Preschool Services

Questions (294)

Pat Breen

Question:

294. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if a person (details supplied) will be facilitated in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49054/12]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme was introduced in January 2010 and provides for one free preschool year for all eligible children in the year before commencing primary school.

The programme includes a number of additional provisions to take account of children with special needs. These include an exemption from the upper age limit for qualification under the programme where a child is developmentally delayed and would benefit from starting primary school at a later age. In addition, children with special needs can apply to have the preschool year split over two years on a pro-rata basis, for example availing of the programme for 2 days a week in the first year and for 3 days a week in the second year. Application for these exemptions must be made prior to the child commencing the programme. However, there is no provision under the programme for a second preschool year for any child. As the child in question has availed of the full free preschool complement in the academic year 2011/2012, there is no further entitlement under the ECCE programme.

Future developments relating to early years care and education will, of course, be considered during preparation of the new National Early Years Strategy 2012.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (295)

Seán Fleming

Question:

295. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the gross and net additional expenditure savings that her Department is seeking to achieve in 2013; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49237/12]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The multiannual allocations for each Government Department, including the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, were set out in the Report of the 2011 Comprehensive Review of Expenditure. That Report contained the gross expenditure ceilings within which expenditure was to be managed over the medium term along with savings targets for 2013 and 2014.

The expenditure review identified savings measures of some €16 million in respect of my Department for 2013 which will be considered in the context of the estimates process and budgetary deliberations by Government.

Departmental Bodies

Questions (296)

Niall Collins

Question:

296. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will provide in a tabular form the total list of quasi-governmental organisations and agencies under her remit; if she will provide a list of quasi-governmental organisations and agencies under her remit that have been abolished since March 2011 or are scheduled to be abolished and the date on which they are due to be abolished; the date on which the body was created; the name of the body; the 2012 budget for the body; the number of employees of the body in 2012; the names of any outside consultants hired by the organisation since March 2011 and what future plans she has for the body. [49307/12]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

I would like to inform the Deputy there are four agencies which are funded by the Exchequer through my Department's Vote. I have set out in tabular format below a list of these Agencies. I can confirm that no quasi-Governmental organisations come under the remit of my Department.

Agencies under the remit of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs

National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB)

Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI)

Family Support Agency (FSA)

Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO)

No Agencies that come under my remit have been abolished since March 2011. However the FSA is to be merged with the new Child and Family Support Agency (CFSA) which is due to be established next year. The NEWB is also due to come under the remit of the CFSA.

Legislation for the establishment of the CFSA is being prepared by my Department as a priority. It is anticipated that the Bill will be published and enacted in the course of this session. It is my intention that the CFSA will assume statutory responsibility for services for children and families in January 2013.

I have set out below in tabular format, details of the Agencies under my remit that are due to be merged with the new CFSA once the legislation has been enacted.

Name of Agency

Date Established

Status with regards to CFSA

2012 Budget

No

of Employees

Consultants hired since March 2011

Family Support Agency

6th May, 2003

CFSA will assume statutory responsibility for services for children and families in January 2013

€26.465million

13

Brian Harvey- Research Review

Bluewave Technology - Software Application Development

Dr. Mary Mulcahy - Research Review

Dawn O’Connor – Research Study

Ruth Gallagher – Research Study

National Educational Welfare Board

5th July, 2000 (Board assumed statutory responsibility for provisions of the Act on July 5th 2002)

CFSA will assume statutory responsibility for services for children and families in January 2013

€9.622

million

91

John Richards & Associates-Integration Implementation

SMCI Associates -Integration Consultation

SQW Ltd. literature -review of international best practice in participation, attendance

RSM McClure Watters - Development of School Attendance Strategies

Colgan & Associates - Consultancy, school attendance strategies etc.

Anne McMurray Development Ltd Consultancy-Mapping practice

Price Waterhouse Coopers - Data Protection Review

Abbott Consulting - IT Services

Maplelink Computer Services Ltd - IT Services

Novosco Ltd - IT Projects & Citrix services and configuration

It should be noted that following enactment of the Child Care Amendment Act 2011 the Children's Act Advisory Board was subsequently dissolved by means of the commencement by the Minister of Health of Part 6 of the Child Amendment Act 2011.

Youth Services

Questions (297)

Dan Neville

Question:

297. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if he will consider an application for funding under the dormant accounts fund 2010 for establishment of new youth cafe facilities for Limerick Youth Service (details supplied). [49342/12]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

As the Deputy may be aware, I announced last week that €2.25 million in capital funding would be made available for youth cafés, youth projects and play and recreation initiatives between now and the end of 2013.

In 2012, €500,000 will be provided for the development of a number of youth cafés which had applied for previous youth café funding schemes. €1.75 million will be provided in a new capital funding programme for 2013. This will include €1.5 million for youth cafés and youth projects and €250,000 for play and recreation initiatives in 2013. My Department will be announcing further details regarding the application process for the 2013 funding programme in the coming weeks.

Funding of some €1.7 million has been provided to date for the development of youth cafés and it is estimated that between 75-100 youth café facilities now operate across the State. These facilities are proving hugely beneficial to local communities in terms of broader engagement with young people. In addition, my Department supports a range of youth services and volunteer-led youth groups which offer similar resources and spaces for young people locally.

I understand that Limerick Youth Service applied for funding under the previous Youth Café scheme but was unsuccessful at that time. I have been advised that Pobal, who manage the day to day operation of the Youth Café scheme on my Department's behalf, will be in contact with Limerick Youth Service in relation to its application in the context of the funding available in 2012.

Public Sector Pensions Expenditure

Questions (298)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

298. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will provide in tabular form the number of public servants in receipt of annual gross public sector pensions of between 0 to 10,000 euro, 10,001 to 20,000 euro, 20,001 to 30,000 euro, 30,001 to 40,000 euro, 40,001 to 50,000 euro, 50,001 to 60,000 euro, 60,001 to 70,000 euro, 70,001 to 80,000 euro, 80,000 to 90,000, 90,000 to 100,000 euro, 100,001 to 110,000 euro, 110,001 to 120,000 euro, 120,001 to 130,000 euro, 130,001 to 140,000 euro, 140,001 to 150,000 euro, 150,001 to 160,000 euro, 160,001 and above; and if these figures include local authorities, vocational educational committees, commercial semi State companies, non-commercial State agencies/bodies public sector retirees. [49821/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The information requested by the Deputy in respect of agencies under the aegis of my Department is set out below:

Range

Number of Pensioners

€0-€10,000

92

€10,001 - €20,000

22

€20,001 - €30,000

16

€30,001 - €40,000

2

€40,001 - €50,000

2

€50,001 - €60,000

-

€60,001 - €70,000

-

€70,001 - €80,000

-

€80,001 - €90,000

-

€90,001 - €100,000

-

€100,001 - €110,000

-

€110,001 - €120,000

-

€120,001 - €130,000

-

€130,001 - €140,000

-

€140,001 - €150,000

-

€150,001 - €160,000

-

€160,001 and above

-

Health Action Plan

Questions (299)

Martin Heydon

Question:

299. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Health the progress made to date in implementing and ratifying the national environmental health action plan relating to environmental health here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49337/12]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The purpose of a National Environment and Health Action Plan (NEHAP) is to address environmental impacts on population health. NEHAP is an evolving framework which adopts a comprehensive, holistic and intersectoral approach to the formulation and implementation of environmental health policy at national level on an on going basis.

Many of the environmental factors affecting human health are being addressed by a variety of sectoral initiatives, plans and programmes. Examples of organisations involved in these programmes include the Food Safety Authority of Ireland in relation food safety and local authorities, the Environmental Protection Agency & the Health Service Executive in relation to drinking water quality.

Many of the elements relevant to any NEHAP including those factors impacting on population health and the environment will inform the forthcoming Health and Wellbeing Framework. Partnership and effective co-operation and collaboration between the health sector and other areas of public and private society, including environment, food safety, housing and industry will be integral to the implementation of this Framework.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Question No. 301 answered with Question No. 72

Questions (300)

Seamus Healy

Question:

300. Deputy Seamus Healy asked the Minister for Health the extent of the waiting list, numbers and waiting times for in-patient and outpatient ear nose and throat services at Waterford Regional Hospital; and if he will specify the measures he intends to take to address this situation [49093/12]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

With regard to the Inpatient Waiting List at Waterford Regional Hospital for ear nose and throat services, the 9 month target set by SDU for adult patients and the 20 week target set by SDU for children are being met. On the Outpatient Waiting List as of 19th October there are currently 1742 patients waiting less than a year, 1252 patients listed as waiting between one and two years, 744 listed as waiting between two and three years and 389 listed as waiting between three and four years, a total of 4,127 patients. In line with SDU Policy, the Outpatient Waiting List is continuously being validated. Once patients are seen at an Outpatient Clinic, they are placed on the Inpatient Waiting List for the relevant surgery, if surgical intervention is required.

57 Clinics are held each 4 week period between Waterford Regional Hospital and a range of locations across the South East counties. All clinics are Consultant delivered: Waterford Regional Hospital consultants travel to the outreach clinics. Approximately 300 new referrals are received each month at the Central Referrals Office. Referrals are clinically prioritised as Urgent or Routine and scheduled for the OPD Clinic at WRH or at an outreach Clinic by the Consultants.

Question No. 301 answered with Question No. 72.

Health Services Staff Issues

Questions (302, 322)

Joe Carey

Question:

302. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Health the plans in place in relation for recruiting addition paramedics and advanced paramedics in the health service in view of their important role within pre-hospital emergency care; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49058/12]

View answer

Joe Carey

Question:

322. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Health the plans in place in relation to recruiting addition paramedics and advanced paramedics in the Health Service in view of their important role within pre-hospital emergency care; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49179/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 302 and 322 together.

The Government has decided that the numbers employed across the public service must be reduced in order to meet its fiscal and budgetary targets. The health sector must make its contribution to that reduction. However, the HSE can make staff appointments once it remains within its overall employment ceiling and has the financial resources to do so. As the recruitment of pre-hospital care staff is a matter for the HSE in the first instance, the Deputy's enquiry has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Health Services Reform

Questions (303)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

303. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health the date on which legislation will be introduced to change the Health Service Executive governance and organisation structure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49096/12]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive (Governance) Bill 2012 provides for the abolition of the Board structure of the HSE and for a Directorate to be the new governing body for the HSE in place of the Board, headed by a Director General. The Bill also provides for greater accountability of the HSE to the Minister for Health. The Bill is currently before the Oireachtas. It was passed by Seanad Éireann on 24 October 2012 and the next step is for the Bill to be considered by Dáil Éireann.

In tandem with the proposed new governance structure under the Bill, new administrative structures will be put in place within the HSE to reflect the need for a greater operational management focus on the delivery of key services and greater transparency about funding, service delivery and accountability. These new governance and administrative arrangements represent important first steps in the process of delivering the reform agenda contained in the Programme for Government. The next steps, which will include measures to facilitate clearer and better integrated delivery and funding arrangements, are under consideration at present.

Home Care Packages

Questions (304)

Michael McGrath

Question:

304. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health if he will review the provision of home care assistance to persons (details supplied) in County Cork to ensure it is adequate for their needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49102/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Misuse of Drugs

Questions (305)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

305. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health the way he intends to tackle the problem of the overuse of sedatives and tranquillisers amongst the public; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49108/12]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The problem of the misuse of prescription drugs has been recognised at national, European and international levels. Through the framework of the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016, the Department of Health is working in collaboration with the relevant statutory agencies to monitor the availability of controlled drugs, including prescription medicines, through illicit channels.

The enforcement of the law relating to the sale of drugs, including prescription drugs, continues to be a priority in the Government’s commitment to tackling the issue of drug misuse in this jurisdiction.

Under the Medicinal Products (Prescription and Control of Supply) Regulations, it is prohibited for a person to supply a prescription medicine except in accordance with a prescription, and the supply must be made from a registered pharmacy by or under the personal supervision of a registered pharmacist. A person who contravenes these Regulations is guilty of an offence. The Regulations also make it illegal for prescription medicines to be supplied by mail order. The definition of mail order includes reference to electronic custom solicitation and order for supply. This includes ordering prescription medicines through internet sites. Furthermore, a person who has in his possession a prescription medicine containing a substance controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation for the purpose of selling or otherwise supplying it, is guilty of an offence under that legislation.

My Department is reviewing the Misuse of Drugs Regulations with a view to introducing additional controls on certain prescription drugs being traded illicitly, for example benzodiazepine medicines. These additional controls include introducing import and export controls as well as an offence of possession, thereby assisting the law enforcement roles of Customs and of the Garda Síochána.

My Department is consulting with key stakeholders in relation to the proposed amendments and it is anticipated that new legislation will be introduced by early 2013.

Mental Health Services Funding

Questions (306)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

306. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if he will provide a breakdown of the way the €35 million ringfenced annually for mental health has been spent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49110/12]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Funding from the €35 million special allocation for mental health will be used primarily to further strengthen Community Mental Health Teams in both Adult and Children’s mental health services in respect of which €25 million has been estimated. Up to €3 million of the fund will be used to advance activities in the area of suicide prevention and a cost of €5 million has been estimated to initiate the provision of psychological and counselling services in primary care, specifically for people with mental health problems. The remaining €2 million will be made available to facilitate the re-location of mental health service users from institutional care to more independent living arrangements in their communities, in line with A Vision for Change.

414 posts were approved to implement the €35 million package of special measures for mental health. 378 of the posts are with the National Recruitment Service of the HSE at various stages in the recruitment process and over 200 offers of employment have already been accepted and the appointments are proceeding. Most start dates are expected to be in December 2012 to allow for the process of checking references etc. and costs will start to be incurred from that point. The Government remains committed to engaging these professionals as soon as is feasible and the work of completing the process remains a priority.

The provisional outturn for mental health services to mid-year was, like many other areas, running ahead of budget and the end of year excess in this area will be met from the unexpended portion of the €35 million. The full year costs of all of the above measures will be incurred from 2013 onwards.

Hospital Consultants Remuneration

Questions (307)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

307. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health the net saving to the Exchequer if hospital consultant pay was capped at €150,000. [49125/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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