Question No. 322 answered with Question No. 302.

Questions Nos. 323 and 324 answered with Question No. 308.

Hospital Services

Questions (325)

John McGuinness

Question:

325. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health the reason no contact has been made to date with a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny as committed to in correspondence by either Waterford Regional Hospital or Cappagh Hospital; the action that will now be taken to expedite this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49192/12]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (326)

John McGuinness

Question:

326. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health if an early appointment will be arranged in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; the reason the list is not being progressed; and the action that will be taken; if he will confirm the number on this list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49193/12]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Respite Care Services

Questions (327)

John McGuinness

Question:

327. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health if a plan for regular periods of respite will be put in place in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will expedite a response. [49195/12]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Treatment Abroad Scheme

Questions (328)

Gerald Nash

Question:

328. Deputy Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Health if he will outline the programmes and resources available to his Department and the Health Service Executive to allow children with rare illnesses to access treatment in other jurisdictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49202/12]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I established a National Steering Group, in April 2011, to develop a patient centred, policy framework for the prevention, detection and treatment of rare diseases based on the principles of high quality care and equity. The policy, which will operate over a 5 year period, will take account of the EU Council Recommendation on Rare Diseases (2009) and define priority actions subject to resource availability. We are now well advanced in developing this work. Similar plans are being drafted by individual countries across the EU, including in the UK.

The HSE operates the Treatment Abroad Scheme (TAS), for persons entitled to treatment in another EU/EEA member state or Switzerland under EU Regulation 1408/71, as per the procedures set out in EU Regulation 574/72, and in accordance with Department of Health Guidelines. Within these governing EU Regulations and the Department of Health and Children's Guidelines, the TAS provides for the cost of approved treatments in another EU/EEA member state or Switzerland through the issue of form E112 (IE).

The TAS allows for an Irish based consultant to refer a patient that is normally resident in Ireland for treatment in another EU member state or Switzerland, where the treatment in question meets the following criteria:

(a) The application to refer a patient abroad has been assessed and a determination given before that patient goes abroad.

(b) Following clinical assessment, the referring consultant certifies the following:

- They recommend the patient be treated in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland;

- The treatment is medically necessary and will meet the patient's needs;

- The treatment is a proven form of medical treatment and is not experimental or test treatment;

- The treatment is in a recognised hospital or other institution and is under the control of a registered medical practitioner;

- The hospital outside the state will accept EU/EEA form E112 (IE).

All applications to the TAS are independently assessed by the HSE Health Intelligence Unit.

Social Workers Register

Questions (329, 343)

Seán Fleming

Question:

329. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health if he will take steps to ensure that the new registration fee for social care professionals which will be €295 is reduced and brought into line with the fees required for similarly paid qualified professionals like nurses €88 and teachers €65 and ensure that the Health and Social Care Professional Council, CORU, links its fees to those already prevailing in the health and education services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49210/12]

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Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

343. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health if he will detail all costs associated with the full introduction of the health and social care professions legislation which are to be levied on individual workers; if he will provide a breakdown of same by profession; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that €295 per annum will be levied on individual social workers; his views on whether this is excessive in view of current financial constraints on workers and their families and in view of comparable fees for other professions, the steps he will take to address this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49293/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 329 and 343 together.

The Health and Social Care Professionals Council (HSCPC) and the 12 registration boards to be established under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 are responsible for protecting the public by regulating health and social care professionals. The Council (also known as CORU) was established in March 2007 and is working to put in place the necessary structures for registration, education and fitness to practise for the 12 health and social care professions designated under the Act.

The first registration board to be established, the Social Workers Registration Board, was established in August 2010, and the associated Social Workers Register opened for receipt and processing of applications on 31 May, 2011. A second registration board, the Radiographers Registration Board, was established on 16 December, 2011 and its register is expected to be established in the near future. Three further registration boards, the Dietitians Registration Board, the Occupational Therapists Registration Board, and the Speech and Language Therapists Registration Board are currently in the process of establishment and it is also proposed to establish the Physiotherapists Registration Board either before the end of this year, or in early 2013.

All of the registration boards for the remaining designated professions should be established and their registers fully operational by 2015 or 2016 at the latest.

Under the provisions of the 2005 Act, there is a two-year transitional period from the date on which the register of the members of that profession is established, during which existing practitioners may apply for registration. The name of every registrant will be published in the register, which will be accessible on-line. Only those registrants who have satisfied the registration board for their designated profession that they hold an approved qualification and are "fit and proper" to engage in the practice of the profession will be entered on the register.

The State is currently funding the HSCPC in its establishment phase (€1.937 million in 2012) and will continue to do so on a reducing basis to end 2015.

The Council which is an independent statutory body is responsible for setting the level of fees and in doing this it is mindful of the requirement for it to become self funding by end 2015.

The current fee structure is as follows:

- A registration fee of €100 for new graduates, who have obtained recognised professional qualifications within two years of applying for registration;

- An annual retention fee of €295 for registrants, including those who paid the lower rate on graduation, is payable on the annual renewal date.

Since the annual renewal fee of €295 is subject to full tax relief it reduces to €174 at the higher level of tax which compares favourably with fees levied by Union and professional bodies where no tax relief is applicable.

All health regulators are self funding by way of annual fee income. The greater the registrant base the lower the annual fee charged. Given the enormous registrant base in teaching and nursing, for example, the annual fee charged amounts to less than €100 per annum. Health regulators are single profession regulators whereas the HSCPC is charged with regulating twelve disparate professions, which can add significantly to operating costs. The twelve designated professions to be registered by the Council range in number from under 50 in the case of Clinical Biochemists to a high of 3,000 approximately for Medical Scientists and 5,550 for Social Care Workers, only amount to about 20,000 registrants in total across all professions. This is an extremely low registrant base when compared to a registrant base of well in excess of 60,000 for nurses.

The HSCPC is charged with extensive statutory functions under the 2005 Act, registration being only one, and the annual fee of €295 being charged by the HSCPC is considered the bare minimum required to enable the Council to operate. The fee is on a par with that charged by other health regulators and less than some in certain cases.

In response to concerns about the level of fee, the HSCPC has reviewed the regulatory structure to establish what scope exists for further reductions in registration fees and operational costs and has adopted the following measures:

- Where an existing practitioner with the necessary experience and recognised professional qualifications, or equivalent, pays the registration fee of €295 and is granted registration during the transitional period, also known as grand-parenting, the application fee will cover them for the remainder of the grand-parenting period and one full year of retention of registration after expiration of grand-parenting. This concession will only apply to existing practitioners availing of the transitional provisions set out in the Act;

- The Council has requested the HSE to put in place arrangements for the deduction of the registration fee from monthly salary thereby spreading the cost throughout the year;

- Finally, the Council has proposed significant restructuring of the way in which the designated professions will be registered and regulated to provide a more cost effective operating system. This will require the enactment of primary legislation in due course.

Hospital Staff

Questions (330, 331)

Brendan Ryan

Question:

330. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Health the reason no replacement for a specialist surgeon in a hospital (details supplied) has been hired in over 18 months; the impact this has had on waiting list for specialist surgeries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49216/12]

View answer

Brendan Ryan

Question:

331. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Health if he will prioritise the hiring of a new specialist surgeon (details supplied) in order to tackle waiting lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49217/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 330 and 331 together.

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

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (332)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

332. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kerry has to wait in excess of nine months for surgery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49218/12]

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.

Health Insurance Cover

Question No. 334 answered with Question No. 310.

Questions (333)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

333. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if EU health insurance cover will adequately cater for surgery costs in Poland during the holiday period having regard to documentation in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare who is employed in this jurisdiction for the past six years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49221/12]

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 to the Deputy.

Question No. 334 answered with Question No. 310.

Nursing Home Services

Questions (335)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

335. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if he has been apprised of developments at Crooksling Nursing Home County Dublin resulting in a reduction in patient numbers despite the availability of adequate staffing levels; the restrictions of patient intake and other measures of a slow but inexorable nature which eventually will damage the efficiency and efficacy of the hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49223/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

St. Brigid’s Nursing Home, Crooksling was registered as a designated centre for older people by the Health Information and Quality Authority on 25 June 2012.

Prior to registration, significant remedial works were carried out at St. Brigid’s to meet fire safety requirements. The HSE has confirmed that 66 beds will remain at present in the newly upgraded lower units and it will be possible to use these units in the short term while complying with the current HIQA standards. St. Brigid’s will continue to admit long term care patients as vacancies arise, to maintain this current bed complement. The Deputy will be aware that the upper units were closed as HSE considered them not to be in a good infrastructural condition. In addition, in-patient respite care and day care services are continuing to be provided at St. Brigid’s.

Finally I would like to assure the Deputy should there be a concern for the future of any public nursing home, the HSE will engage fully in a local consultation process with all stakeholders before any decision is taken.