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Harris, Simon

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Hospitals Building Programme

Was asked: the status of the relocation of the three Dublin maternity hospitals to new sites; the planned dates for when the new hospitals will be open; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I thank the Deputy for his question. In line with best international practice, it is the policy of the Government and Oireachtas, as set out in the national maternity strategy, that stand-alone ma...More Button

Project Ireland 2040, our capital plan, provides €10.9 billion for health capital developments across the country, including funding to relocate the hospitals.More Button

The Government is fully committed to the maternity hospital projects. The new maternity hospital at the St. Vincent's University Hospital campus will be the first of these to be developed. The ...More Button

The relocation of the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street to the St. Vincent's University Hospital campus is progressing. A number of enabling works contracts in regard to the pharmacy ...More Button

The relocation of the Rotunda to the Connolly Hospital campus is one of the key infrastructure projects to be funded. It is important that we carefully plan all projects to meet population healt...More Button

A site for the proposed maternity hospital is identified in the St. James's Hospital campus master plan, and the new children's hospital design has allowed for the required operational links and ...More Button

Project briefs will be progressed in 2020 for the relocation of the Rotunda, Coombe and Limerick hospitals to acute hospital campuses. I acknowledge something the Deputy called for in the capita...More Button

Unfairly.More Button

The phrase "fairly or unfairly" is pretty loaded because one believes the accusation is either fair or unfair.More Button

As Minister for Health, I believe it is very fair. I hope that if the Deputy were in my position, he would adopt this approach also, such that we will not press "Go" on the building of the new nat...More Button

That is not delaying the project, however, because the enabling works are ongoing on the pharmacy and car park, both of which will benefit our acute adult hospital anyway. Those works are due to...More Button

While the Deputy is correct that it was always intended to proceed with the Coombe project alongside the national children's hospital project, it was never from a construction point of view. The...More Button

With regard to the Rotunda, I agree there is a need to listen to Professor Malone on the interim works that should be carried out. I have asked Professor Malone and the HSE to come up with an ag...More Button

It is a very Dublin-centric question because the Deputy keeps on leaving out poor old Limerick. I am sure Deputy O'Dea would not be happy with that. We do intend to co-locate the four maternity h...More Button

To answer the Deputy's question bluntly, Holles Street is the first in the queue. That is our intention. I hope, subject to the criteria I have set out being met by all involved, that construct...More Button

With regard to the Coombe, we need to go to tender. If I start giving out dates on the floor of the Dáil on the tender process and the construction project, the Deputy will come back to me in te...More Button

With regard to the Rotunda, my priority, while I am committed to the bigger move, is to see how we can help the master with the interim works that need to be carried out. I wish to see funding p...More Button

Primary Care Centres Staff

Was asked: the staff, by occupation, working in each primary care centre run by the HSE; and the vacancies in each.More Button

I thank Deputy O'Reilly for the question. The development of community and primary care services is a key priority for the Government and primary care centres support this goal by providing a sett...More Button

Data, as requested in the question, on the number of staff working in individual centres are not compiled centrally by the HSE, nor are vacancies identified within a specific building. There is ...More Button

Nationally, there are more than 10,600 staff working in primary care and it is estimated that around 1,800 of these staff were working in primary care centres as of November 2018. Many other sta...More Button

Alongside infrastructure - this is a crucial point - we are also investing in staff. Deputy O'Reilly makes the point to me regularly that we can have all the shiny buildings we want but we need ...More Button

The Deputy's comments are reasonably fair, except that perhaps they miss out on one point. For the first time we are now beginning to map out the actual requirements in each of the new regional he...More Button

It is fair criticism to say that we have invested a lot in buildings and now we need to catch up in terms of investment in people. Usually, every budget day we get asked how many extra nurses an...More Button

On the issue of directly employed GPs, I agree it has happened in some areas but I accept not many. I visited one area in the north inner city where directly employed GPs are providing a service...More Button

I agree with Deputy O'Reilly. I have had conversations with the HSE about that and it is clear in its mandate in that regard.More Button

Deputy O'Reilly used the word "disingenuous" and I do not wish to use it back, but perhaps she is choosing not to listen to what I said in that regard. We got funding in last month's budget to h...More Button

  Question No. 40 replied to with Written Answers.More Button

General Practitioner Services Provision

Was asked: his plans to address the failure to fill the vacant general practitioner posts in Newmarket-on-Fergus, County Clare, Milltown, County Kerry, Macroom, County Cork, and in many other locations nation...More Button

I thank Deputy Harty. As of 1 November, there are 22 vacant general medical services, GMS, general practitioner posts nationwide. These vacancies account for less than 1% of all GMS panels. The ...More Button

The Government is aware of the workforce issues facing general practice, including the difficulties in filling certain GMS vacancies. I assure the Deputy that the Government is committed to the ...More Button

The recent agreement on GP contractual reforms, which was endorsed by 95% of GPs who participated in the consultative Irish Medical Organisation, IMO, ballot, will see an increase in expenditure ...More Button

In addition, I am very encouraged to see that the number of medical graduates undertaking GP training has increased from 120 in 2009 to 192 filled places in 2019, with a further increase expected...More Button

Was asked: his plans to ensure a general practitioner service is provided in Fettercairn, Tallaght, Dublin 24.More Button

As this question relates to a service matter, I have arranged for it to be referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: his plans to ensure that all communities have local access to general practitioner services.More Button

The Government is aware of the workforce issues facing general practice, including the difficulties in filling certain GMS vacancies. I would like to assure the Deputy that the Government is commit...More Button

The recent Agreement on GP contractual reforms will see an increase in expenditure on GP services of €210 million annually by 2023, providing significant increases in capitation fees for particip...More Button

Improved family friendly arrangements are also an important feature of the revised contractual arrangements, with an increase in the locum rate for maternity and paternity cover, and an increase ...More Button

In addition, the number of medical graduates undertaking GP training has increased from 120 in 2009 to 192 filled places in 2019, with a further increase expected next year. In a recent press rel...More Button

I am confident that the measures outlined in the Agreement with GPs on contractual reform and service developments will make general practice more sustainable and a more attractive career option ...More Button

General Practitioner Services Provision (Continued)

I assure the Deputy that I do not consider our engagement with the GP bodies to be done. I very much consider the measures we have taken in recent months to be about initial sustainability after a...More Button

Regarding the three areas the Deputy mentioned, in Newmarket-on-Fergus in County Clare the GP post has been re-advertised with a closing date of 12 December. It is planned to hold interviews for...More Button

I do not disagree with some of the comments the Deputy has made. However, I need to be clear that as Minister I have brokered an agreement with GP representative bodies and will restore every cent...More Button

Healthcare Professionals

Was asked: the timescale for the full reversal of financial emergency measures in the public interest, FEMPI, for GPs and the ending of the two-tier pay scales for consultants; the other steps he plans to tak...More Button

I thank the Deputy for her question. It raises queries in respect of doctors in general, both GPs and consultants. I will try to take them both. I have outlined a number of the measures in respe...More Button

Regarding consultants, I want to be clear. I believe we are going to need to pay our consultants working in the public health service a lot more money if we want to keep them there. I intend to...More Button

Healthcare Professionals (Continued)

I do not agree that it is being done very slowly in the unwinding of this. I believe it is being done in quite an equitable way, favouring lower-paid public workers and people who have contracts w...More Button

Salaried GPs are now in place in Ireland. I accept there is a need to ramp it up. There is no need for any legislative change to make that a reality. The HSE already has those powers and is al...More Button

On the out-of-hours services, GPs are contracted under the general medical services scheme and must make suitable arrangements to enable contact to be made with them or with a locum for emergenci...More Button

I agree with the Deputy on the generalists' model. We have already seen this begin to work in the new facility in Connolly Hospital Dublin in our new model of care around children. I do not see w...More Button

I need to point out when discussing any issue that one would sometimes get the impression that there are fewer doctors working in the health service. There are in fact more. More consultants are ...More Button

I fully accept that we need more.More Button

The Deputy is correct that the Public Sector Pay Commission said that we need to address the issue of pay parity. I expect in the coming weeks - I am being quite specific in that regard - to hav...More Button

I will bring forward concrete proposals in the coming weeks.More Button

Hospital Accommodation Provision

Was asked: if he has had dealings or meetings in relation to a proposed private hospital in Swords, County Dublin.More Button

I wish all the candidates in all four by-elections the very best and I do not want to involve myself in that campaign.More Button

I note reports of plans by a private company to build a private hospital in Swords. I have not met anyone involved with the development of this proposal.More Button

This is a time of unprecedented capital investment to develop our public health services under Project Ireland 2040. Our public health service was starved during the recessionary and somewhat du...More Button

It is of course the reality today, which the Deputy knows well, whether she or I agree with it, that the public health service and the State utilise capacity that is available in private health f...More Button

I said very clearly that I have not met anybody involved with the development of the proposal. Senator Reilly has indeed mentioned this proposal to me.More Button

Hospital Accommodation Provision (Continued)

I am well aware of it because it is very visible, with a number of people promoting it. I have not had any meetings with anyone involved in the development of the proposal. Senator Reilly has men...More Button

The question of which private facilities are used for which procedures is not a political decision for me to make. It is a decision which is made by the NTPF or, on occasion, by the HSE. I am o...More Button

Home Help Service Provision

Was asked: the number of the additional 1 million home help hours promised in budget 2020 that will be allocated to the north Cork area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the impact of the waiting list for home help on delayed discharges; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if an application for additional home help hours for a person (details supplied) will be expedited in view of the medical condition of the person.More Button

Was asked: if additional home help support will be provided to a person (details supplied) in view of the person's deteriorating health and advanced years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if additional home help hours will be provided for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the reason a person's (details supplied) home help hours have been reduced from two hours per week to only one hour a week.More Button

Was asked: if the home help hours of a person (details supplied) will be reinstated back to two hours per week.More Button

Drug Treatment Programmes Policy

Was asked: if the methadone treatment protocols will be reviewed, in particular the length of time persons are on methadone treatment here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Cross-Border Health Initiatives

Was asked: if additional resources will be provided for the processing of claims under the cross-border directiveMore Button

I thank the Deputy for raising this question and I know of his particular interest as this is a matter he has raised in this House on a number of occasions. I very much appreciate the importance o...More Button

The cross-border directive allows public patients to access necessary healthcare, which they would have been entitled to access in the public healthcare system in Ireland, in another EU or EEA co...More Button

The HSE is responsible for the operation of the cross-border directive and has a dedicated cross-border directive office for this purpose. Since being introduced in 2014, awareness of the provis...More Button

The growth in use of the scheme has placed additional demands on the cross-border directive office and given rise to a build-up of applications. It is important that this service operates in a r...More Button

In the next couple of weeks, we will be publishing the HSE service plan for 2020. I expect and, indeed, am aware that the plan will show a very significant increase in the resources being provid...More Button

I agree with Deputy Smith, who is correct. My understanding is that, roughly, there is now a waiting time for processing of applications of about two months and the office is processing applicatio...More Button

Recognising the issues, officials in my Department have met the HSE to discuss the issue of reimbursement delays. We requested that mitigating measures be identified and put in place. I am plea...More Button

Cross-Border Health Initiatives (Continued)

As for longer-term measures, the HSE is now in the process of recruiting further additional staff and sourcing extra accommodation. I understand that the recruitment of additional staff is immin...More Button

I agree with the Deputy. The only slight caveat I will offer - I know he will agree with me on this - is that there is additional capacity in some of our smaller public hospitals as well, includin...More Button

My note tells me the HSE is processing applications for reimbursement received in September, but I am open to correction on that. As for ensuring fairness of approach, the cross-border office mu...More Button

  Question No. 47 replied to with Written Answers.More Button

Disabilities Assessments

Was asked: the action being taken to reduce the number of overdue assessments of need under the Disability Act 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when he expects assessments of need under the Disability Act 2005 in County Tipperary to be provided within the statutory timeframe; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans to clear the long waiting lists in many areas nationwide for additional needs assessments for children; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans to recruit more occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists to properly staff early intervention and school age assessment teams for children ...More Button

Was asked: when he expects assessments of need under the Disability Act 2005 in County Tipperary to be provided within the statutory timeframe; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Emergency Departments Waiting Times

Was asked: the reason to date in 2019 more than 1,500 persons over 75 years of age have endured emergency department waiting times of more than 24 hours at Cork University Hospital, CUH. More Button

I thank the Deputy for turning up to ask this question. So far today, three Opposition Members who tabled questions have not turned up to ask them, which is interesting. In fairness, I am not cri...More Button

There must be something important happening to which I was not invited.More Button

The number of patients attending emergency departments has increased this year with the result that the hospital system is currently operating at close to full capacity. HSE figures show that fo...More Button

In preparation for the anticipated increase in demand over the winter period the HSE's winter plan was launched on Thursday, 14 November. The Government provided an additional €26 million to fun...More Button

I share the Deputy's view that far too many people over the age of 75 are waiting far too long on hospital trolleys. I have conveyed clearly to the HSE that it must prioritise the care of older ...More Button

I reiterate that my opening comments were not related to this question, which is being covered ably by the Deputy, but to three other questions for which there was no Member in the Chamber.More Button

I am in daily contact, often several times a day, with the most senior members of the HSE, including the CEO and the chief operating officer, as well as with the CEOs of the hospital groups on occa...More Button

I agree with the Deputy regarding Bantry Hospital. The Minister of State, Deputy Daly, is due to meet management of the hospital on 2 December. The Deputy is correct that we need to continue to m...More Button

I do not find this situation acceptable. Nobody finds it acceptable that mothers, fathers, grannies and grandads or any other loved ones, but particularly frail older people, have to wait around...More Button

  Question No. 51 replied to with Written Answers.More Button

Was asked: the reason to date in 2019 more than 850 persons over 75 years of age have endured emergency department wait times of more than 24 hours at Naas General Hospital.More Button

The hospital system is currently operating at close to full capacity. The number of patients attending Emergency Departments continues to increase year on year. HSE figures show that for the first ...More Button

The HSE Winter Plan was launched on Thursday 14 November in preparation for the anticipated increase in demand over the winter period. Th Government has allocated an additional 26m to fund the Pl...More Button

I am confident that with the immediate measures being undertaken under the Winter Plan and the strategic approach undertaken by the Government under Sláintecare that progress will be made in addr...More Button

  Question No. 50 answered orally.More Button

Was asked: the reason to date in 2019 more than 1,530 persons over 75 years of age have endured emergency department wait times of more than 24 hours at University Hospital Galway.More Button

The hospital system is currently operating at close to full capacity. The number of patients attending emergency departments continues to increase year on year. HSE figures show that for the first ...More Button

There are a number of factors which may affect the waiting times for older patients. In particular, people in the older age category presenting to EDs are more likely to have complex needs and be...More Button

In preparation for the anticipated increase in demand over the winter period the HSE Winter Plan was launched on Thursday 14 November. Nine Winter Action Teams, each aligned to a Community Health...More Button

There are challenges facing the emergency departments in our hospitals. The Government is tackling these issues through providing funding of €26m for the immediate measures being undertaken in th...More Button

I am confident that together with the more immediate measures being undertaken under the Winter Plan and the strategic approach undertaken by the Government under Sláintecare and Project Ireland ...More Button

Was asked: the reason to date in 2019 over 2,300 people over 75 years of age have endured emergency department wait times of more than 24 hours in the two hospitals in north Dublin.More Button

The hospital system is currently operating at close to full capacity. The number of patients attending Emergency Departments continues to increase year on year. HSE figures show that for the first ...More Button

In relation to the Mater University hospital, HSE figures show that for the first ten months of 2019, the number of patients attending the Hospital increased by 2.5%, however, the number of atten...More Button

The figures for both hospitals show the continued high level of demand for services at emergency departments. More Button

The HSE Winter Plan was launched on Thursday 14 November in preparation for the anticipated increase in demand over the winter period. The Government has provided additional funding of €26m to su...More Button

I acknowledge the challenges that are facing the emergency departments in our hospitals. In addition to the immediate measures being undertaken in the Winter Plan the Government through the Sláin...More Button

I am confident that together with the more immediate measures being undertaken under the Winter Plan and the strategic approach undertaken by the Government under Sláintecare that progress will b...More Button

Was asked: the reason to date in 2019 more than 1,100 persons over 75 years of age have endured emergency department wait times of more than 24 hours at St. Vincent's University Hospital.More Button

The number of patients attending emergency departments across the hospital system continues to increase annually, with the result that the system is currently operating at close to full capacity. H...More Button

There are a number of factors which may affect the waiting times for older patients. In particular, people in the older age category presenting to EDs are more likely to have complex needs and be...More Button

The HSE Winter Plan was launched on Thursday 14 November in preparation for the anticipated increase in demand over the winter period. I have allocated an additional €26m to fund the implementat...More Button

I am confident that together with the more immediate measures being undertaken under the Winter Plan and the strategic approach undertaken by the Government under Sláintecare and Project Ireland ...More Button

Was asked: the reason to date in 2019 more than 1,640 persons over 75 years of age have endured emergency department wait times of more than 24 hours at University Hospital Limerick.More Button

Figures provided by the HSE show that for the first ten months of 2019, the number of patients attending University Hospital Limerick decreased by 1.1% and the number of attendances of patients ove...More Button

Notwithstanding the decrease in attendances and admissions at UHL there has been an increase of 16% of the number of patients waiting on trollies as compared to this time last year. There are a...More Button

The HSE Winter Plan was launched on Thursday 14 November in preparation for the anticipated increase in demand over the winter period. The Government allocated an additional €26m to fund the impl...More Button

In relation to UHL a capital budget of €19.5 million has been approved for the provision of a modular 60-bed inpatient ward block at the Hospital, with funding of €10 million allocated in 2019. T...More Button

I acknowledge the challenges that are facing the emergency departments in our hospitals. In addition to the immediate measures being undertaken in the Winter Plan, the Government through the Slái...More Button

I am confident that together with the more immediate measures being undertaken under the Winter Plan and the strategic approach undertaken by the Government under Sláintecare and Project Ireland ...More Button

Was asked: the reason to date in 2019 over 1,190 persons over 75 years of age have endured emergency department wait times of more than 24 hours at Waterford University Hospital.More Button

The hospital system is currently operating at close to full capacity. The number of patients attending Emergency Departments continues to increase year on year. HSE figures show that for the first ...More Button

There are a number of factors which may affect the waiting times for older patients. In particular, people in the older age category presenting to EDs are more likely to have complex needs and be...More Button

The HSE Winter Plan was launched on Thursday 14 November in preparation for the anticipated increase in demand over the winter period. The Government allocated an additional €26m to fund the impl...More Button

I acknowledge the challenges that are facing the emergency departments in our hospitals. In addition to the immediate measures being undertaken in the Winter Plan, the Government through the Slái...More Button

I am confident that together with the more immediate measures being undertaken under the Winter Plan and the strategic approach undertaken by the Government under Sláintecare and Project Ireland ...More Button

Cancer Screening Programmes

Was asked: his plans to investigate further the significant statistical difference between laboratories in terms of the number of slides reviewed as a percentage of their overall intake, as per the report on ...More Button

In fairness to the Deputy, we have now reached a position where four Opposition Members have failed to turn up to ask their questions. I do not know where they could be or what is more important t...More Button

Was asked: when the review of CervicalCheck by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists due in May 2019 will be published; if his attention has been drawn to the report; the investigation he has ...More Button

Was asked: the way in which the review by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists was leaked before all participating women were informed; and the steps he will take regarding same.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 98 and 116 together.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the purpose of the Independent Clinical Expert Review being conducted by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is to provide women, or their ne...More Button

The overriding focus throughout this process has been to ensure that Review results are communicated to women and families in the most appropriate and sensitive way possible. A core principle un...More Button

While the aggregate report has not yet been received by my Department, the Royal College in a letter addressed to me in September 2019 advised that, based on the provisional findings of its Revi...More Button

Was asked: if the review of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of the history of over 1,000 women with the CervicalCheck screening programme will detail the discordant reviewed slides with ...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the purpose of the Independent Clinical Expert Review being conducted by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is to provide women, or their next...More Button

Every woman who has been diagnosed with cervical cancer since September 2008 whose cancer was registered with the National Cancer Registry of Ireland before 5 May 2018, and who has had one or mor...More Button

Where the expert panel opinion of cytology results differs to the original results provided by CervicalCheck, the panel endeavoured to determine, wherever possible, any failures to prevent cancer...More Button

As set out in the TOR, the Review will also produce an aggregate report, which shall include recommendations where appropriate, with the aim of improving care for women. While the aggregate repor...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which the women involved in the cervical smear test issues have had their cases dealt with to their satisfaction; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I understand that the Deputy is referring to the Independent Clinical Expert Panel Review of cervical screening, which is being carried out by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists ...More Button

The purpose of the review is to provide women, or their next of kin, with independent clinical assurance about the timing of their diagnosis and treatment. In addition, an aggregate report by the...More Button

I am happy to report that the RCOG review is nearing completion. The overriding focus throughout this process has been to ensure that review results are communicated to women and families in the ...More Button

On 9 September, the HSE sent a letter to all 1,038 participants in the review to provide them with options about how they may choose to receive their report. The process of communicating individu...More Button

A core principle underpinning this process has been to ensure that individual participants would have had an opportunity to receive their results in advance of publication of the Expert Panel’s A...More Button

While the aggregate report has not yet been received, the Royal College in a letter to the Minister for Health in September advised that, based on the provisional findings of its Review, the perf...More Button

It has always been expected that a significant proportion of women in this review will receive results which disagree with their original review result. This is in line with international experie...More Button

This reflects the reality that no matter how closely a review panel tries to reproduce the original screening conditions, the conditions of a review are different – the fact that a review include...More Button

Cancer Screening Programmes (Continued)

I do not have the report in front of me but I may have some of the material from it. This information was requested by women and their families, and by a number of Deputies, including, principally...More Button

Yes.More Button

I cannot agree with the Deputy's use of words such as "substandard", because I have to base my assessment on the reports and analyses that have been conducted. Dr. Scally found significant failure...More Button

On the broader point, about which I know Deputy Bríd Smith is concerned, of whether we can do more in Ireland or repatriate our service, it is our intention to significantly expand those services...More Button

  Questions Nos. 53 to 55, inclusive, replied to with Written Answers.More Button

Home Care Packages Provision

Was asked: the extent to which adequate provision has been made in respect of home care packages, with particular reference to the need to concentrate on home care, thereby alleviating the pressure on hospita...More Button

Thirty-ninth Amendment of the Constitution (Right to Health) Bill 2019: Second Stage [Private Members] (Continued)

I move amendment No. 1:More Button

The ignorance of referring to it as a hole in the ground is breathtaking.More Button

I seek the protection of the Acting Chair.More Button

Deputy Collins referred to a definition provided by the World Health Organization, WHO. I am sure he and certain of his colleagues also understand its position on women's reproductive rights and t...More Button

I am allowed to comment politically in the House as I wish.More Button

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak on the Bill. I very much appreciate Deputy Harty's intention in bringing it forward. I fully accept his bona fides and I share his ambition, as do all...More Button

New politics and the make-up of this Dáil is often criticised in the media and political discourse. One of the big successes of new politics and the minority Government has been that all sides o...More Button

I very much respect the motivation behind the Bill but I am advised that it requires serious consideration. That is no fault of the Deputy. The Bill was published last week and happens to have ...More Button

The Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare heard from diverse stakeholders and received many submissions before formulating its final recommendations. We now have its ten-year reform p...More Button

I am glad to highlight some of the work under way to achieve the Sláintecare vision of a universal-single-tier health and social care service where access is based on need, and not ability to pay...More Button

In theory, a constitutional right to health sounds positive and I have no doubt it is intended as such. However, the scope and limitations of the right to health which the Bill sets out to guara...More Button

I welcome and share the Deputy's overarching view of health under a banner of "health protection", which is intelligent wording. This would account for wider socio-economic factors and the impor...More Button

The Bill seeks to put only the right to health into the Constitution. Therefore, we would be making a conscious decision to elevate the right to health above other important social needs. When ...More Button

-----rather than inadvertently leading to a diversion of limited resources from other crucial areas.More Button

In any informed debate we will need to consider, as I am sure the people would need to consider in the context of a referendum campaign, the profound impact putting any words into our Constitutio...More Button

If the Deputy's proposed amendment was to be incorporated into the Constitution, the Government, the Oireachtas, and perhaps I, as Minister for Health, would give up responsibility for making dec...More Button

Rather than the Minister of the day, the Government of the day or the Oireachtas of the day, including Deputy Mattie McGrath, voting on a budget matter, we could run the risk of judges making decis...More Button

We also need to adequately consider the complex issues that arise with the necessary revenue to provide for any ensuing expenditure. Any of the Deputies present could find himself or herself as ...More Button

The proposed amendment creates the potential for significant diversions of resources into the handling of court cases, creating uncertainty about the state of the law while cases are processed. ...More Button

I know Deputy Harty shares the view that a fundamental tenet of our democracy is that the people of Ireland have their voices heard on what their policy priorities are in each election, with our ...More Button

In the interest of having an informed debate and moving this process forward, I want to put on record some of the views that could be articulated should this issue be taken further. We need to a...More Button

Six months of hard work by my Department in the context of our Sláintecare implementation and our work on entitlement and eligibility, especially considering how this work dovetails with the good...More Button

I acknowledge Deputy Harty's sincerity on this and the amount of work he and his team have done on it. I do not intend in any way to attempt to kill off this discussion tonight because it is a d...More Button

No.More Button

Mental Health Services

Was asked: the measures being taken to improve mental health services for adults and children with intellectual disabilities and for those with autism; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) was not permitted access and admittance to the psychiatric unit at Roscommon University Hospital on the date specified in view of the nature of the person's c...More Button

Ambulance Service

Was asked: the reason for the significant deterioration in ambulance turnaround times in the Midlands Regional Hospital between September 2017 and September 2019.More Button

Ambulance turnaround times provide the time interval from ambulance arrival time at a hospital, to when the ambulance crew declares readiness to accept another call. The performance target for 2019...More Button

When the emergency care system at Hospitals are under pressure, there is the potential for delay in the transfer of care of patients from ambulance to Emergency Department personnel. An Ambulanc...More Button

My Department has engaged extensively with the HSE this year to identify mitigating actions to bring down trolley numbers and waiting times in the ED in the face of growing demand. The HSE Winte...More Button

I have been assured that the HSE is committed to ensuring that patient care remains seamless and that patients are clinically handed over in a safe, professional and timely manner; with the safet...More Button

  Question No. 48 answered orally.More Button

Was asked: the reason for the significant deterioration in ambulance turnaround times in Mayo University Hospital between September 2017 and September 2019.More Button

Ambulance turnaround times provide the time interval from ambulance arrival time at a hospital, to when the ambulance crew declares readiness to accept another call. The performance target for 2019...More Button

When the emergency care system at Hospitals are under pressure, there is the potential for delay in the transfer of care of patients from ambulance to Emergency Department personnel. An Ambulanc...More Button

My Department has engaged extensively with the HSE this year to identify mitigating actions to bring down trolley numbers and waiting times in the ED in the face of growing demand. The HSE Winter...More Button

I have been assured that the HSE is committed to ensuring that patient care remains seamless and that patients are clinically handed over in a safe, professional and timely manner; with the safet...More Button

Was asked: the reason for the significant deterioration in ambulance turnaround times in Kerry University Hospital between September 2017 and September 2019.More Button

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

Was asked: the steps he is taking to improve ambulance services on foot of recommendations in the report of the trauma steering group; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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

Was asked: the reason for the significant deterioration in ambulance turnaround times in Cavan General Hospital between September 2017 and September 2019.More Button

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

Occupational Therapy Waiting Lists

Was asked: when progress will be made on reducing waiting times in north Dublin for occupational therapy assessments especially for those under 18 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I acknowledge that the current time to access Occupational Therapy services in North Dublin, and indeed nationally, can be too long and that this may cause anxiety for parents and patients who are ...More Button

The fact that people are waiting too long to access therapy services such as OT is a reflection of the historical under-investment in the primary and community sector in Ireland. The Government ...More Button

The Government’s commitment to reform can be seen in Budget 2020 with the allocation of €10m to provide for the enhancement of Community Services, building to a full-year allocation of €60m in 20...More Button

Turning specifically to the situation in North Dublin, I understand that the recruitment of six OTs has been approved by the local Head of Service for Primary Care to fill vacancies that currentl...More Button

I also understand that North Dublin, along with other CHOs, are implementing local action plans to address waiting times and that these include a focus on long waiters, cross cover arrangements a...More Button

  Question No. 52 answered orally.More Button

Was asked: when progress will be made on reducing waiting times in County Mayo for occupational therapy assessments especially for those under 18 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.More Button

Primary Care Centres Provision

Was asked: the status of the proposed new primary care centres in Arklow and Rathdrum, County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the status of the primary care centre for Rathdrum, County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the status of the development of the Arklow primary care centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 54, 344 and 348 together.

  I am pleased to be able to inform the Deputy that the development of the Primary Care Centres in Arklow and Rathdrum ...More Button

Was asked: the cause of the delay in the provision of the Rowlagh primary healthcare centre in north Clondalkin which was first announced in 2012; the timeline for the completion of the project which was gran...More Button

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.More Button

Was asked: the timeframe for works to complete a primary care health centre at Church Street, Moate, County Westmeath, (details supplied); and if this work will be completed within the coming months.More Button

As the HSE has responsibility for the provision, along with the maintenance and operation of Primary Care Centres and other Primary Care facilities, the Executive has been asked to reply directly t...More Button

Was asked: the status of the development of a primary healthcare centre in Lucan, County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the HSE has responsibility for the provision, along with the maintenance and operation of Primary Care Centres and other Primary Care facilities, the Executive has been asked to reply directly t...More Button

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Data

Was asked: the number of children waiting for a CAMHS appointment at 31 October 2019 or the latest date available in north County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Vaccination Programme

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

As Minister for Health I have no responsibility for vaccine trials. More Button

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) is responsible for monitoring the safety and quality of all medicines including vaccines that are licensed in Ireland. All HPV vaccines available ...More Button

The HPRA has advised that the specific HPV vaccine trial has not been identified in this query. This response is therefore only made in relation to the HPV vaccine that been chosen by the HSE fo...More Button

The safety of HPV vaccines have been studied for over 13 years. Over 1 million people have been studied during clinical trials since the vaccine was licensed in 2006. No country has raised conc...More Button

All international bodies have continually reported that the vaccines used in Ireland have no long-term side effects. Most people have no problems after the vaccine. The HPV vaccine has many of ...More Button

All medicines, including vaccines are subject to on-going review and evaluation of all available data from a range of sources, including systematic scientific literature review, to consider any i...More Button

The HPRA and the EMA continually monitor adverse events to vaccination. The HPRA operates a national adverse reaction reporting system, which members of the public and healthcare professionals a...More Button

Emergency Departments Services

Was asked: the extent to which he continues to make progress in addressing the issue of overcrowding at accident and emergency departments in hospitals nationwide; the extent to which the issues affecting the...More Button

I acknowledge the challenges facing the emergency departments in our hospitals.

  According to HSE, there was a 2.7% increase in ED attendances nationally this year up to the en...More Button

Was asked: the action being taken to address the persistent overcrowding in the emergency department in University Hospital Limerick.More Button

I acknowledge the challenges facing the emergency departments in our hospitals.

  According to HSE TrolleyGAR data, there was a 16% increase in patients counted waiting on troll...More Button

Was asked: if a private room will be provided in the accident and emergency department of South Tipperary General Hospital in which patients presenting with mental health issues can wait to be seen in the pri...More Button

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to you directly as soon as possible.More Button

Hospital Facilities

Was asked: the status of progress on a new endoscopy unit for Naas General Hospital; the next steps in the delivery of a new stand alone mental health unit to replace Lakeview on the site of the hospital; and...More Button

A new endoscopy unit for Naas General Hospital is included for progression in the 2019 Capital Plan. An extension to planning permission was sought and has been extended for a further 5 years to D...More Button

The original development proposal for a new standalone mental health unit to replace Lakeview on the site of Naas General Hospital comprised the provision of an 8-bed intensive care unit at the e...More Button

Following a review of the proposal, a significant expansion of the project scope is now proposed, with an associated increase in project value. This has meant the original design team’s engagemen...More Button

The HSE has now appointed a new design team for this much expanded project. More Button

The revised proposal is expected to deliver 50 bed spaces including a 9 bed intensive care area and significantly upgraded infrastructure. The timeframe for the completion of the new Acute Mental...More Button

It is important to recognise that all capital development proposals must progress through a number of approval stages, in line with the Public Spending Code, including detailed appraisal, plannin...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the catheterisation laboratory development in University Hospital Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In 2016, the Herity Report concluded that the needs of the effective catchment population of University Hospital Waterford (UHW) could be accommodated from a single cath lab and recommended that th...More Button

A mobile cath lab has been deployed at UHW since October 2017 to conduct diagnostic cardiac procedures pending the recruitment of the additional staff required to extend the opening hours of the ...More Button

I remain committed to the provision of a second cath lab in University Hospital Waterford.  The project has been included in the HSE’s Capital Programme 2019, the Design Team was appointed in Jun...More Button

The Herity Report also recommended that the current 9 to 5 provision of emergency pPCI services should cease to allow the hospital focus on the much larger volume of planned work. I asked my Depa...More Button

The aim of this Review is to achieve optimal patient outcomes at population level with particular emphasis on the safety, quality and sustainability of the services that patients receive by estab...More Button

Work is ongoing on finalisation of the Review and drafting of its recommendations has commenced.More Button

Speech and Language Therapy Waiting Lists

Was asked: the measures being taken to improve waiting times for speech and language assessments in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Genetically Modified Organisms

Was asked: the future production and regulation of genetically modified foods here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Responsibility for the deliberate release, use of feed and food and the labelling and traceability of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is divided between a number of Departments and their Agen...More Button

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) has responsibility for policy matters in relation to EU Directives on the deliberate release of GMOs into the environment an...More Button

DAFM is responsible for GM animal feeds, the coexistence of authorised GM crops alongside non-GM crops and the seed certification related to GM products. DAFM’s sole responsibility in relation t...More Button

The Department of Health’s remit in this area relates to policy on the safety of food. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) provides scientific and technical advice; it is the Competent A...More Button

GM crops, food and feed are subject to a comprehensive risk assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and subsequent regulatory votes by Member States before they are authorised for...More Button

HSE Staff Recruitment

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 82 of 10 October 2019, the reason sanction has not been given by the HSE in respect of the 48 vacant posts in which interviews have been held, posts offered an...More Button

I am advised by the HSE that while there is no national recruitment embargo or moratorium in place, there is a priority requirement for all HSE services to maintain, or get to, an affordable staffi...More Button

In light of this, the HSE advise that they have introduced control measures relating to staffing and recruitment to ensure that they live within the available resources provided to them. This do...More Button

The HSE report that there is on-going capacity for recruitment of newly funded posts and replacement of critical clinical posts within frontline services throughout this period. More Button

With regard to these posts specifically, I am advised by Community Healthcare West that once derogation is received from the appropriate National Directors Office, the HSE Recruitment Office will...More Button

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Review

Was asked: the status of reforms of the nursing homes support scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Disease Management

Was asked: his views on the length of time on average it is taking to diagnose endometriosis and the impact this has on women suffering from the disease including their mental, emotional and physical health a...More Button

I am advised that the majority of cases of endometriosis are within the scope of a general gynaecologist to see, diagnose and treat. A GP referral to a gynaecologist is the standard pathway of care...More Button

Information provided by the HSE indicates that endometriosis is a difficult condition to diagnose and treat because of the variation of presentations, impacting the physical and mental wellbeing ...More Button

As such, I am advised that the Programme has developed a plan to increase the capacity and reduce waiting times for women awaiting general gynaecology, which includes patients with endometriosis....More Button

The Programme has advised that the provision of training in the management and diagnosis of endometriosis forms an integral part of the specialist medical training programme provided by the Insti...More Button

Disability Services Provision

Was asked: the steps being taken to address increased demand for disability services in County Kildare due to the growing population and the growing number of complex cases requiring residential care; and if ...More Button

Was asked: his plans to improve paediatric health and disability services in counties Carlow and Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) who needs supported living is still in St. James's Hospital, Dublin, five weeks after being admitted.More Button

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

Was asked: the reason children (details supplied) cannot obtain an appointment for speech, occupational and physiotherapy, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the reason for the delay in a person (details supplied) receiving a day service in view of the fact the person has a personalised budget and should have no issues receiving the service.More Button

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) is waiting a long time for an appointment; when they will be seen; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans to give adults with a disability a legal right to services; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the status of the case of a person (details supplied); and if an urgent appointment will be scheduled.More Button

Hospital Staff

Was asked: when he is planning for safe staffing levels in hospitals to be reached for nurses, midwives and doctors including ceasing of the new entrant pay disparity for consultants; the timeline for same; a...More Button

I must clarify at the outset that the HSE's overriding requirement is to prioritise the delivery of safe services, within available resources, and frontline staffing numbers continue to grow in sup...More Button

Over the past five years the numbers of whole-time equivalent consultants, nurses and midwives working in the public health sector have increased significantly. In the consultant category there ...More Button

This incremental growth in frontline staffing numbers is ongoing, and in the 12-month period to end October 2019, there continued to be increases with circa 150 additional consultants and 650 ext...More Button

Regarding consultants, the recommendations of the 2017 Sláintecare Report re-orientates the Irish health system towards one that prioritises fair and equal access to consultant led care for all p...More Button

The Government is committed to the implementation of Sláintecare. In this regard, my Department, together with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the HSE, recently met with both...More Button

Consultancy Contracts Expenditure

Was asked: the estimated costs of the external consultant reviews of major infrastructural projects such as the national children's hospital in 2019 and 2020.More Button

In relation to the new children's hospital, the Department of Health incurred no cost for external consultant reviews in 2019, and has no planned external consultant reviews for the remainder of 20...More Button

However, an independent review into the cost escalation associated with the new children’s hospital construction project was commissioned by the HSE and published on 9 April 2019. As such, I have...More Button

Hospital Waiting Lists

Was asked: the waiting times for the National Rehabilitation Hospital; the number of persons on the waiting list for the hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) has been waiting five weeks for an operation.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 National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed t...More Button

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.More Button

Was asked: if a hospital appointment will be expedited for a person (details supplied); the length of time the person has been waiting; 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

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed t...More Button

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) will receive an appointment for an operation; 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

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed t...More Button

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) will receive a date for surgery; the average waiting list time for such surgery; 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

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed t...More Button

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) will receive an appointment; 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

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed t...More Button

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.More Button

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) is not being called for a MRI scan; the reason the person was provided with false information; 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

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed t...More Button

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.More Button

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) is on the waiting list for cataract surgery in the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Dublin.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 National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed t...More Button

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) can expect an appointment.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 National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed t...More Button

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 138 of 23 October 2019, if it is standard practice that a person (details supplied) would be waiting in excess of three and a half years to have a MRI; and if ...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 National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed t...More Button

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.More Button

Was asked: the status of a hospital appointment 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

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed t...More Button

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.More Button

  Question No. 348 answered with Question No. 54.More Button

Was asked: when a medical procedure will be scheduled for a person (details supplied).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 National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed t...More Button

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.More Button

Home Help Service

Was asked: when the new statutory scheme will be introduced in view of the substantial deficit in the provision of home help hours.More Button

General Practitioner Services

Was asked: the action being taken to protect general practitioner services in Milltown, County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government is aware of the workforce issues facing general practice, including the difficulties in filling certain GMS vacancies. I would like to assure the Deputy that the Government is commit...More Button

The recent Agreement on GP contractual reforms will see an increase in expenditure on GP services of €210 million annually by 2023, providing significant increases in capitation fees for particip...More Button

In addition, the number of medical graduates undertaking GP training has increased from 120 in 2009 to 192 filled places in 2019, with a further increase expected next year. In a recent press rel...More Button

Currently there are 2,508 GPs contracted to provide services under the GMS Scheme and as at 1 November 2019, 22 panels, or less than 1%, are vacant. More Button

In relation to the vacant GMS panel in Milltown Co Kerry, the HSE has repeatedly advertised this GMS list of 380 patients in an effort to put in place a permanent GP to serve the practice. Howev...More Button

As a result of this, the HSE wrote to the GMS patients served by this practice in early November 2019 advising them that the practice would close in December 2019 and providing them with informat...More Button

In light of the community reaction to this announcement, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare held a meeting with the local community and public representatives on Monday November 18 to listen to loca...More Button

Was asked: the measures being taken to meet the demand for general practitioner services in counties Carlow and Kilkenny, with many persons unable to access them on a regular basis; and if he will make a stat...More Button

The Government is aware of the workforce issues facing general practice, including the difficulties in filling certain GMS vacancies. I would like to assure the Deputy that the Government is commit...More Button

The recent Agreement on GP contractual reforms will see an increase in expenditure on GP services of €210 million annually by 2023, providing significant increases in capitation fees for particip...More Button

Improved family friendly arrangements are an important feature of the revised contractual arrangements, with an increase in the locum rate for maternity and paternity cover, and an increase in th...More Button

In addition, the number of medical graduates undertaking GP training has increased from 120 in 2009 to 192 filled places in 2019, with a further increase expected next year. In a recent press rel...More Button

I am confident that the measures outlined in the Agreement with GPs on contractual reform and service developments will make general practice more sustainable and a more attractive career option ...More Button

In relation to the availability of GP services in Carlow and Kilkenny, as this is an operational issue I have asked the HSE to reply to the directly to the Deputy in relation to this issue.More Button

National Children's Hospital Administration

Was asked: if the estimates to date for the annual operating costs of the national children’s hospital will be provided; the reason for changes in the estimates; the current estimate being used; if a revised ...More Button

The most recent (Dec 2018) updated operating expenditure forecast for the new children’s hospital and urgent care centres when open is estimated at €366m for 2023.   

 ...More Button

Hospital Waiting Lists Action Plans

Was asked: when he expects to see a reduction in the number of persons waiting more than a year for an outpatient appointment in Sligo University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital operations and procedures is a key priority for Government. In this regard, the Government is committed to improving waiting times for hospital appoi...More Button

The latest published National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures for October show that there are 16,705 patients on the Sligo University Hospital Outpatient waiting list. Of these, 63% (10,55...More Button

The NTPF has advised my Department that they have approved a number of Outpatient proposals for Sligo University Hospital in 2019, providing up to 100 additional clinics for 1,088 patient appoint...More Button

More broadly, Budget 2020 announced that the Government has further increased investment in tackling waiting lists, with funding to the NTPF increasing from €75 million in 2019 to €100 million in...More Button

My Department is working with the HSE and National Treatment Purchase Fund to develop the Scheduled Care Access Plan 2020. The National Service Plan 2020 will set out HSE planned activity level f...More Button

In this regard, I would encourage all hospital groups and individual hospitals to engage with the NTPF to identify waiting list proposals for the remainder of this year and for 2020.More Button

Was asked: when he expects to see a reduction in the number of persons waiting more than a year for an outpatient appointment in Mayo University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital operations and procedures is a key priority for Government. In this regard, the Government is committed to improving waiting times for hospital appoi...More Button

The latest published National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures for October show that there are 8,629 patients on the Mayo University Hospital Outpatient waiting list. Of these, 60% (5,198) ...More Button

The NTPF has advised my Department that they have approved a number of Outpatient proposals for Mayo University Hospital in 2019, providing up to 83 clinics for 1,065 patient appointments.More Button

More broadly, Budget 2020 announced that the Government has further increased investment in tackling waiting lists, with funding to the NTPF increasing from €75 million in 2019 to €100 million in...More Button

My Department is working with the HSE and NTPF to develop the Scheduled Care Access Plan 2020. The National Service Plan 2020 will set out HSE planned activity level for the year ahead, while the...More Button

In this regard, I would encourage all hospital groups and individual hospitals to engage with the NTPF to identify waiting list proposals for the remainder of this year and for 2020.More Button

Was asked: his plans to address hospital waiting lists for the remainder of 2019 and in 2020.More Button

Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital operations and procedures is a key priority for Government. In this regard, the Government is committed to improving waiting times for hospital appoi...More Button

The latest published National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures for October show that the Inpatient & Daycase (IPDC) waiting list has decreased by over 6% (-4,490) when compared to the same ...More Button

Budget 2020 announced that the Government has further increased investment in tackling waiting lists, with funding to the NTPF increasing from €75 million in 2019 to €100 million in 2020. More Button

My Department is working with the HSE and National Treatment Purchase Fund to develop the Scheduled Care Access Plan 2020. The National Service Plan 2020 will set out HSE planned activity level f...More Button

In this regard, I would encourage all hospital groups and individual hospitals to engage with the NTPF to identify waiting list proposals for the remainder of this year and for 2020.More Button

Was asked: the steps being taken to reduce waiting lists for gynaecological treatment at Cork University Maternity Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital operations and procedures is a key priority for Government. More Button

The latest published National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures show that there 532 patients in the Cork University Maternity Hospital IPDC waiting list. Of these, 28% (148) are waiting 3 mo...More Button

I am aware that Cork University Maternity Hospital have made considerable improvements to their Outpatients Waiting List over the past year. As a result of the hard work of their dedicated staff ...More Button

The NTPF figures show that at the end of October there were 1,115 patients the outpatient waiting list. Of these, 70% (780) are waiting 3 months or less and 91% (1,012) are waiting 6 months or le...More Button

The NTPF has advised my Department that they have approved a number of IPDC and Outpatient proposals for Cork University Maternity Hospital in 2019, providing up to 1,720 procedures and appointme...More Button

More broadly, Budget 2020 announced that the Government has further increased investment in tackling waiting lists, with funding to the NTPF increasing from €75 million in 2019 to €100 million in...More Button

In this regard, I would encourage all hospital groups and individual hospitals to engage with the NTPF to identify waiting list proposals for the remainder of this year and for 2020.More Button

Was asked: the steps being taken to reduce the waiting list for ophthalmology treatment in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital operations and procedures is a key priority for Government. In recent years, my Department has worked with the HSE and National Treatment Purchase Fu...More Button

Healthcare Infrastructure Provision

Was asked: his plans for each community hospital in County Donegal; his future plans for each of the community hospitals; if funding is ring-fenced for each of the projects proposed; the timeline for the deli...More Button

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to the community hospitals in Done...More Button

Was asked: the timeline for the new extension for Naas General Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to Naas Hospital.More Button

Was asked: his long-term plans for a number of community hospitals in County Donegal including the community hospital in Lifford, Ramelton and St. Joseph's Hospital, Stranorlar; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

As the HSE is responsible for the delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects, including the facilities at Lifford Community Hospital, Ramelton Community Hospital and St. Joseph’s Community Hosp...More Button

Was asked: the status of works at Carndonagh Community Hospital; if a contractor has been appointed; when works are scheduled to commence; the timeline for completion of the works; and if he will make a state...More Button

As the HSE is responsible for the delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects, including Carndonagh Community Hospital I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this this ma...More Button

Was asked: his plans to build a new elderly care home in Roscrea, County Tipperary, to replace the Dean Maxwell home.More Button

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.More Button

Was asked: the detailed design plans with respect to the upgrading of St Joseph's Community Hospital, Stranorlar, County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.More Button

Was asked: the details of the plans to extend the dementia unit at St Joseph's Hospital, Stranorlar, County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.More Button

Was asked: the status of plans for the proposed redevelopment of Lifford Community Hospital; his plans for the retention and development of existing health services based in the community; and if he will make...More Button

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.More Button

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

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.More Button

Hospital Equipment

Was asked: when the second MRI scanner at the Midlands Regional Hospital, Mullingar, will be operational; and when necessary works to accommodate the scanner will be completed (details supplied).More Button

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.More Button

Mental Health Services Provision

Was asked: the measures being taken to improve mental health services for adults and children with intellectual disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Hospital Services

Was asked: his plans to implement 24-7 cardiac care services for those living in the south east; his views on whether there is an equal provision of cardiac services in the region in comparison to the rest of...More Button

In 2016, the Herity Report concluded that the needs of the effective catchment population of University Hospital Waterford (UHW) could be accommodated from a single cath lab and recommended that th...More Button

A mobile cath lab has been deployed at UHW since October 2017 to conduct diagnostic cardiac procedures pending the recruitment of the additional staff required to extend the opening hours of the ...More Button

I remain committed to the provision of a second cath lab in University Hospital Waterford. The project has been included in the HSE’s Capital Programme 2019, the Design Team was appointed in Jun...More Button

The Herity Report also recommended that the current 9 to 5 provision of emergency pPCI services should cease to allow the hospital focus on the much larger volume of planned work. I asked my Depa...More Button

The aim of this Review is to achieve optimal patient outcomes at population level with particular emphasis on the safety, quality and sustainability of the services that patients receive by estab...More Button

Work is ongoing on finalisation of the Review and drafting of its recommendations has commenced.More Button

Was asked: his plans for Letterkenny University Hospital in the winter strategy and the need to provide additional bed capacity at the hospital; his views on the number of vacant posts within the CHO 1 area a...More Button

The number of patients attending emergency departments across the hospital system continues to increase annually, with the result that the system is currently operating at close to full capacity. I...More Button

  Question No. 124 answered with Question No. 106.More Button

Community Care Provision

Was asked: if the service being offered by a community nursing unit (details supplied) in County Tipperary will be reviewed in order to ensure that persons in the area will have long-term stay care in their o...More Button

Dental Services Waiting Lists

Was asked: the number of children waiting for a dental appointment at 31 October 2019 or the latest date available in north County Dublin in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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

Cannabis for Medicinal Use

Was asked: the status of, and definitive start date for, the medicinal cannabis access programme in view of his most recent response with regard to two cannabis based products having been approved for the pro...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, legislation was signed in June which will allow for the operation of the Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP) on a pilot basis for five years.

  Comm...More Button

Hospital Consultant Data

Was asked: the number of consultant posts at South Tipperary General Hospital not on the Medical Council specialist register in each of the years 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the specialities involved; a...More Button

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to you directly as soon as possibleMore Button

Physiotherapy Provision

Was asked: his plans to improve waiting times for physiotherapy assessments; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.More Button

Ambulance Service Response Times

Was asked: the steps he is taking to improve ambulance response times in rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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

Health Services Provision

Was asked: the measures being taken to address the podiatry waiting times in counties Sligo and Leitrim; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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

Was asked: if he will provide the necessary resources for the provision of psychology and occupational therapy to a person (details supplied) as recommended by the HSE assessment of needs conducted in April 2...More Button

As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.More Button

Was asked: his plans to establish dedicated, free, drop in sexual and mental health clinics in Cork city; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Administration

Was asked: the initiatives being taken to improve CAMHS in CHO 8 and also to ensure there is no service gap when a transition to adult services occurs at 18 years of age.More Button

Cancer Services Provision

Was asked: the status of the promised new state-of-the-art oncology centre in view of the recognition by all stakeholders that the oncology day ward at Galway University Hospital has not been fit for purpose ...More Button

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.More Button

Mental Health Services Funding

Was asked: the reason the full allocation for mental health services was not released to the HSE in January 2019 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Hospital Overcrowding

Was asked: his plans to relieve the overcrowding in University Hospital Limerick for winter 2020.More Button

I acknowledge the difficulties facing the emergency departments in our hospitals.

  According to HSE TrolleyGAR data, there was a 16% increase in patients counted waiting on tro...More Button

Respite Care Services Provision

Was asked: his plans to provide respite services on a seven day a week basis in the north west; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Medical Card Administration

Was asked: the action being taken to expedite the provision of medical cards for cancer patients.More Button

The HSE's Expert Group on Medical Need and Medical Card Eligibility examined the issue of awarding medical cards on the basis of illness and concluded that it was not feasible, desirable, nor ethic...More Button

However, every effort is made by the HSE, within the framework of the legislation, to support applicants in applying for a medical card and, in particular, to take full account of the difficult c...More Button

With regard to persons suffering from cancer and other serious medical conditions the HSE also has a system in place for the provision of medical cards in response to emergency situations i.e. in...More Button

Was asked: if laser eye surgery is covered by the medical card; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Health Act 1970 (as amended) provides for two categories of eligibility for persons ordinarily resident in the country, i.e. full eligibility (medical cardholders) and limited eligibility (all ...More Button

The HSE provides, or has provided on its behalf, a range of services including all in-patient public hospital services, including consultants services, all out-patient public hospital services in...More Button

As the provision of the particular procedure mentioned is a service matter for the HSE I have referred the matter to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.More Button

HSE Investigations

Was asked: the investigation that has taken place of the injuries sustained by a patient subsequent to an incident while in the care of Galway University Hospital on 19 and 20 September 2019; when it commence...More Button

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to you directly, as soon as possible.More Button

National Children's Hospital Expenditure

Was asked: the categories of cost escalations in regard to further potential cost escalations for the building and commissioning of the national children’s hospital; the provisional amounts being allocated fo...More Button

I advised Government in December 2018 that the final cost of the design, build and equipment programme for which the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board is responsible was estimated to b...More Button

An independent review into the cost escalation associated with the new children’s hospital construction project was commissioned by the HSE and carried out by PwC. The PwC report makes clear that...More Button

The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board manages the project, actively monitoring the performance of the contract. It also has a focus on identifying and managing risks, preventing furt...More Button

As the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) has statutory responsibility for planning, designing, building and equipping the new children's hospital, I have referred the further...More Button

  Question No. 116 answered with Question No. 98.More Button

Was asked: if he has received an update on the cost of the national children’s hospital; the estimated amount it will cost in 2020, 2021 and 2022; the way in which it will be paid for from the Exchequer; and ...More Button

I advised Government in December 2018 that the final cost of the design, build and equipment programme for which the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board is responsible was estimated to b...More Button

Hospital Car Parks

Was asked: the status of the pay parking review that was being carried out in hospitals nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Hospitals which charge parking fees are cognisant of the financial implications parking costs can have on patients and their families, particularly those with long-term illnesses. Some hospitals ha...More Button

I have made it clear I want to see progress made in this area and I am working with my Department and the HSE in this regard. As such, I requested the HSE to conduct a review of hospital car park...More Button

Mental Health Commission Reports

Was asked: the action being taken to ensure that the findings of the Inspector of Mental Health Services report on Waterford department of psychiatry published in October 2019 are acted upon.More Button

HSE Properties

Was asked: the person or body responsible for the maintenance of ten sheltered housing units (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the future plans of the HSE for a location (details supplied).More Button

Medicinal Products Licensing

Was asked: if there are regulatory impediments to the growing of hemp here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Under current legislation the Minister for Health can issue a licence for the growing of hemp from seed varieties specified by the Commission of the European Communities, as being eligible for the ...More Button

The HPRA (Health Products Regulatory Authority) administers the hemp licencing process on behalf of the Dept of Health. Further information regarding the hemp licencing process for the above purp...More Button

Was asked: the reason persons with multiple sclerosis have access to new medicines within weeks or months in many European countries but patients here can wait over four years for new medicines to be made ava...More Button

The HSE has statutory responsibility for medicine pricing and reimbursement decisions, under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. The Act specifies criteria for decisions on t...More Button

HSE decisions on which medicines are reimbursed by the taxpayer are made on objective, scientific and economic grounds, on the advice of the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE). The NCPE...More Button

As a country, we invest heavily in medicines, to the tune of almost €2 billion annually. As of October 2019, there have been 29 new medicines and 5 new indications for existing medicines approved...More Button

Notwithstanding the significant progress on drug costs achieved from price reductions under the pricing framework agreed with industry and commercial negotiations conducted by the HSE, the Health...More Button

The Government wants new and innovative medicines to be available to our citizens as quickly as possible, but this can only be achieved if medicines are priced by the pharmaceutical industry in a...More Button

The current process for assessing applications works very well where the new medicines have strong evidence of clinical effectiveness and are priced in a cost-effective manner. Delays in reimburs...More Button

The HSE strives to reach a decision in as timely a manner as possible. However, because these commitments are often multi-million euro investments on an on-going basis, it must ensure that the be...More Button

My Department and the HSE are working on making greater efficiencies in medicines usage through a range of initiatives both domestically and internationally to ensure the greatest possible access...More Button

The HSE’s Medicines Management Programme (MMP), incorporating the Preferred Drugs initiative, is overseeing the implementation of a number of actions to bring about greater value for the taxpayer...More Button

I and officials have also been engaging over the past number of years with a number of voluntary EU forums.  In June 2018, I signed the Beneluxa Initiative on Pharmaceutical Policy. This Agreement ...More Button

Health Services

Was asked: the treatment and community support services available to lymphedema patients in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.More Button

Was asked: the reason for the long waiting list for children who wear orthotics; if there is a problem with funding for same in mid-western areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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

Was asked: if he will address a matter regarding the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.More Button

Hospital Appointments Status

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) in County Donegal will be considered for an earlier appointment in Letterkenny University Hospital outpatient clinic; 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

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed t...More Button

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.More Button

Was asked: the status of a hospital appointment 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

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed t...More Button

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.More Button

Departmental Reports

Was asked: if the NTPF report on private healthcare in public hospitals will be made available.More Button

Earlier this year, I published the Report of the Independent Review Group, which examined private activity in public hospitals. More Button

The present mixed system in our public acute hospitals has evolved over decades, with an undue focus on responding to the needs of certain groups - consultants, private patients, generation of ad...More Button

As part of its consideration on the recommendations contained within the report, my officials consulted with the a number of bodies including the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) on the im...More Button

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland

Was asked: the status of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland Statement of Strategy 2017 to 2019, in particular the key milestones at pages 14 and 15; the status of each milestone noted for 2017 to 2019...More Button

As this question relates to an operational matter, I have referred it to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland for attention and direct reply.More Button

National Dementia Strategy Implementation

Was asked: the steps he is taking to ensure that each person diagnosed with dementia has access to a dementia adviser; the counties which do not have a dementia adviser to date; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

The Dementia Adviser Service was established by the Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI) in mid-2014 and has been co-funded by the HSE since 2016. Dementia advisers provide information, advice and su...More Button

In recognition of this, the Government has decided to fund an additional ten dementia advisers as part of an expansion of health care delivery in the community in Budget 2020 to deliver on the vi...More Button

In relation to the Deputy's specific question about the counties which do not have a dementia adviser, as this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to...More Button

Disability Services Funding

Was asked: the position regarding funding for a State supported accessible holiday resort (details supplied) in County Roscommon; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Health Insurance Regulation

Was asked: the status of the Health Insurance Act 2018; when it will be updated for risk and price equalisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I brought forward the Health Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2019 on 19 November. The Bill will provide for new rates of risk equalisation credits and stamp duty levies on health insurance contracts to ...More Button

Hospital Staff Data

Was asked: the expenditure by public hospitals on locum pharmacists; the rate of pay paid to locum pharmacists in publicly funded hospitals; if locum agencies are used and the daily and weekly rates paid to t...More Button

I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.More Button

Treatment Abroad Scheme

Was asked: if a general practitioner can retrospectively sign a referral letter for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal wishing to avail of reimbursement for a procedure provided via the cross borde...More Button

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly. More Button

Was asked: if there is a delay by the HSE in reimbursing claimants availing of surgery under the cross-border directive; his plans to ensure that a person (details supplied) is paid as soon as possible; and i...More Button

The HSE is responsible for the operation of the Cross-Border Directive and has a dedicated CBD office for this purpose. Since being introduced in 2014, awareness of the provisions of the Directive ...More Button

The significant growth in use of the scheme, and volume of applications submitted, has placed additional demands on the CBD office and given rise to a build-up of applications. over recent months...More Button

Regarding the specific application referred to, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly.More Button

  Questions Nos. 324 and 325 answered with Question No. 320.More Button

Air Ambulance Service

Was asked: the action he will take to ensure that the air ambulance service does not close for a period of 16 days or for a period of time in view of the crucial role it plays in saving lives; and if he will ...More Button

The Emergency Aeromedical Support (EAS) provides rapid access to appropriate treatment for very high acuity patients, specifically where land ambulance transit times would not be clinically appropr...More Button

EAS services are provided primarily by the Air Corps with reserve capacity provided by the Irish Coast Guard.  The service operates seven days a week in daylight hours and is specifically targete...More Button

The Air Corps is not in a position to accept EAS taskings from the National Ambulance Service for four days per month for a period of four months, from November 2019 to February 2020. During the ...More Button

This does not affect the current Munster Hems service in the South of Ireland.More Button

Medical Card Reviews

Was asked: if review of discretionary medical cards will be ceased; if terminally ill patients will be permitted to have automatic entitlement to a medical card; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Under the provisions of the Health Act 1970 (as amended), eligibility for health services in Ireland is based primarily on residency and means. However, every effort is made by the HSE, within the ...More Button

The HSE may exercise discretion and grant a medical card, even though an applicant exceeds the income threshold where they face difficult financial circumstances, such as extra costs arising from...More Button

However regarding emergency medical cards, I announced as part of Budget 2020, that the HSE would undertake a review and extend arrangements regarding the provision of emergency medical cards in ...More Button

Health Services Staff

Was asked: his plans to increase the number of specialist Parkinson's disease nurses nationally in order to have a specialist nurse in each county (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the ma...More Button

The HSE Model of Care for Neurology, was developed by the HSE’s National Clinical Programme for Neurology in collaboration with consultants, nurses, health and social care professionals and patient...More Button

The roles performed by Parkinson’s Disease Nurse Specialists include identifying the patient’s needs and coordinating their care; monitoring symptoms; helping with drug management; and providing ...More Button

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly as soon as possible.More Button

Pharmacy Services

Was asked: when he plans to unwind FEMPI for pharmacists in view of the fact that this process has been initiated for other healthcare professionals; the proposed cuts in pharmacy fees from January 2020; if h...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that rural and smaller independent pharmacies will be most affected by the proposed new pharmacy fee scheme; his plans to address same; and if he will ma...More Button

Was asked: the reason for the current proposed changes to the pharmacy fee scheme; his views on whether this is fair and equitable in view of the understanding that most small independent pharmacies look set ...More Button

Was asked: the status of the unwinding of FEMPI (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 284, 334, 335 and 339 togetherMore Button

I recognise the significant role community pharmacists play in the delivery of patient care and the potential for this role to be developed further in the context of health service reform and mod...More Button

The regulations governing the current pharmacy fee structure were made under section 9 of the FEMPI Act 2009 and are set to expire at the end of 2019. Under the Public Service Pay and Pensions Ac...More Button

In keeping with my obligations under Section 43 of the 2017 Act, my officials have been undertaking a process of consultation with the IPU, as the representative body, prior to the introduction o...More Button

That submission is currently being considered by my Department in the context of the statutory fee-setting process.More Button

In May of this year I addressed the Irish Pharmaceutical Union at the National Pharmacy Conference and gave a commitment to move beyond the arrangements underpinned by the Financial Emergency Mea...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether pharmacies are best placed to help reduce the burden on general practitioners and accident and emergency departments nationwide (details supplied); his further views on whether...More Button

I value the role pharmacists play in the Irish health service. As you are aware, the Programme for a Partnership Government and the Sláintecare implementation strategy contain commitments to expand...More Button

Work has been done in recent years on wider healthcare roles for pharmacies, including the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland’s Future Pharmacy report, on the expansion of professional pharmacy pr...More Button

To be funded by the taxpayer, new public health services in community pharmacy, as elsewhere, should improve health outcomes and provide value for money and benefits for patients. Any new or tran...More Button

I have discussed these and other issues with the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU). My officials expect to engage in discussions with the IPU on future contractual and service arrangements early in the ...More Button

Disability Support Services Provision

Was asked: the status of the care service being provided to a person (details supplied).More Button

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Was asked: if equipment will be provided for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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

Was asked: if he will reconsider approving the funding for a specialised bed for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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

Patient Transfers

Was asked: when a patient (details supplied) in University Hospital Limerick will be transferred to Beaumont Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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

Nursing Staff Remuneration

Was asked: the estimated net cost for 2019 of implementing the nurses’ pay deal agreed in February 2019 based on the savings and productivity measures to be put in place; if the independent verification proce...More Button

Implementation of the agreement reached in relation to nurses and midwives has commenced.  Rather than a ‘pay deal’, the agreement is made up of a number of elements intended to improve the recruit...More Button

It provides for the introduction of the Enhanced Practice nurse/midwife roles, as well as a range of other measures.  It commits to the continued roll-out of the Framework on Safe Staffing and Sk...More Button

The agreement also includes the recommendations of the Public Service Pay Commission in relation to allowances and accelerated progression for certain nursing and midwifery grades.  The HSE has i...More Button

The HSE has a detailed implementation plan in place and is monitoring the actions set out in this plan.  More Button

Labour Court recommendation LCR21900 provides for ‘independent verification mechanism’ to ensure that savings are delivered from this agreement.  Consideration is still being given to how such a ...More Button

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Was asked: the substantial recommendations in a study by a company (details supplied) of the medicines reimbursement system; if the recommendations will be published; and if he will make a statement on the ma...More Button

Work on the review of the HSE reimbursement and pricing decision-making process is ongoing. The review, conducted by Mazars, is progressing and on completion my officials will consider its findin...More Button

The review will make recommendations, as considered appropriate, in respect of any required improvements to the HSE’s systems, structures, processes, governance arrangements or use of specialist...More Button

Long-Term Illness Scheme Eligibility

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) is eligible for a long-term illness card.More Button

The LTI Scheme was established under Section 59(3) of the Health Act 1970 (as amended). The conditions covered by the LTI are: acute leukaemia; mental handicap; cerebral palsy; mental illness (in a...More Button

Regulations were made in 1971, 1973 and 1975 specifying the conditions covered by the LTI Scheme, including mental illness in a person under 16 years of age. More Button

There are no plans to extend the list of conditions covered by the Scheme or the age limit in relation to mental illness at this time. However, I wish to inform the Deputy that it is proposed tha...More Button

Respite Care Services

Was asked: the terms and conditions for a person who is entitled to respite care.More Button

National Treatment Purchase Fund Data

Was asked: the number of NTPF appointments provided to ENT patients to date in 2019; the effect this has had on individual hospital waiting lists; his plans to address such waiting lists in 2020; and if he wi...More Button

Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital operations and procedures is a key priority for Government. In this regard, the Government is committed to improving waiting times for hospital appoi...More Button

The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) supply additionality to HSE core activity in order to reduce waiting times experienced by patients for a hospital appointment, operation or procedure. ...More Button

The latest National Treatment Purchase Fund figures show that there are 65,696 patients on the ENT Outpatient waiting list. Of these, 53% (34,507) are waiting 12 months or less. Overall, the ENT ...More Button

The figures for October also show that there are 4,401 patients on the ENT IPDC waiting list. Of these, 63% (2,759) are waiting 6 months or less, 75% (3,286) are waiting 9 months or less and 82% ...More Button

More broadly, Budget 2020 announced that the Government has further increased investment in tackling waiting lists, with funding to the NTPF increasing from €75 million in 2019 to €100 million in...More Button

My Department is working with the HSE and National Treatment Purchase Fund to develop the Scheduled Care Access Plan 2020. The National Service Plan 2020 will set out HSE planned activity level f...More Button

In this regard, I would encourage all hospital groups and individual hospitals to engage with the NTPF to identify waiting list proposals for the remainder of this year and for 2020.More Button

Home Care Packages

Was asked: if there is a person here in receipt of a direct payment from his Department or the HSE for the purchase of home care under the intensive home care package.More Button

Occupational Therapy Staff

Was asked: when the moratorium on the recruitment of occupational therapists in County Kerry will be lifted; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.More Button

Psychological Services

Was asked: the status of the future of the HSE assistant psychologist scheme aimed at children and adolescents in primary care psychology; his plans to further extend the scheme past March 2020; his views on ...More Button

As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.More Button

Was asked: if he will review the case of a person (details supplied); his views on whether it is acceptable that child psychology services would be stretched as a result of adult appointments; and if he will ...More Button

Mental Health Services Staff

Was asked: the number of mental health whole-time equivalents to be recruited as of November 2019 for the full implementation of A Vision for Change taking account of demographic changes in each CHO; the team...More Button

Hospital Discharges

Was asked: the number of delayed discharges to date in 2019 by month and hospital; and the reason for delayed discharge in tabular form.More Button

Delayed transfers of care (previously referred to as delayed discharges) occur when patients have been deemed clinically fit for discharge from an acute bed but their discharge is delayed because t...More Button

When possible, the HSE will use transitional care to accommodate the patient during the period between discharge and the finalisation of new care arrangements, but there can often be a delay, esp...More Button

This year, services are being stretched more than ever, with demand consistently outstripping supply, and we have seen an increase the number of delayed transfers of care. While the HSE maximises...More Button

In addition, the HSE Winter Plan was launched on Thursday 14 November. The aim of the Winter Plan is to ensure that service providers are prepared for the additional external pressures associated...More Button

Nine Winter Action Teams, each aligned to a Community Healthcare Organisation and associated acute hospitals and Hospital Groups, have prepared Integrated Winter Plans. These plans focus on deman...More Button

 The HSE Winter Plan is supported by an additional €26m in winter funding nationally. This winter funding will support access to the Fair Deal scheme, and will provide additional home support and...More Button

With regard to the Deputy's specific question, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly with the requested information.More Button

Primary Care Centres

Was asked: his plans to provide parking for disabled persons using the primary care centre in Balbriggan, County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the HSE has responsibility for the provision, along with the maintenance and operation of Primary Care Centres and other Primary Care facilities, the Executive has been asked to reply directly t...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he expects the provision of primary care centres nationwide to alleviate the congestion at general hospitals; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the HSE has responsibility for the provision, along with the maintenance and operation of Primary Care Centres and other Primary Care facilities, the Executive has been asked to reply directly t...More Button

Cancer Awareness

Was asked: the number of women issued letters by the HSE regarding their risk of breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma.More Button

Was asked: if supports have been put in place for women that were issued with letters by the HSE regarding their risk of breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma.More Button

Was asked: when the attention of the HSE was drawn to the risk to women of breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma.More Button

Was asked: his views on whether issuing letters instead of face-to-face dialogue with a clinician was the best way to deliver news to women that they are at risk of breast implant associated anaplastic large ...More Button

Was asked: the seriousness of the risk of breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma for women who are affected by implants (details supplied).More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 320 to 322, inclusive, 324 and 325 together.More Button

Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA ALCL) is a new and emerging issue and while more specific to highly textured breast implants and tissue expanders, the risk exists fo...More Button

BIA-ALCL is not breast cancer, but a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – a cancer of the immune system. More Button

BIA- ALCL is a relatively new form of cancer and was given provisional recognition as a type of ALCL by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2016. As research has developed, there has been more...More Button

Most cases of BIA-ALCL have been diagnosed in patients who have implants, or have had tissues expanders manufactured by Allergan, with a specific textured surface called "BIOCELL." These implants...More Button

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) has been updating my Department on this matter as further research is published and as evidence continues to emerge at both a European and internat...More Button

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has decided to communicate publicly on this matter in order to increase general awareness of BIA ALCL, ensure that women in Ireland are fully informed on this i...More Button

The 8 national cancer centres are writing directly to their patients who have had breast implants or tissue expanders, including those who received Allergan ‘BIOCELL’ and patients without Allerga...More Button

The letters and the information on the HSE’s website, advise all individuals to be breast aware; describing the signs and symptoms to be aware of and monitor for and what to do if a patient finds...More Button

Dedicated telephone lines have been set up in the 8 cancer centres to provide assurance, encourage women to be breast aware and when necessary allocate clinical review. The phone numbers are incl...More Button

In December 2018, a French medical device notified body (which evaluates the conformity of products) decided not to renew the CE Certificates for certain breast implants and tissue expanders pro...More Button

This current HSE patient advisory programme was initiated in August last based on the evolving understanding of the disease internationally. Since then, my Department has been engaging with a ra...More Button

Departmental Funding

Was asked: the position regarding an application for funding for a feasibility study (details supplied) for second level school on-call therapeutic counselling; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Staff

Was asked: the steps that have been taken to recruit staff for CAMHS in south County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Vaccine Damage Compensation Scheme

Was asked: the efforts being taken to ensure that the other 100 young persons affected by the swine influenza vaccine will not have to go through lengthy legal action to be compensated by the State in view of...More Button

I am pleased that the mediation process was successful in the recent case relating to the administration of the Pandemrix vaccine during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and that the parties have b...More Button

In October 2013, the Government approved (S180/46/01/0005B) the delegation to the State Claims Agency (SCA) of the management of claims in relation to individuals alleging the development of narc...More Button

However, the Programme for a Partnership Government includes a commitment to “…put in place a scheme, on a no-fault basis, that will respond to the needs of people with disability arising from va...More Button

In addition, the Health Research Board recently completed a review of the evidence on vaccine injury redress programmes in other jurisdictions and this report will also be considered in conjuncti...More Button

Since 2012, the Department of Health, the HSE, and the Department of Education and Skills, and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection have worked together to provide a wide ra...More Button

The ex-gratia health supports include: More Button

- clinical care pathways to ensure access to diagnosis and treatment;More Button

- multi-disciplinary assessments led by clinical experts;More Button

- counselling services for both the individuals and their families;More Button

- discretionary medical cards for those who have been diagnosed;More Button

- physiotherapy and occupational therapy assessments. More Button

Treatment and individual medical needs are reassessed over time to take account of changes in their condition or circumstances.  More Button

In conjunction with the above, a centre of excellence for narcolepsy (based in St. James’s Hospital) for treating all forms of narcolepsy in adults as well as children transitioning from paediatr...More Button

Disability Support Services

Was asked: his plans to give parents and legal guardians of adults with a disability a legal right to be included in the preparation of a care plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Home Care Packages Expenditure

Was asked: the breakdown of the extra funding provided for home care supports in budget 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Medical Card Eligibility

Was asked: if a child with chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis is entitled to a medical card regardless of the income of the parents in view of the fact it is a rare disorder; and if he will make a sta...More Button

The HSE's Expert Group on Medical Need and Medical Card Eligibility examined the issue of awarding medical cards on the basis of illness and concluded that it was not feasible, desirable, nor ethic...More Button

Nevertheless, every effort is made by the HSE, within the framework of the legislation, to support applicants in applying for a medical card and, in particular, to take full account of the diffic...More Button

Social and medical issues are considered when determining whether undue hardship exists for an individual accessing general practitioner or other medical services. The HSE affords applicants the ...More Button

Disease Incidence

Was asked: the number of measles cases in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly.More Button

Legislative Programme

Was asked: his plans to introduce similar legislation relating to the promotion of unhealthy, sugary and junk foods to children in view of the new advertising laws which came into effect recently regarding th...More Button

Misuse of Drugs

Was asked: the funding that will be allocated to the HSE to commence a targeted national campaign to raise awareness of the risks associated with drug use; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Medicinal Products Availability

Was asked: the extent to which patients here have ready access to modern drugs in line with their availability throughout the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The HSE has statutory responsibility for medicine pricing and reimbursement decisions, in accordance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013.  The Act specifies the criteria ...More Button

In line with the 2013 Act and the national framework agreed with industry, if a company would like a medicine to be reimbursed by the HSE, the company must submit an application to the HSE to hav...More Button

HSE decisions on which medicines are reimbursed by the taxpayer are made on objective, scientific and economic grounds, on the advice of the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE).More Button

As a country, we invest heavily in medicines, to the tune of almost €2 billion annually. In 2019 to date, the HSE has approved 36 new drugs and newly licensed indications for existing drugs for r...More Button

Notwithstanding the significant progress on drug costs achieved from price reductions under the IPHA Agreement and commercial negotiations conducted by the HSE, the Health Service is still facing...More Button

My Department and the HSE are working on making greater efficiencies in medicines usage through a range of initiatives both domestically and internationally to ensure the greatest possible access...More Button

The HSE’s Medicines Management Programme (MMP), incorporating the Preferred Drugs initiative, is overseeing the implementation of a number of actions to bring about greater value for the taxpayer...More Button

Department officials and I have also been engaging over the past number of years, with a number of voluntary EU forums.  In June 2018, I signed the Beneluxa Initiative on Pharmaceutical Policy. T...More Button

HSE Planning

Was asked: the extent to which he expects the proposed winter action plan to deal with likely eventualities arising in the public hospital sector over the winter months; and if he will make a statement on the...More Button

The HSE Winter Plan was launched on Thursday 14 November. The aim of the Winter Plan is to ensure that service providers are prepared for the additional external pressures associated with the winte...More Button

Medical Card Data

Was asked: the number of full medical card holders nationwide; the extent to which this number has fluctuated in the past three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly.More Button

Hospital Procedures

Was asked: the number of children or other patients who have undergone scoliosis procedures on a monthly basis in the past two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Reducing waiting times for patients to access scoliosis services is a key priority of Government. Increased investment in paediatric orthopaedics and scoliosis services has improved access to surge...More Button

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.More Button

Hospital Beds Data

Was asked: the extent to which the need for extra beds is being addressed at hospitals nationwide; if progress is being achieved; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Health Service Capacity Review published last year indicated that there was a need for a major investment in additional capacity in both hospital and community beds, combined with reform of the...More Button

Hospital Waiting Lists Data

Was asked: the number of patients awaiting cardiovascular procedures; the length of time they have been on waiting lists for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital operations and procedures is a key priority for Government. In this regard, the Government is committed to improving waiting times for hospital appoi...More Button

Was asked: the average length of time patients can expect to wait for orthopaedic procedures; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital operations and procedures is a key priority for Government. In this regard, the Government is committed to improving waiting times for hospital appoi...More Button

Departmental Budgets

Was asked: the extent to which he remains satisfied regarding the adequacy of the 2020 health budget notwithstanding the experience in previous years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Budget 2020 sets out a budget of over €18.3 billion for health and social care services, the highest budget ever allocated. The Health budget increased by €1.2 billion on 2019, a substantial additi...More Button

The issue of health funding is a major policy challenge for both the Irish and international Governments.  Despite welcome increases annually, the need for effective financial management remains ...More Button

Under legislation the Health Service Executive is required to set out in the National Service Plan, the type and volume of health and social care services to be provided having regard to the fund...More Button