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Harris, Simon

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Care of the Elderly Provision

Was asked: the number of new nursing home places, home care packages and home help hours he will introduce under the programme for Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Ambulance Service

Was asked: if he accepts the capacity review of the National Ambulance Service and its recommendations; if he will create a specific stand-alone yearly budget to implement it; when he will implement the recom...More Button

I thank Deputy O'Reilly for her question and I wish her well in her appointment as her party's spokesperson on health. I look forward to the debates that we will have in the Chamber. I hope that ...More Button

Last month, at my request the HSE published the National Ambulance Service capacity review with an action plan for implementation that incorporated the recommendations of the capacity review and ...More Button

It should be noted regarding the action plan that a number of the reviews' key recommendations are already being undertaken as part of a significant programme of reform and modernisation of the N...More Button

There is much more to do and the capacity review is a good roadmap, as is the action plan. My Department continues to engage with the National Ambulance Service regarding the latter's requiremen...More Button

Was asked: the action he will take following the national ambulance service capacity review; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Last month at my request, the HSE published the National Ambulance Service Capacity Review together with an action plan for implementation which incorporates the recommendations of both the Capacit...More Button

The Capacity Review makes it clear that we need a very significant programme of investment in our ambulance services. In that context, a phased investment in a multi annual programme involving m...More Button

It should be noted that many of the key recommendations of both reviews are already being addressed as part of a significant programme of reform and modernisation of the National Ambulance Servic...More Button

My Department engages on an ongoing basis with the National Ambulance Service in relation to service requirements and performance and will continue to do so to ensure that the action plan is impl...More Button

Was asked: if he will confirm that he has accepted all the recommendations of the recently published capacity review of the national ambulance service; when he expects these recommendations to be implemented;...More Button

Last month at my request, the HSE published the National Ambulance Service Capacity Review together with an action plan for implementation which incorporates the recommendations of both the Capacit...More Button

The Capacity Review makes it clear that we need a very significant programme of investment in our ambulance services. In that context, a phased investment in a multi annual programme involving m...More Button

It should be noted that many of the key recommendations of both reviews are already being addressed as part of a significant programme of reform and modernisation of the National Ambulance Servic...More Button

My Department engages on an ongoing basis with the National Ambulance Service in relation to service requirements and performance and will continue to do so to ensure that the action plan is impl...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 494 of 24 May 2016, the number of new staff and level of extra funding that will be invested in the national ambulance service to ensure there is a high-qualit...More Button

Last month at my request, the HSE published the National Ambulance Service Capacity Review together with an action plan for implementation which incorporates the recommendations of both the Capacit...More Button

The Capacity Review makes it clear that we need a very significant programme of investment in our ambulance services. In that context, a phased investment in a multi annual programme involving m...More Button

It should be noted that many of the key recommendations of both reviews are already being addressed as part of a significant programme of reform and modernisation of the National Ambulance Servic...More Button

My Department engages on an ongoing basis with the National Ambulance Service in relation to service requirements and performance and will continue to do so to ensure that the action plan is impl...More Button

Ambulance Service (Continued)

The Deputy makes a number of very fair points. She is correct that it is more than a question of generalities and is about what specifically we will do. I can tell the Deputy very clearly today t...More Button

Let me be very specific. I have four specific points to make. First, there is €7.2 million for the ambulance service this year, as I have outlined. It will enable the creation of new development...More Button

Second, within a week of my appointment as Minister for Health, I went to the Cabinet and got this report published. It was long overdue and needed to be published.More Button

Third, with regard to the request for a meeting, I would be delighted to have one. I have already had an initial engagement with SIPTU on this. However, I would be very happy to have a specific...More Button

Fourth, I do not want anybody to believe these are all vague aspirations. The action plan available on the HSE's website is very specific. For example, on foot of the Lightfoot review, the exte...More Button

Absolutely, it will cost money. The Government is absolutely committed to continuing to increase investment in the National Ambulance Service. We began this process with the last budget under the...More Button

Mental Health Services Funding

Was asked: his priorities for mental health services under the new programme for Government; why there is no funding commitment on mental health services as there was in the programme for Government for the p...More Button

Was asked: his position on the re-allocation of €12 million from the mental health budget for 2016 to other projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his position on the re-allocation of €12 million from the mental health budget and the rationale for this given the current under-funding of mental health services.More Button

Was asked: if he will restore urgently ring-fenced funding for mental health services in 2016; and if he will return to the model of funding that has been in place since 2012, where funding is specifically ri...More Button

Was asked: his plans to support the provision of a full complement of child and adolescent places, and child and adolescent mental health service teams for mental health, as recommended in A Vision for Change.More Button

Health Services Staff Recruitment

Was asked: the status of recruitment processes for all grades, groups and categories in the Health Service Executive; if there have been budgetary impediments to the recruitment processes in specific areas; i...More Button

An easing of restrictions on the employment of additional staff was announced by the previous Government in budget 2015. Under this new approach, public sector organisations can obtain delegated s...More Button

The Health Service Executive is working with the Department of Health on the finalisation of its 2016 pay and numbers strategy. This has involved the development of detailed workforce plans at h...More Button

The HSE has continuously increased staffing levels since the beginning of 2015. By the end of April this year, overall health service employee numbers had increased by more than 6,000 whole-time...More Button

No, the health service must be cognisant of its budget. I am sure many areas of the public service need more front-line staff. I am aware that the public service went through an extraordinarily d...More Button

The Deputy makes an important point on agency staff. These posts can continue to be converted into permanent posts. Agency staff conversions continue in the health service and it is possible to...More Button

Of course, I speak to front-line staff. No one here has exclusivity on speaking to them and I will continue to speak regularly with them, as will, I am sure, Deputies from all sides. While staff ...More Button

Was asked: how he will ensure the Health Service Executive recruitment embargo does not impact detrimentally on critical services; what oversight he has on the provision of services impacted by the embargo; a...More Button

An easing of restrictions on the employment of additional staff was announced in Budget 2015. Under this new approach public sector organisations can obtain delegated sanction to recruit within th...More Button

This change allows for greater autonomy to be delegated to Departments and Agencies to manage their own staffing levels within allocated pay frameworks. It also provides for further recruitment ...More Button

Recent measures taken in relation to service areas in the HSE remaining within budget have been portrayed, incorrectly, as a recruitment freeze. The HSE is currently working with the Department ...More Button

These measures do not impact on a hospital’s ability to recruit where funding exists to facilitate that recruitment; for example in the case of funded replacement posts or where additional fundin...More Button

The HSE has continuously increased staffing levels since the beginning of 2015. By the end of April this year, overall health service employee numbers had increased by over 6,000 whole time equi...More Button

It is this government’s intention to continue to grow the health budget as the economy improves and to obtain further resources to deliver the level of service that we all want to provide to our ...More Button

Was asked: if due consideration was given to the impact on the health service and on nursing and midwifery services in particular of the Health Service Executive's effective recruitment freeze before it was i...More Button

The HSE has focused on the recruitment of additional front line staff to support service delivery and continues to do so, as additional resources have become available. From the end of April 2014 ...More Button

Recent measures taken in relation to service areas in the HSE remaining within budget have been portrayed, incorrectly, as a recruitment freeze. The HSE has introduced interim recruitment measur...More Button

The HSE has clarified that while restrictions have been introduced in the acute hospital sector there is a mechanism in place for Hospital Group CEOs to agree priority recruitment of key posts on...More Button

The HSE are currently working with my Department on the preparation of their 2016 Pay and Numbers Strategy. This has involved the development of detailed workforce plans at hospital and communit...More Button

Was asked: if the Health Service Executive has suspended recruitment of doctors, nurses and midwives in hospitals until further notice, given the significant number of vacant posts across the health system; i...More Button

The HSE has focused on the recruitment of additional front line staff to support service delivery and continues to do so, as additional resources have become available. From the end of April 2014 ...More Button

Services for People with Disabilities

Was asked: his plans to increase the numbers of personal assistant hours for persons with disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans to increase the number of personal assistant hours for persons with disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when he will provide full local day services for young school leavers on the autistim spectrum disorder who graduated in 2015 and are due to graduate in 2016 in Dublin Bay North and Fingal; and if ...More Button

Was asked: his views on the cutting of facilities in Cheeverstown Hospital for severely disabled children; if he will restore funding to allow for a full restoration of these services and to meet the needs of...More Button

Was asked: the status of the implementation of the Health Service Executive's neuro-rehabilitation policy published in 2011; if he is aware that organisations such as Spinal Injuries Ireland do not believe th...More Button

Hospital Waiting Lists

Was asked: when the upward trend in waiting list and waiting times will be reversed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I look forward to working with Deputy Kelleher in his role as his party's spokesperson on health, a role he has carried out for a number of years.More Button

Improving access for patients is a key objective for our public health service. The 2016 HSE service plan undertakes to maintain 2015 levels of service in respect of scheduled care and to conti...More Button

A scheduled care governance group has been established within the HSE to co-ordinate key initiatives to reduce waiting times and the number of patients awaiting treatment. Actions overseen by th...More Button

Each hospital group has been mandated to designate a key person to lead and support waiting list management improvements so as to advance towards compliance with maximum waiting times. The Natio...More Button

My Department is currently engaging with the NTPF and the HSE on a focused plan for endoscopy waiting lists in 2016. The programme for Government and the supply and confidence arrangement with F...More Button

The Deputy has made a fair point in regard to the 15 month target. As I said earlier, some 94% of patients are being seen within that 15 month target and 60% of patients are being seen within the ...More Button

What we see here is a direct result of a period of difficult economic decisions, through the time Fine Gael was in government and during the time Fianna Fáil was in government before that. We ar...More Button

In regard to the winter initiative, the Deputy is correct that we must be very careful that the consequence of preparing for the emergency department situation does not distract from the waiting ...More Button

Was asked: the Health Service Executive's plans for clearing the scoliosis waiting lists in Crumlin children's hospital in Dublin and in Galway University Hospital, including the filling of vacancies.More Button

Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin is the largest provider of scoliosis surgery for children and young people. On 4 May 2016, there were 172 patients on the waiting list at Crumlin. More Button

In order to address waiting lists at Crumlin, over €1m was allocated in 2015 for additional consultant posts and support staff, and 10 additional WTE staff are now in place including a consultant...More Button

Capital funding has also been provided by the HSE for a new theatre on site at Crumlin to expand capacity further. Construction is now complete and the building is currently being commissioned w...More Button

External capacity has also been identified in order to address waiting times while internal capacity is being built up, and patients from Crumlin have been transferred to other hospitals in Irela...More Button

I am advised there are currently 7 patients on the public waiting list for scoliosis procedures at Galway. Galway University Hospital is working actively to identify additional theatre sessions ...More Button

I share the Deputy's concern that difficulties in accessing such a vital service as scoliosis surgery are resolved. There is a very active programme of measures underway to address the underlyin...More Button

Was asked: the reason for the 65% increase in the number of outpatients waiting more than a year for an appointment between December 2015 and April 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The numbers of patients on waiting lists must be considered in the context of overall demand. Every year there are 3.2m outpatient attendances at our hospitals. 100,000 patients have elective inpa...More Button

In 2015 my predecessor introduced a maximum waiting time of 15 months to be attained by the end of December 2015, focussing on patients waiting longest. Under the 2015 Waiting List Initiative, a...More Button

Whilst acknowledging that the numbers waiting over 12 months increased between December 2015 and April 2016, it is important to note that greater demand for emergency care arises in the peak win...More Button

The HSE has established a Scheduled Care Governance Group to coordinate initiatives to reduce waiting list numbers, focussing on chronological scheduling and administrative and clinical validatio...More Button

In addition, my Department is currently engaging with the NTPF and the HSE in planning a dedicated 2016 waiting list initiative. Finally, my Department is engaging with the NTPF and the HSE rega...More Button

Was asked: for an update on the scheduled appointments of consultants at Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, County Galway.More Button

Considerable efforts have been made by the Saolta Healthcare Group to improve the staffing levels at Portiuncula Hospital. In March 2016, the Hospital hired one extra ED consultant, an increase fr...More Button

In the area of Medicine, the Hospital has five consultants in post; two permanent, three locum and two vacancies. The three locum posts are being filled on a permanent basis with a Consultant Ge...More Button

In the area of Obstetrics, the Hospital has five consultant posts. A Consultant Obstetrician, who will fill a post vacated due to a recent retirement, will commence in July 2016.More Button

In Anaesthesia, there are currently four Consultants in post. A new Consultant Anaesthetist/Intensivist,with responsibility for the Intensive Care Unit, has recently been secured and is a joint ...More Button

Finally in Radiology, there are two permanent Consultants, one locum and one vacancy. Two Consultant Radiologist posts are in clearance stage. The first is to commence later in 2016, the second...More Button

All of these new posts demonstrate commitment to the care of patients at Portiuncula Hospital.More Button

Was asked: the status of an operation for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE...More Button

Was asked: if hospital waiting lists indicate a requirement for specific procedures; his plans to address the causes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials...More Button

Hospital Waiting Lists (Continued)

The Deputy is correct. I recently met some of the representatives of radiographers and I am aware that the latter are willing to do more within the public health service. We are exploring with th...More Button

We must ensure that diagnostics are available within the community where it is possible to do so in order that we might keep people out of acute hospitals. Sometimes we clap ourselves on the bac...More Button

Hospital Consultant Recruitment

Was asked: the number of consultants employed at Portiuncula Hospital, County Galway, and the number of vacant consultant positions.More Button

There are 28 consultants employed at Portiuncula University Hospital, while three posts are vacant. This hospital, like many other smaller hospitals, has difficulty filling certain posts and relie...More Button

The hospital is focused on filling posts on a permanent basis, reducing reliance on locums and recruiting additional consultants. Within medicine, three locum posts are due to be filled on a per...More Button

In obstetrics, the consultant working as a locum at present is due to take up a permanent post on 7 July, strengthening the team to five permanent consultants.More Button

Within radiology, two consultant radiologist posts are in clearance stage, one is to commence later this year and the second in 2017.More Button

Reflecting the improvements in train, the hospital recently secured the permanent appointment of a consultant anaesthetist. This post-holder has key responsibility for the intensive care unit an...More Button

The Saolta Hospital Group recognises the importance of Portiuncula to the delivery of care within the group and this is reflected in the recent and planned improvements in consultant recruitment ...More Button

I thank the Deputy and I do assure him of that. The process of increasing both the number of consultants working in the hospital and the number working on a permanent basis, rather than on a locum...More Button

Hospital Services

Was asked: why, as of 29 April 2016, only 234 of 301 new hospital beds were added to support the acute hospital system; the progress being made to date to increase capacity; the funding allocated and used to ...More Button

I am very conscious of the impact that long wait times in emergency departments can have on patients and their families, as well as on front-line staff. Last Monday I attended my first meeting of ...More Button

In June 2015, additional funding of €18 million was made available to the HSE under the winter additional capacity initiative. The initiative identified 301 additional winter capacity beds that ...More Button

This extra capacity has enabled similar emergency department performance to the equivalent period in 2015, despite an average increase of nearly 6% in attendances so far this year.More Button

Furthermore, figures for May show total numbers of patients on trolleys are approximately 18% lower than in May 2015, with numbers waiting over nine hours approximately 24% lower than in May 2015...More Button

The demand for acute hospital services continues to increase in line with a growing and ageing population. The overall population growth year on year is in the order of 1%, whereas growth in the...More Button

Reviews of bed capacity and medical assessment unit hours of service are needed and are key commitments in the programme for a partnership Government, as well as for me, as Minister for Health, s...More Button

I am not in a position to reveal the figure for the winter initiative today but I will be shortly. The Taoiseach and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform have made clear in this House th...More Button

Was asked: his plans to recast the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise, County Laois, as a model 2 hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I thank Deputy Fleming for this question. I am committed to securing and further developing the role of the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise as a constituent hospital within the Dublin midl...More Button

The Dublin Midlands Hospital Group recently produced a draft plan for clinical service delivery at the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise. I want to stress that the draft plan, which has be...More Button

I thank Deputy Fleming for his good wishes. I emphasise that no decision has been made on Portlaoise or on the services mentioned by the Deputy. Officials in the Department of Health have been li...More Button

The Deputy is right to acknowledge the additional staffing that has been provided at the hospital in recent years. According to the information that is available to me, an additional 65 posts have...More Button

Was asked: the measures he is putting in place to improve rheumatology services at Mayo University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials...More Button

Was asked: how the emergency department escalation policy has impacted on elective surgeries, where there are empty beds in surgical wards deemed unsuitable for emergency department patients due to the risk t...More Button

The Escalation Framework was issued to hospitals in December 2015. It advises hospitals on how best to manage patient flow when there is a surge in demand for emergency care. Central to this appr...More Button

When necessary, escalated responses are delivered in three stages. It is only at Stage 3 of escalation, where all hospital admissions occur through the ED, that cancellation of all elective surg...More Button

Decisions on admissions are taken by hospitals having regard to safe operating limits of the hospital as a whole. At Stage 3, it may not be clinically appropriate for post-operative elective pat...More Button

The HSE Special Delivery Unit has conducted reviews at a number of hospitals to date, in order to ensure appropriate implementation of the Escalation Framework. More Button

A number of initiatives are being implemented to reduce ED overcrowding. Under the Winter Additional Capacity Initiative a total of 366 new or re-opened beds have been made available. The Progr...More Button

Further, a review of bed capacity, coupled with the review of the hours of service of Medical Assessment Units are further key commitments of the Programme intended to alleviate ED overcrowding.More Button

Hospital Services (Continued)

I hope I will be able to provide clarity to Deputy O'Reilly in this regard at that stage. I hope the decision to commence the winter initiative now, at the end of May or start of June, is seen as ...More Button

The Deputy spoke about the closed beds figure and asked where the 65 beds went. As I outlined in my initial response, there have been staff recruitment difficulties in some hospitals and some ar...More Button

This is my first outing here, so I do not want to disappoint the Deputy at this early stage of our exchanges. The Deputy will know the figure within the next fortnight. In fact, she will know whe...More Button

There has been significant investment. As I acknowledged at the outset, a lot of effort has been put into this hospital in terms of addressing a number of issues over the past number of years. ...More Button

It is a breakdown of the 65 posts. I will send that to the Deputy.More Button

Mental Health Policy

Was asked: his role in formulating the mental health policy to be implemented in schools; and how he has co-operated with other relevant Departments in this regard to ensure the provision of best practice and...More Button

Was asked: the form and terms of reference for the review panel on A Vision for Change; the progress of same; if the review will provide recommendations; and if and when it will publish a report. More Button

Was asked: the key priorities in mental health under the new programme for Government and why there is no funding commitment on mental health as there was in the 2011 to 2016 programme for Government; and if ...More Button

Health Services Funding

Was asked: his progress, in conjunction with the Health Service Executive, in securing funding to complete episodes of scheduled care commenced in 2015; the amount of funding required to complete these episod...More Button

In January 2015, my predecessor introduced maximum permissible waiting times for inpatient and day case treatment and outpatient appointments of 18 months by 30 June and 15 months by year end. As ...More Button

Health Services Funding (Continued)

I also fully support the public health service and want to see investment in it, and I want to see the committee we set up yesterday devise a vision, a plan and funding costs for how to get the ser...More Button

I also recognise the NTPF as a useful vehicle at a time when there are people at home who could be watching our questions session today and who are in need of an operation, where perhaps the capaci...More Button

While we will disagree on the extent of that, it is very much my position and that of the Government.More Button

With regard to the €50 million, €51 million was provided in 2015 and the Deputy is correct in regard to the ministerial briefing. Some of that funding has spilled over into 2016 in terms of pay....More Button

I expect that €50 million of the health budget next year will be allocated to waiting list initiatives. As I said, I will be looking at how best to outline that. I will provide the Deputy with so...More Button

Mental Health Services Report

Was asked: the status of the review of A Vision for Change being undertaken, including the terms of reference, the membership of the panel, the progress to date and when it will completed; and if he will make...More Button

Departmental Management Structures

Was asked: why policy issues in respect of abortions as well as oversight of the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act are subsumed into the tobacco and alcohol control unit of his Department; and if he wil...More Button

The Public Service Management Act, 1997, gives Secretaries General the power to assign responsibility for the performance of functions to officers of a department. Work is assigned by the Secretar...More Button

The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 was enacted on 30th July 2013 and commenced on 1st January 2014. The development of the Act reflected the very considerable input of a number of ...More Button

The Act regulates access to lawful termination of pregnancy in accordance with the X case and the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the A, B and C v Ireland case. Its purpose is...More Button

As evidenced by the significant programme of work undertaken, my Department continues to actively engage with policy issues in this area, under the direction of the Government and the Oireachtas....More Button

Was asked: if the new policy strategy and integration unit established within his Department will support in its work the new Oireachtas committee that will be established to develop cross-party consensus on ...More Button

I welcome the establishment of the Committee on the Future of Healthcare which is a key commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government. It is envisaged that the Committee will be establi...More Button

The staffing and resourcing of the Committee is entirely a matter for the Committee and the Houses of the Oireachtas. However, my Department will be happy to assist and advise the Houses of the ...More Button

Mental Health Services Provision

Was asked: his plans to end the scandal of adolescents being placed in acute adult mental health settings due to a lack of suitable inpatient spaces for young persons; when he will phase out this practice; an...More Button

Was asked: the plans he has in place to extend crisis intervention teams and counselling in primary care services for persons with mental health difficulties; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: to support the provision of additional crisis houses as oulined in A Vision For Change.More Button

Was asked: his plans to open a 24-hour acute mental health unit in County Wexford; if he is aware of issues arising, whereby currently persons must travel to Counties Waterford or Wicklow to access such servi...More Button

Was asked: his plans to support the introduction of intensive care rehabilitation units to provide appropriate care for mental health patients who present a greater challenge and are unsuited to the existing ...More Button

Was asked: his plans to support the implementation of a 24-7 crisis support service for mental health; and the timeline for this.More Button

Ministerial Responsibilities

Was asked: the responsibilities and reserved functions of each of the Ministers of State who are attached to his Department; why no Minister of State has special responsibility for the roll-out of an enhanced...More Button

Finian McGrath TD has been appointed as Minister of State for Disabilities at my Department, with responsibility for all legislation, policy and funding relating to the provision of specialist heal...More Button

The Programme for a Partnership Government places particular emphasis on enhancement of the capacity of primary care and improving the integration between primary care and other services, in part...More Button

Hospital Staff Data

Was asked: the number of training positions, positions that have been filled and vacancies currently available, by hospital, in tabular form; the number of qualified training consultants available in Letterke...More Button

The HSE has responsibility under the Health Acts for the training of NCHDs. It has advised that details relating to training positions are contained in its most recent report 'Annual Assessment...More Button

Autism Support Services

Was asked: the steps he will take to prevent instances of children with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorder being held in hospitals under chemical restraint because of problems with the Hea...More Button

Departmental Budgets

Was asked: his estimate of the likely overrun in the health budget in 2016; the status of the financial situation of the Health Service Executive; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Significant additional resources have been made available to the HSE in 2016. Despite this, the health sector is facing challenges in managing expenditure within budget in some areas. The HSE's f...More Button

The HSE has established seven cost management groups to develop short and medium term actions to address specific areas of financial challenge across the acute hospital sector. These groups are ...More Button

The nature of the State Claims Agency scheme means that determining trends and projections from three months' data is not conclusive. Pressures in the social care area arise from costs associate...More Button

With only three months of data, the ability to determine expenditure trends and derive a projected outturn is limited. The Department of Health will continue to work with the HSE to ensure that ...More Button

National Dementia Strategy Implementation

Was asked: the status of the provision of funding for intensive dementia-specific home care packages provided through a joint Health Service Executive/Atlantic Philanthropies programme as part of the national...More Button

Emergency Services Provision

Was asked: his measures to immediately address the significant number of persons leaving accident and emergency departments without being treated; if he has analysed the subsequent costs to the health service...More Button

Pressures on Emergency Departments have been rising, given our ageing and growing population. ED attendances have been significantly higher this year, particularly in Quarter 1. To date, the HSE ...More Button

The HSE maintains records on service users who register at an ED and choose to leave without actively discharging themselves. Figures for March 2016 indicate that 3.9% of ED patients ‘did not wa...More Button

It is important to note that patient experience times have improved in April 2016, with 67.6% of patients being admitted or discharged within 6 hours and 81.7% within 9 hours. Reducing the wait ...More Button

Was asked: the plans he has in place to reduce emergency department services in Portlaoise hospital in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am committed to securing and further developing the role of Portlaoise Hospital as a constituent hospital within the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group.More Button

Patient safety and outcomes must come first. There have been a number of reports on Portlaoise Hospital in recent years. These reports pointed to the need for reconfiguration of some services t...More Button

Since 2014 the focus has been on supporting the hospital to develop and enhance management capability, implementing changes required to address clinical service deficiencies, and incorporating th...More Button

The Dublin Midlands Hospital Group has recently produced a draft plan which sets out a proposed service design for a new model of clinical service delivery at Portlaoise. The draft plan has bee...More Button

Any change to services at Portlaoise Hospital, including plans for service reconfiguration, will be undertaken in a planned and orderly manner and will take account of current use of services, de...More Button

The important point to note is that this work is being done to strengthen services in Portlaoise from a patient safety and quality perspective and to ensure that services currently provided by th...More Button

Traveller Community

Was asked: his plans to support the extension of the Traveller primary health care teams.More Button

Was asked: his plans to review the outdated Traveller health strategy and to develop a new strategy with a particular focus on mental health. More Button

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Administration

Was asked: if he will review the rules of the fair deal scheme as they apply to family farms and family businesses, given that the current rules can cause difficulties for family members taking over these bus...More Button

National Treatment Purchase Fund

Was asked: if he has undertaken a cost-benefit analysis of the re-activation of the National Treatment Purchase Fund; if he will publish this; the number of patients who will be treated in public beds using t...More Button

Currently, in accordance with Reg 4(1) of the NTPF Board (Establishment) Order 2004, the NTPF is directed to carry out activities in respect of data and analytics, audit and quality assurance of wa...More Button

The expertise amassed by the NTPF in respect of waiting lists has proven invaluable in assisting the HSE to administer previous waiting list initiatives and in carrying out smaller-scale targeted...More Button

The future role of the NTPF will be considered in the context of the wider Health Reform Programme. No decision has been taken as to whether this will include direct procurement of patient treat...More Button

My Department will engage with the NTPF and the HSE regarding the development of the Programme for a Partnership Government initiative. As has been the case with previous initiatives, Hospital G...More Button

Orthodontic Services Waiting Lists

Was asked: why he is not providing the necessary infrastructure and staff to the orthodontic department at Letterkenny University Hospital, County Donegal, resulting in clinics being cancelled on a continuous...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contac...More Button

Medicinal Products Regulation

Was asked: if the eight selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, Fluoxetine, Citalopram, Paroxetine, Sertraline, Fluvoxamine, Escitalopram, Venlafazine an...More Button

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) is the regulatory body charged with protecting and enhancing public health by regulating medicines, medical devices and other health products. The H...More Button

The HPRA regularly monitors and re-evaluates the benefits and risks of medicines in conjunction with the EMA, regulatory authorities for medicines in other EU Member States, and the pharmaceutica...More Button

My Department oversees the regulatory framework which grants prescribing rights to health professionals. All prescription medications dispensed to patients in this country are prescribed by GPs ...More Button

National Drugs Strategy

Was asked: the timeframe for publishing the next national drugs strategy; when the Misuse of Drugs Act will be amended to facilitate substances being declared as controlled; the provisions under which ministe...More Button

Was asked: if the issue of alcohol misuse will form a comprehensive part of any successor to the National Drugs Strategy 2009 to 2016.More Button

Patient Transfers

Was asked: if he is aware of difficulties with the Health Service Executive patient transfer scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials...More Button

Was asked: the funding being provided for the Health Service Executive patient transfer scheme in 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials...More Button

HSE Funding

Was asked: if the €8 million funding announced for therapy services for young persons in the 2016 Health Service Executive service plan has been released; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Hospital Groups

Was asked: his plans for the governance arrangements of hospital groups; if, how and when he will enact legislation to put the administrative arrangement of hospital groups on a statutory basis; and if he wil...More Button

Seven Hospital Groups have been established on a non-statutory administrative basis. Pending the enactment of legislation, Hospital Groups will continue to operate within existing legislative fram...More Button

The implementation of Hospital Groups will progress in a phased manner, which will provide for devolved decision-making, fostering flexibility, innovation and local responsiveness, while also adh...More Button

The establishment of Hospital Groups is one component of a complex health reform programme. As set out in the Programme for Government, an Oireachtas All-Party Committee is to develop a long-ter...More Button

Was asked: when he will publish and circulate the guidance on developing hospital group strategic plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department is currently finalising Guidance on Developing Hospital Group Strategic Plans which will be circulated to Hospital Groups in the near future.More Button

The Groups will develop their Strategic Plans informed by this guidance document. Each Hospital Group will be required to develop a plan to describe how it will provide more efficient and effect...More Button

In developing their plans, Hospital Groups will be expected to demonstrate a co-ordinated approach to the planning and delivery of services within and across the hospital groups, with an increase...More Button

It is acknowledged that each Group is at a different stage of implementation and the strategic planning process of each group may progress at a different pace so that issues including resource al...More Button

The Systems Reform Division in the HSE has also been engaging with the Group Chairs and Group CEOs and will be providing them with assistance in the development of their plans.More Button

Was asked: the status of the hospital groups; if it is proposed to put these groups on a statutory basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Seven Hospital Groups have been established on a non-statutory administrative basis. Pending the enactment of legislation, Hospital Groups will continue to operate within existing legislative fram...More Button

The implementation of Hospital Groups will progress in a phased manner, which will provide for devolved decision-making, fostering flexibility, innovation and local responsiveness, while also adh...More Button

The establishment of Hospital Groups on a statutory basis is one component of a complex health reform programme. As set out in the Programme for Government, an Oireachtas All-Party Committee is ...More Button

Proposed Legislation

Was asked: when he will finalise and publish the misuse of drugs (amendment) Bill 2016; when he will establish the pilot supervised injecting facility arising from this; and if he will make a statement on the...More Button

Nursing Staff

Was asked: the status of the task force on staffing and skill mix for nursing; the status of the pilot of the framework for safe nurse staffing and skill mix in general and specialist medical and surgical car...More Button

In February 2016, the Taskforce on Staffing and Skill Mix for Nursing, developed an Interim Report and Recommendations for Safe Nurse Staffing and Skill Mix in general and specialist surgical care ...More Button

Was asked: how he can help to resolve the serious delays in the registration of nurses, which are preventing many qualified nurses from home and abroad from taking up available positions.More Button

At the outset, I would like to say that the delay in the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NBMI) responding to your previous question of 21 April 2016 is regretted. This reply encompasses bo...More Button

As of 31 May, 2016, a total of 803 nurses and midwives have been registered by the NMBI since 1 January 2016. In addition, 681 applicants have been issued with decision letters setting out what ...More Button

The NMBI fully recognises the challenges being experienced by health service employers in the public and the private sector and the NMBI is meeting and liaising with employers to address the regi...More Button

Various measures including enhanced website functionality, additional staff appointments and ongoing process improvement work by NMBI staff is assisting in making headway in the management of the...More Button

While NMBI has registered 803 nurses and midwives in 2016 to date and issued 681 applicants with decision letters, there are a further 1,947 applications unable to progress to assessment stage du...More Button

It is important to note that the decision following this assessment may not always be registration. The outcome can be to seek further information/clarification from the applicant, to register, ...More Button

It should also be noted that the NMBI is working with Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) to explore ways of encouraging the large amount of nurses on the inactive part of the Register in Ireland to reco...More Button

Was asked: the status of the nurse in the diabetes clinic in Tallaght Hospital, Dublin 24, who specialises in assisting those with insulin pumps; if the specialist nurse who is on long-term sick leave will be...More Button

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials...More Button

Was asked: the status of the personal identification number of a nurse (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I wish to thank the Deputy for the matter raised.

  Given that this is an operational matter, it is appropriate that it should be dealt with by the NMBI. I have referred the Dep...More Button

Mental Health Awareness

Was asked: his plans to roll out a programme of mental health awareness training for general practitioners and other general health workers so that they are better equipped to assist persons in mental distres...More Button

Health and Safety

Was asked: if personnel of the Health Service Executive will conduct the assessments under the proposed fit for work programme contained in the programme for Government or if it will outsource this work; and ...More Button

Hospital Staff Recruitment

Was asked: when he will appoint a paediatric diabetes specialist at University Hospital Galway in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A Consultant Paediatrician with a Special Interest in Diabetes has been recognised as a priority post for Galway University Hospital. The post was approved, recruited and a Consultant has been ap...More Button

The current arrangement, whereby all infants and children under 5 years of age with newly diagnosed diabetes are referred for special services to Limerick University Hospital, will continue until...More Button

In addition, the Saolta Healthcare Group is seeking to recruit a locum Consultant in the intervening period.More Button

The Saolta Group continues to develop paediatric diabetes services across the Group. An Insulin Pump Therapy Service for Children in the Northwest commenced in early 2015. In addition, children...More Button

My Department continues to work with the HSE regarding waiting list performance. In 2016 the HSE has established a Scheduled Care Governance Group to drive improvements in chronological scheduli...More Button

Hospitals Data

Was asked: the number of children on public waiting lists for extractions under general anaesthetic; the cost of sending children to private hospitals for extractions under general anaesthetic; the cost for e...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contac...More Button

Health Services Access

Was asked: if he is aware of difficulties with many children being unable to access essential medical and dental services; 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. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contac...More Button

Abortion Legislation

Was asked: his views on access to abortion within this State as outlined to the United Nations Human Rights Council on 11 May 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Medicinal Products Supply

Was asked: if he will consider establishing a State pharmacy to source best value pharmaceuticals for supplying hospitals, general practitioners and pharmacies, and to estimate the savings that would be made ...More Button

Most drugs and medicines reimbursed by the HSE are supplied to patients through over 1,800 contracted community pharmacies which, in turn, purchase them from wholesalers or, to a lesser extent, dir...More Button

The HSE maintains a Reimbursement List of all products reimbursed under the Community Drug Schemes, under the provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. The Act per...More Button

In relation to High Tech drugs, the HSE purchases these drugs directly from the manufacturer for supply through community pharmacies; pharmacists are paid a patient care fee for dispensing these ...More Button

The HSE keeps the price of medicines under ongoing review, and works continuously to achieve greater efficiencies in the areas of drug pricing, supply and distribution. The Executive has a numbe...More Button

In addition, my Department has recently created a new Community Pharmacy, Dental, Optical and Aural Policy unit to bring a renewed focus to the development of policy in relation to community phar...More Button

Hospitals Expenditure

Was asked: in respect of activity-based funding, the transition arrangements that are currently in place in the hospital system to reflect the difference between hospitals' current costs and national average ...More Button

The way that public acute hospital services are funded is in the process of being reformed through the implementation of an Activity Based Funding (ABF) system. The purpose of ABF is to change the...More Button

General Practitioner Services Provision

Was asked: the reason there is no commitment on delivering an extended range of general practitioner services in the new programme for Government; and how he will develop the delivery of key health services a...More Button

The Programme for Partnership Government emphasises the priority of increasing access to safe, timely care, as close to patients' homes as possible, and it recognises that general practice needs a ...More Button

Funding of €13.5 million from the 2016 HSE Primary Care budget was held within the Department of Health for GP contract developments, which includes rural practices, access to diagnostics and min...More Button

The HSE has recently developed a pilot service whereby a GP can refer adult medical card and GP visit card holders for ultrasound scans. Patients deemed to be urgent are seen within 5 working da...More Button

In addition, the HSE in collaboration with the Irish College of General Practitioners is completing a pilot research project involving 23 GPs in 20 practices who are delivering a range of minor s...More Button

The HSE's 2016 Operational Plan sets out a number of the 2016 planned initiatives on chronic disease management in primary care, including:More Button

- improve integrated pathways across all Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs) in collaboration with the Integrated Programme for Prevention and Management of Chronic Disease for patients wit...More Button

- provide structured education programmes for patients with Diabetes;More Button

- implement the Integrated Model of Care for Prevention and Management of Chronic Disease in identified areas and implementing the Chronic Disease Demonstrator Projects; andMore Button

- develop and recruit new clinical roles and structures to support integrated care implementation in CHOs. More Button

Was asked: his plans to roll out free general practitioner care for the entire population, given the success of the programme for children under six years of age and adults over 70 years of age; if he will co...More Button

As set out in the Programme for Partnership Government, the Government is committed to the goal of universal healthcare. One of the key proposals in the Programme is the establishment of an Oireac...More Button

The Programme for Government 2011-2016 committed to the phased introduction of a universal GP service for the entire population. The first two phases of universal GP care without fees have been ...More Button

In Budget 2016, the Government made financial provision for the extension of GP care without fees to all children aged 6 to 11 years. It is expected that this third phase will bring the total nu...More Button

Mental Health Services Staff

Was asked: his plans to introduce measures to allow mental health nurses who have taken early retirement to return to work for a period to address the shortage in qualified staff.More Button

The HSE's Mental Health Division is experiencing significant challenges in recruiting suitably qualified nurses for the mental health services. Given this, it sought from the National Director, Hu...More Button

Following this decision some retired mental health nurses have been rehired to work reduced hours in services with critical shortages of staff. Currently these staff are paid at the first point ...More Button

Was asked: his plans to support the provision of a full complement of suicide crisis assessment nurses, as recommended under A Vision for Change.More Button

Cross-Border Health Services Provision

Was asked: the proposals he has to progress co-operation on a North-South basis with the delivery of health services, particularly for Border counties; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Cross-border cooperation on health makes sense, allowing us to pool our resources to provide better health care for all our citizens. North-South cooperation on health matters takes place through ...More Button

A new Radiotherapy Unit at Altnagelvin Hospital, Derry, is being developed by the Western Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Ireland). The Radiotherapy Unit, which is due to open in autumn ...More Button

There is continued engagement between my Department and the Department of Health in Northern Ireland on progressing co-operation in the area of Congenital Heart Disease. Significant progress has...More Button

A significant milestone in the development of a cross border cardiology service was announced in April and has been operational since last month which sees Donegal patients having access to 24/...More Button

€30 million was allocated under the European Regional Development Fund INTERREG IVA programme to Cooperation and Working Together (CAWT Partnership) for cross-border health and social care initia...More Button

I am committed to continuing to work together with my Northern colleagues on issues of common concern and benefit.More Button

Health Strategies

Was asked: the measures taken to reduce the amount of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions; and if he will consider the creation of a special task force to assess and mitigate the growing threat of antibiotic...More Button

The rise in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is recognised at global, European and national levels, including Ireland, as one of the greatest potential threats to human and animal health with possibl...More Button

Hospital Accommodation Provision

Was asked: the progress made to date in the establishment of a bed bureau for the greater Dublin area on the availability of residential care beds; the areas being covered in this bureau; his plans to roll th...More Button

Medical Card Data

Was asked: his Department’s projection of the number of medical cards in 2016; the number of such cards projected to be issued on a discretionary basis this year; the number of medical cards in circulation as...More Button

The HSE estimate that the projected number of persons covered by Medical Card eligibility on 31 December 2016, as outlined in the HSE Service Plan will be 1,675,767.

  On 1 Ma...More Button

Was asked: the number of medical cards which were withdrawn on income grounds from persons over 70 years of age in each of the years 2011 to 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated ...More Button

If the Deputy has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office who will follow up the matter with them.More Button

Patient Safety

Was asked: the progress being made to date on a review of international advocacy models and advocacy services, with a view to developing a national advocacy service for patients; and if he will make a stateme...More Button

Work on a new independent national model for patient advocacy as recommended by the HIQA Report into Portlaoise Report has commenced. This advocacy service will be external to the Department and ...More Button

Following this exercise officials of my Department will then define and oversee the implementation of the national advocacy model for Ireland.More Button

HSE National Service Plan

Was asked: when the national service plan process for 2017 will commence; when analysis of the 2016 funding position and the 2017 costs of initiatives for pre-budget purposes will be available; and if he will...More Button

The National Service Plan sets out the type and volume of health and social care services to be provided by the HSE in a given year within the funding allocated by the Government. I understand tha...More Button

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform will publish a Mid-Year Expenditure Report in July, which will set out the 2016 expenditure ceiling for all Departments. Following the publication ...More Button

Nursing Staff Recruitment

Was asked: the extent to which the various public hospitals are allowed to recruit nursing staff in accordance with their needs; if he is aware of suggestions to the effect that some hospitals appear to have ...More Button

The HSE has focused on the recruitment of additional front line staff to support service delivery and continues to do so, as additional resources have become available. From the end of April 2014 ...More Button

Recent measures taken in relation to service areas in the HSE remaining within budget have been portrayed, incorrectly, as a recruitment freeze. These measures do not impact on a hospital’s abil...More Button

The HSE has clarified that while restrictions have been introduced in the acute hospital sector there is a mechanism in place for Hospital Group CEOs to agree priority recruitment of key posts on...More Button

The HSE is currently working with my Department on the preparation of their 2016 Pay and Numbers Strategy. This has involved the development of detailed workforce plans at hospital and community...More Button

Medical Products

Was asked: the discussions his Department has had with representative groups in relation to a new agreement for supply of drugs to the Health Service Executive; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department, together with the HSE, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Office of Government Procurement, entered negotiations with the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Associa...More Button

Minor Ailments Scheme

Was asked: when the pilot for the minor ailments scheme will commence; the geographic spread of the pilot; the timeline for reporting and recommendations; if recommendations will be binding; and if he will ma...More Button

I am informed by the HSE that the target date for commencement of the pilot Minor Ailments Scheme developed between the HSE and the Irish Pharmacy Union is 1 July. The four locations chosen for th...More Button

The pilot scheme will run for a period of three months, and a review of its effectiveness will then be conducted. The objective of the pilot is to inform policy decisions and recommendations reg...More Button

General Practitioner Contracts

Was asked: the status of negotiations on general practitioner contracts; the timeframe envisaged; and his vision for the revised general practitioner contract.More Button

Under a Framework Agreement, signed in 2014, the HSE, the Department of Health and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) are currently engaged in a comprehensive review of the General Medical Servic...More Button

As a first step in this process, universal GP care without fees for all children under the age of 6 years was successfully introduced in 2015. Shortly afterwards, the second phase implemented un...More Button

Earlier this year, an enhanced supports package for rural GP practices was agreed between the IMO, the HSE and the Department of Health. The enhanced package included improved qualifying criteri...More Button

In Budget 2016, the Government made financial provision for the extension of GP care without fees to all children aged 6 to 11 years. It is expected that this third phase will bring the total nu...More Button

Discussions on other aspects of a new GP contract are ongoing. These will address the changing role of the GP in delivering chronic care within the community, the further development of universa...More Button

Home Help Service

Was asked: if he is aware of the huge demand for home help and home care packages and that there are waiting lists developing for these services; how many home care packages and home help hours it is intended...More Button

Emergency Departments

Was asked: the number of patients per month who register at emergency departments for treatment but who leave before being discharged; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Pressures on Emergency Departments have been rising, given an ageing and growing population. More Button

ED attendances have been significantly higher this year, particularly in Quarter 1. To date, the HSE has reported an average increase in attendances of nearly 6% compared with the same period la...More Button

The HSE maintains records on service users who register at an ED and choose to leave without actively discharging themselves. Figures for March 2016 indicate that 3.9% of ED patients ‘did not wa...More Button

It is important to note that patient experience times have improved in April 2016 with 67.6% of patients being admitted or discharged within 6 hours and 81.7% within 9 hours. More Button

Reducing the wait times for patients attending EDs is a priority for this Government. Investments in capital expansion are ongoing (new EDs have been completed in the Mater and Wexford Hospitals...More Button

HSE Planning

Was asked: the progress made in the preparation of the 2016 pay and numbers strategy; when the strategy will be submitted; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Arising from Budget 2015, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform announced an easing of restrictions on the employment of additional staff. Submission of a Pay and Numbers Strategy, outlin...More Button

This change allows for greater autonomy to be delegated to Departments and Agencies to manage their own staffing levels within allocated pay frameworks. It also provides for further recruitment ...More Button

The HSE are currently working with my Department on the preparation of their 2016 Pay and Numbers Strategy. This has involved the development of ‘bottom up’ workforce plans at hospital and commu...More Button

These measures do not impact on a hospital’s ability to recruit where funding exists to facilitate that recruitment; for example in the case of replacement posts or where funding has been allocat...More Button

A draft Pay and Numbers Strategy has recently been submitted by the HSE and the details of this submission are currently being examined by officials within my Department.More Button

I want to assure you that this government is fully aware of the difficulties and challenges that are currently faced by health service staff, in delivering care and there is a real focus within o...More Button

Finally I would take the opportunity to confirm my intention to continue to grow the health budget as the economy improves and to obtain the resources necessary to improve working conditions for ...More Button

Health Services Staff

Was asked: the extent to which comparisons have been made with staffing levels at various grades including nurses, doctors, consultants and administrators in this jurisdiction with other European Union countr...More Button

My Department has committed, in its Statement of Strategy 2015-2017, to developing a national integrated strategic framework for health workforce planning, in collaboration with Government Departme...More Button

The ability to provide high quality health and social care services depends on having a sufficient level of and appropriately trained health and social care workforce in place.More Button

There has been a significant increase in the number of consultants working in the public health service since the establishment of the HSE reflecting the policy outlined in the 'Hanly Report' of ...More Button

The work of the Taskforce on Staffing and Skill Mix for Nursing will inform policy on the appropriate level of nurse staffing, taking account of factors unique to the Irish health system, in the ...More Button

The HSE's National Doctors Training and Planning Unit is working on a series of medical workforce reports addressing the manpower needs of all medical specialties. It produced its first report i...More Button

Was asked: his plans to implement the national transfer policy for non-rostered paramedics (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials...More Button

Was asked: if the number of various categories of staff in the public health sector are adequate to meet requirements; if he will examine and identify the most understaffed sectors to resolve this issue; and ...More Button

My Department has committed, in its Statement of Strategy 2015-2017, to developing a national integrated strategic framework for health workforce planning, in collaboration with Government Departme...More Button

I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly on the matter with regard to current requirements. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my P...More Button

Hospital Consultant Retirements

Was asked: if he is aware that the impending retirement of a consultant who specialises in a number of rare eye disorders in children is causing an extreme amount of concern and stress among the families affe...More Button

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials...More Button

Mental Health Services

Was asked: if he will confirm that the allocation of €5 million in funding to recruit up to 100 psychologists and counsellors to develop psychological services for persons under 18 years of age will be spent;...More Button

National Children's Hospital

Was asked: when the memorandum for information to Government relating to the children’s hospital capital project will be completed; the timeframe for the commencement of the enabling works contracts; when the...More Button

The decision to locate the new children's hospital at the St James's campus was based on the over-riding priority of best clinical outcomes for our children and, in particular, the sickest of these...More Button

The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) is the statutory body responsible for planning, designing, building and equipping the new children's hospital. The NPHDB has commenced ...More Button

My Department is currently working on the General Scheme of a Bill to establish a single entity, bringing together the existing hospitals, to govern and manage the new hospital, and I intend to b...More Button

Was asked: if the provision of the new children's hospital is progressing satisfactorily; if it will be provided on schedule; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The previous Government's decision to locate the new children's hospital at the St James's campus was based on the over-riding priority of best clinical outcomes for our children and, in particular...More Button

The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) is the statutory body responsible for planning, designing, building and equipping the new children's hospital. The NPHDB has commenced ...More Button

Human Rights Cases

Was asked: his views on the conclusions of the recent United Nations universal periodic review of human rights which criticised Ireland’s abortion laws; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Emergency Departments Waiting Times

Was asked: his views on new statistics which highlight that nearly 50,000 patients are leaving emergency departments annually, due to long waiting times; and his plans to tackle unacceptably long waiting time...More Button

Pressures on Emergency Departments have been rising, given an ageing and growing population.More Button

ED attendances have been significantly higher this year, particularly in Quarter 1. To date, the HSE has reported an average increase in attendances of nearly 6% compared with the same period la...More Button

The HSE maintains records on service users who register at an ED and choose to leave without actively discharging themselves. Figures for March 2016 indicate that 3.9% of ED patients ‘did not wa...More Button

It is important to note that patient experience times have improved in April 2016 with 67.6% of patients being admitted or discharged within 6 hours and 81.7% within 9 hours.More Button

Reducing the wait times for patients attending EDs is a priority for this Government. Investments in capital expansion are ongoing (new EDs have been completed in the Mater and Wexford Hospitals...More Button

Was asked: if he has examined and how he will address the ongoing issue of long waiting lists at accident and emergency departments; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Pressures on EDs have been rising, as the population is both growing and ageing. However, 2015 and 2016 have seen increases in the Health Budget, with investments in capital expansion and the impl...More Button

It is important to note that patient experience times have improved in April 2016, with 67.6% of patients being admitted or discharged within 6 hours and 81.7% within 9 hours. More Button

In June 2015, €18m of additional funding was made available under the 2015/16 Winter Additional Capacity Initiative. As a result, 366 new or re-opened beds have been made available to date. More Button

Extended access to GP care and an expansion in services offered by GPs such as treatment for chronically ill patients, can help to reduce ED pressure. There are currently 50 locations where prim...More Button

I attended the ED Taskforce Implementation Group meeting on Monday, which continues to be focussed on driving improved ED performance, achieving an integrated approach across Acute Hospitals, Pri...More Button

Capital expansion is also ongoing. New EDs are open at the Mater Hospital in Dublin and in Wexford General Hospital. The Programme for a Partnership Government has committed to progress new ED f...More Button

A review of bed capacity in our health service, coupled with the review of the hours of service of Medical Assessment Units, are further key commitments in the Programme for Government that are i...More Button

These increases in the health budget, measures to increase bed capacity, along with new ED facilities and maximising the potential of units and services to treat patients outside of the hospital ...More Button

Tobacco Control Measures

Was asked: if he will confirm that he and his team of Ministers are fully committed to implementing the Tobacco Free Ireland policy by 2025; and if he has rejected any proposals to roll back measures currentl...More Button

Home Care Packages Provision

Was asked: if he will ensure that there will be no reduction in home help and home care packages for elderly persons and persons with a disability in 2016; the total funding available for home help and home c...More Button

Was asked: if, and when, he will approve a person (details supplied) under the home care package scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Hospital Facilities

Was asked: if the following issues in Naas Hospital, County Kildare, can be addressed, in view of the recent expansion of the hospital to include a second wing: the extra resources and personnel needed to dea...More Button

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials...More Button

Multi-annual Budget Plans

Was asked: his plans to implement a new multi-annual budgeting system for health; and the role in this new funding process of the proposed new cross-party committee on health. More Button

Increases in the health budget have been possible both in Budget 2015 and 2016. It is this Government's intention to work with the Oireachtas to sustain these annual increases going forward. It i...More Button

One of the key proposals in the Programme for Government is the establishment of an Oireachtas Committee to develop cross-party consensus on the future of the health service. I believe the healt...More Button

This will allow the New Partnership Government to make a final decision on the best way forward to finance Universal Healthcare.More Button

Health Services Charges

Was asked: his plans to refund the €100 statutory charge to patients who register at emergency departments in the hope of being treated but leave before being discharged because of onerous waiting times; and ...More Button

The provision for the €100 charge to patients who avail of the services at an Emergency Department is made under the Health (Out-Patient Charges) Regulations 2013. There are certain exemptions fro...More Button

Under Section 6 of the Health Service Executive Governance Act 2013, the Minister may not make a direction to the Health Service Executive in respect of any function of the Executive relating to ...More Button

Health Services Provision

Was asked: if he is aware of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15 who experienced difficulties with the ambulance service and treatment in hospital following strokes; the actions he will take to prevent s...More Button

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE...More Button

In relation to the specific case raised, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office an...More Button

Was asked: if, and when, he will approve a post-operative procedure for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Deputy's question relates to service delivery matters and accordingly I have asked the HSE to respond directly to him.

  If you have not received a reply from the HSE within ...More Button

HSE Staff Training

Was asked: the progress being made to date on the European Commission proposal to establish a common training framework for health care assistants; the input his Department has had in this; the actions that h...More Button

I understand that the Health Service Executive has been involved in Ireland’s participation in the European Commission Project on ‘Support for the definition of core competences of health care assi...More Button

My Department is looking at setting up a working group with an independent Chair to undertake a root and branch review of the role and function of the HCA. The work of this group will examine is...More Button

Clinical Trials

Was asked: if any patient not involved in the ongoing clinical trial is currently receiving combined nivolumab-ipilimumab therapy; his plans to make combined nivolumab-ipilimumab therapy available to all suit...More Button

I am aware that various clinical trials are ongoing and I welcome the opportunity for Irish patients to be involved in such trials. However, my Department is not privy to information on the number...More Button

The HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicinal products under the community drug schemes, in accordance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medica...More Button

I have been informed by the manufacturer of the drug Nivolumab that they have provided the medicine to over 200 advanced lung cancer patients to date through Clinicians in a number of hospitals t...More Button

I welcome the decision announced yesterday by the manufacturer of this drug to extend this compassionate access programme for patients with advanced lung cancer for a period of 30 days to the end...More Button

Was asked: if he is aware of international trials which have indicated substantial results experienced by patients in receipt of combined nivolumab, Opdivo and ipilimumab, Yervoy cancer treatment; if he is aw...More Button

I am aware that various clinical trials are ongoing and I welcome the opportunity for Irish patients to be involved in such trials. However, my Department is not privy to information on the number...More Button

Hospital Beds Data

Was asked: why, as of 29 April 2016, only 116 of 154 previously closed hospital beds were reopened; the reason there have not been further reopenings; the progress made to date to increase capacity; and the f...More Button

I am very conscious of the impact that long wait times in Emergency Departments can have on patients and their families.

  In June 2015, additional funding of €18 million was ma...More Button

Public Sector Pensions

Was asked: his views on the closing of the defined benefit pension scheme of the Central Remedial Clinic, given that some of the persons affected were previously Health Service Executive employees who were fo...More Button

The Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) is funded by the Health Service Executive under Section 38 of the Health Act 2004 and employs in the region of 287 employees. It is understood that 47 employees a...More Button

Following receipt of information from the CRC in relation to the wind up of the scheme the CRC was requested, as a matter of urgency, to seek a viable alternative proposal in conjunction with th...More Button

The CRC has indicated that it will submit detailed proposals to the HSE shortly in relation to this matter.More Button

Was asked: to provide an updated pension plan for staff of the Central Remedial Clinic; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) is funded by the Health Service Executive under Section 38 of the Health Act 2004 and employs in the region of 287 employees. It is understood that 47 employees a...More Button

Following receipt of information from the CRC in relation to the wind up of the scheme the CRC was requested, as a matter of urgency, to seek a viable alternative proposal in conjunction with th...More Button

The CRC has indicated that it will submit detailed proposals to the HSE shortly in relation to this matter.More Button

Pharmacy Services

Was asked: the potential cost savings and benefits to health of introducing a national pharmaceuticals policy which ensures that persons receive quality drugs at the lowest possible price and that doctors pre...More Button

I understand that central procurement is a key element of national pharmaceutical policies in other countries. The Programme for a Partnership Government includes a commitment to examine opportuni...More Button

Most drugs and medicines reimbursed by the HSE are supplied to patients through over 1,800 contracted community pharmacies which, in turn, purchase them from wholesalers or, to a lesser extent, d...More Button

The HSE maintains a Reimbursement List of all products reimbursed under the Community Drug Schemes, under the provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. The Act per...More Button

In relation to High Tech drugs, the HSE purchases these drugs directly from the manufacturer for supply through community pharmacies; pharmacists are paid a patient care fee for dispensing these ...More Button

The HSE keeps the price of medicines under ongoing review, and works continuously to achieve greater efficiencies in the areas of drug pricing, supply and distribution. The Executive has a numbe...More Button

In addition, my Department has recently created a new Community Pharmacy, Dental, Optical and Aural Policy unit to bring a renewed focus to the development of policy in relation to community phar...More Button

Health Care Policy

Was asked: how the ongoing work being conducted by his Department and the Economic and Social Research Institute's three-year programme on health reform will support in its work the new Oireachtas committee t...More Button

I welcome the establishment of the Committee on the Future of Healthcare which is a key commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government. The staffing and resourcing of the Committee is a ...More Button

Was asked: if he will make available all of the documentation provided by officials in his Department to Independent Deputies during the course of negotiations for the new programme for Government; the clinic...More Button

Officials from the Department of Health met with a wide range of Deputies during the course of negotiations for the Programme for a Partnership Government. The purpose of these meetings was to pro...More Button

The Programme for a Partnership Government sets out a number of commitments for the health sector. A key commitment is the establishment of an Oireachtas Committee to develop cross party consens...More Button

If the Deputy has a query about a specific measure raised during the meetings, I would be happy to address it on receipt.More Button

National Cancer Strategy

Was asked: his plans to ensure that the process of approving vital medication for the treatment of serious illnesses such as cancer is expedited, and that drugs such as pembrolizumab and nivolizumab are made ...More Button

The HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicinal products under the community drug schemes, in accordance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical ...More Button

As regards the specific drugs referred to by the Deputy, the HSE confirmed yesterday that Pembrolizumab has been approved for reimbursement. I understand that Nivolumab is still being considered...More Button

Was asked: his plans to introduce a compensation scheme for persons suffering from asbestosis cancer; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department has no plans to introduce a compensation scheme for persons suffering from Asbestosis cancer. The focus is on supporting the health and well-being of our population, and on providing...More Button

My Department is currently developing a new National Cancer Strategy 2016 - 2025 which is likely to focus on prevention, early diagnosis and further improvements in treatment and patient care, as...More Button

Public Sector Pay

Was asked: the amount saved by having a lower level of pay for new recruits to the public service in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the information could not be collated in the time available, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly on this matter. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 worki...More Button

Hospital Equipment

Was asked: the number of patient hoists located at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, County Louth, and whether one is permanently located in its emergency department.More Button

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials...More Button

HSE Staff

Was asked: the number of Health Service Executive staff on sick leave due to work-related stress.More Button

I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly on this matter. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and they will follow up...More Button

Was asked: the number of Health Service Executive staff in County Louth on sick leave due to work-related stress.More Button

I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly on this matter. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and they will follow up...More Button

Was asked: the number of Health Service Executive staff who were on sick leave due to work related stress for any period in each of the years 2013 to 2016 to date.More Button

I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly on this matter. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and they will follow up...More Button

Hospital Staff

Was asked: the number of Health Service Executive staff at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, County Louth, on sick leave due to work-related stress.More Button

I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly on this matter. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and they will follow up...More Button

Hospital Records

Was asked: the status of a person's (details supplied) hospital records; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE...More Button

In relation to the specific case raised, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office an...More Button

Health Services

Was asked: his views on the case of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the particular issue raised relates to an individual case, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the HSE for direct reply to you. If you have not received a reply from the HSE with...More Button

Was asked: if a focused and strategic examination of the delivery of the public health services can identify best practice in service delivery; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The focused and strategic examination of the delivery of the public health services is ongoing. Reform is required across and between primary, social and acute care but it is also important to thi...More Button

Hospital Appointments Administration

Was asked: his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding hospital appointments.More Button

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE...More Button

The scheduling of appointments for patients is a matter for the hospital to which the patient has been referred. Should a patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition war...More Button

Disability Support Services Funding

Was asked: the status of the provision of funding for a disability support service (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Primary Care Centres

Was asked: the status of the new primary care centres he will establish, including when they will be completed and operational, and in particular the centre in Edenmore, Dublin 5; and if he will make a statem...More Button

As this is a service issue, this question has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, pl...More Button

Accident and Emergency Services Provision

Was asked: when he will complete the new accident and emergency department at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials...More Button

Electronic Cigarettes

Was asked: his views on vaping, including the measures he will bring forward to regulate it; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Programme for Government Priorities

Was asked: his priorities as outlined in the programme for Government; if he requires, and the amount of, Supplementary Estimates to meet these commitments; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I outlined my priorities under the Programme for a Partnership Government to the House previously.

  The planning and management of future health expenditure will be ...More Button

Medical Card Applications

Was asked: the status of an application by a person (details supplied) under the medical card scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services sche...More Button

Was asked: the status of an application by a person (details supplied) under the medical card scheme, given that the person has provided all requested documentation; how he ensures that when subsequent docume...More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services sche...More Button

Was asked: the status of an application by a person (details supplied) under the medical card scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated ...More Button

If the Deputy has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office who will follow up the matter with them.More Button

Drug and Alcohol Task Forces

Was asked: the reason for cuts to the mid-west task force of 51.8% since 2009; if he will establish a drugs task force for the metropolitan area of Limerick city; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Speech and Language Therapy

Was asked: the speech and language services, the waiting time for early intervention services and the waiting time from initial assessment to commencement of treatment in County Mayo, by clinic area, in tabul...More Button

As this is a service issue, this question has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, pl...More Button

Was asked: the staffing levels in place for speech and language therapy services, the number of vacant positions and the length of time these have been vacant; the measures he will put in place to provide a p...More Button

As this is a service issue, this question has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, pl...More Button

Medical Card Administration

Was asked: why a person (details supplied) received a renewal under the medical card scheme which was due to expire in September 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated ...More Button

If the Deputy has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office who will follow up the matter with them.More Button

Was asked: if he can streamline the processing of applications, in particular of renewals where the applicant's financial position has not changed, under the medical card scheme; and if he will make a stateme...More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated ...More Button

If the Deputy has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office who will follow up the matter with them.More Button

Health Services Expenditure

Was asked: if he is aware of reports that investment in capital and current support in the public health services appears to be greater than that in adjoining jurisdictions; if he has examined this to determi...More Button

I am aware that a recent staff European Commission Staff working document indicated higher levels of current health expenditure for Ireland (as a percentage of GNI) than the EU average in 2013. Th...More Button

My Department is currently examining the implications of this new classification system for health accounts and the lessons that can be learned from international comparisons in this context. In...More Button

All of the recent international comparisons that I am aware of suggest that Ireland's level of capital investment is below international average levels.More Button

Primary Care Centres Data

Was asked: if he has evaluated the impact of new primary care centres and in particular alleviating overcrowding at accident and emergency departments in hospitals, given the number of minor procedures undert...More Button

An evaluation of the impact of new Primary Care Centres on hospital Accident and Emergency Departments has not been undertaken by the Department.More Button

However, I can advise the Deputy that there are a range of initiatives and services provided in a primary care setting which are intended to prevent unnecessary hospital admission or attendance a...More Button

Medical Card Applications Data

Was asked: the number of applications and applications for renewal received and the number granted and refused, in each of the last 12 months, under the medical card scheme; and if he will make a statement on...More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated ...More Button

If the Deputy has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office who will follow up the matter with them.More Button

Was asked: the number of applications for discretionary medical card which are being approved and rejected; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated ...More Button

If the Deputy has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office who will follow up the matter with them.More Button

Community Care

Was asked: if he is enhancing and improving community care facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Hospitals Building Programme

Was asked: the status of proposals to extensd Naas General Hospital, County Kildare, including when the various works will commence and conclude; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials...More Button

Nursing Staff Provision

Was asked: if he can provided an adequate number of nurses to the public health sector; if the recent recruitment campaigns are on target; if competition from the private sector or overseas locations is evide...More Button

I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly on this matter. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and they will follow up...More Button

Hospital Consultant Contracts

Was asked: the hospitals at which consultants are in breach of their 80:20 public private mix, the maximum breach; the number of breaches, by hospital, in tabular form; if this is impacting on waiting lists; ...More Button

I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly on this matter. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and they will follow up...More Button

Parliamentary Questions

Was asked: when he will issue a final reply to an interim reply (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Dental Services Waiting Lists

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) will receive a dental appointment.More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contac...More Button