of Health (through the Health Rese...More Button

The Health Research Board (HRB) is a statutory body under the aegis of the Department of Health. It is the lead agency in Ireland supporting and funding health research. In 2011 the HRB received ...More Button

Most of the HRB awards are not specifically oriented towards industry collaboration; the focus of its research is in the area of patient-oriented research (clinical and clinical/biomedical research...More Button

In some areas of research collaboration may not be possible given the sometimes different stances of commercial enterprise and the health system; in others cooperation is desirable and supported. ...More Button

Grants awarded by the HRB including Clinician Scientist Awards, Translational Research Awards, Research Project Grants, and Clinical Research Facilities are often used to leverage additional fundin...More Button

The Action Plan for Health Research 2009-2013 aims to deliver a high performing health research system including an enhanced infrastructure for health research including fully functional and networ...More Button

Lastly I would like to refer the Deputy to this Government’s intention to progress a number of actions that will address some of the challenges faced by the health/life sciences sector:—More Button

I believe in the value of health research leading to informed action be that for the individual patient or the health service more generally. Knowledge derived from research is paramount in provid...More Button

Written Answers - Autism Spectrum Disorders

Was asked: the extent to which research is co-ordinated on an EU basis into such issues as Autism and Aspergers or similar heath matters affecting children; the degree to which levels here compared with other...More Button

Written Answers - National Lottery Funding

Was asked: if he will confirm the amount of National Lottery funds allocated to his Department; if the funds are spent on specific projects; if so, the name of the project; if the National Lottery fund is all...More Button

Department administers a National Lottery Discretionary Fund from which grants are paid to community and voluntary organisations providing a range of health related services. The funding available ...More Button

The HSE also operates its own National Lottery scheme. The funding available for 2012, and published in the Revised Estimates Volume (REV), is €9,986,000. Details of all the organisations fun...More Button

Written Answers - Appointments to State Boards

Was asked: if he will provide a full breakdown by gender of all appointments to State boards since February 2011; the current status of State boards in relation to the percentage of participation of women and...More Button

The Government decision S21590E of March, 1995 regarding the appointment of women to State Bodies states that there is a requirement for a minimum of 40% of both men and women appointed as Minister...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Equipment

Was asked: the number of laptops in use in his Department; the number of tablets in use in his Department; the number of the laptops in use that are due to be upgraded this year; and if he will make a stateme...More Button

There are 80 operational laptops and 2 tablet devices in use in my Department. The current infrastructure provides functionality and support for both device types. It is expected that 20% of the...More Button