Health Services Staff Recruitment

Question No. 692 answered with Question No. 676

Questions (691)

Robert Dowds

Question:

691. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Health when there will be further recruitment of paramedics by the Health Service Executive. [8279/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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 paramedics is a matter for the HSE in the first instance, the Deputy's enquiry has been referred to the Executive for direct reply.

Question No. 692 answered with Question No. 676.

Medical Card Appeals

Questions (693)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

693. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Health the position regarding an appeal for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8294/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Hospital Staff

Questions (694)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

694. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Clare who applied for a transfer, will be transferred from Galway Regional Hospital to Ennis General Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8304/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The transfer of staff is a matter for the HSE and, accordingly, the Deputy's enquiry has been referred to the Executive for direct reply.

General Practitioner Services

Question No. 697 answered with Question No. 649

Questions (695, 696)

Michael McCarthy

Question:

695. Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Health the average response times to emergency calls to the South Doc service in the Kinsale area of County Cork; if his attention has been drawn to concerns surrounding the response times of the service in the area at present; the reasons behind the delay in the service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8306/13]

View answer

Michael McCarthy

Question:

696. Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Health the average response times to emergency calls to the South Doc service in the Bandon area of County Cork; if his attention has been drawn to concerns surrounding the response times of the service in the area at present; the reasons behind the delay in the service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8307/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 695 and 696 together.

90% of the population have access to GP out-of-hours services in 14 centres nationally, in all HSE regions, in at least part of every county. Over 2,000 GPs provide services in the co-ops.

In relation to the specific issues raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly on the matter.

Question No. 697 answered with Question No. 649.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Questions (698)

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

698. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Health if he will provide, in tabular form, the number of recorded cases of the eleven sexually transmitted infections that are currently legally notifiable here; ano-genital warts, chancroid, chlamydia trachomatis, genital herpes simplex, gonorrhoea, granuloma inguinale, infectious hepatitis B, lymphogranuloma venereum, non-specific urethritis, syphilis and trichomoniasis from 2002 to date in 2013; and if he will provide a breakdown based on age, gender and location. [8331/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Eleven sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are currently legally notifiable in Ireland: ano-genital warts, chancroid, chlamydia trachomatis, genital herpes simplex, gonorrhoea, granuloma inguinale, infectious hepatitis B, lymphogranuloma venereum, non-specific urethritis, syphilis and trichomoniasis. Aggregate data on the number of notified STIs from Departments of Public Health in each HSE region is collated quarterly. The Departments of Public Health are notified of STIs mainly from STI clinics and some GPs.

There were 13,259 notifications of STIs in 2011, an increase of 12.2% when compared with 2010 and continuing an upward trend since 1995. Information on activity levels in STI clinics is not readily available. However I have asked the Health Service Executive to supply this information to me and I will forward it to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Questions (699)

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

699. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Health if he will provide a full list, in tabular form, of all locations nationwide which provide screenings for sexually transmitted infections; and if he will list the criteria for screening in each location based on gender and sexual orientation, that is, the number of screening centres for men, women and gay men and so on. [8332/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Sexual health prevention and treatment services include a broad range of health care at different levels, both public and private, throughout the health care system. The main elements include prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and clinical care for those with STIs, contraception, screening for diseases such as genital chlamydia, psychosexual counselling and support, and specialised services for high-risk groups and diseases.

HSE public STI screening services are almost exclusively based in hospitals and special community clinic settings around Ireland and are free. Some GP practices and family planning services also provide STI testing services for a fee.

STI screening is provided free of charge in the following sites:

County

Address

Target Population

Dublin

GUIDE Clinic, St. James’s Hospital, Dublin 8

(Young Persons Only clinic on Thursdays)

Mater Hospital, Dublin 7

Women's Health Project

Gay Men's Health Service(GMHS)

General

(Young People)

General

Women in prostitution

MSM/Transgender

Louth

Outpatients Department, Louth County Hospital, Dundalk

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda

General

General

Monaghan

Outpatients Dept, Monaghan Hospital

General

Westmeath

Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

General

Laois

St Fintan’s Hospital, Portlaoise, Co. Laois

General

Cork

South Infirmary, Victoria Hospital, Cork City

Youth Health Service, Cork City

General

General

Kerry

General Hospital, Tralee, Co. Kerry

General

Waterford

Regional Hospital, Waterford City

General

Carlow

District Hospital, Carlow

General

Tipperary

South Tipperary Hospital, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary

General Hospital, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary

General

General

Limerick

Regional Hospital, Limerick City

General

Clare

General Hospital, Ennis, Co. Clare

General

Galway

University Hospital, Galway City

Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway

General

General

Mayo

General Hospital, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

General

Sligo

Regional Hospital, Sligo Town

General

Donegal

General Hospital, Letterkenny, Co Donegal

General

The criteria for screening is as follows:

Female Screening Criteria

Symptomatic

Asymptomatic

Or Clinical signs of infection

Or contact of STI

- Vaginal

- Gram stain

- Wet Vaginal Prep – TV

- High Vaginal swab

- GC Culture

- Cervical

- Gram stain

- Cervical CTNG

Consider Pharyngeal and rectal CTNG in conjunction with Sexual History

No clinical signs of infection

- Cervical CTNG

Wait for results

No Need to wait for results

Bloods: All patients HIV Ab, Syphilis Serology, Hep BsAg,

In addition for IVDU: Hep A IgG, HepBcAb, Hep C Ab.

Male Screening Criteria

Symptomatic

Asymptomatic

Or Clinical signs of infection

Or contact of STI

- Urethral Smear

- Gram stain

- GC Culture

- FVU

No clinical signs of infection

- FVU

Wait for results

No Need to wait for results

Bloods: for all patients HIV Ab, Syphilis Serology, Hep BsAg,

In addition for IVDU and MSM Hep A IgG, HepBcAb, Hep C Ab

Male Screening Criteria – MSM’s Only

Symptomatic

Asymptomatic

Or Clinical signs of infection

Or contact of STI

- Urethral Smear

- Gram stain

- GC Culture

- FVU

- Pharyngeal CTNG

- CG Culture

- Rectal

- Gram stain

- GC Culture

- CTNG

No clinical signs of infection

- FVU

- Pharyngeal CTNG

- Rectal CTNG

Wait for results

No Need to wait for results

Bloods: HIV Ab, Syphilis Serology, Hep BsAg, HepBcAb,

Hep A IgG, Hep C Ab

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Questions (700)

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

700. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Health if we are in compliance with all EU Directives on sexual health in terms of provision of publicly funded treatment and testing centres for sexually transmitted infections. [8333/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I am not aware of any EU directives that apply to the provision of treatment or testing for sexually transmitted infections.

Irish Blood Transfusion Service

Question No. 702 answered with Question No. 649

Questions (701)

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

701. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Health if his Department has issued an instruction to the Irish Blood Transfusion service to conduct a review of its MSM Blood Ban, which bars sexually active gay men from donating blood; and, if not, if he has any intention to review this practice in view of ongoing blood stock depletion. [8334/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) remit is to provide a safe, reliable, robust blood service to the Irish health system. Blood, and the products derived from it, are an integral facet of health care delivery. A major objective of the organisation is to ensure that it always has the necessary programmes and procedures in place to protect both the donors of blood and recipients of blood and blood products.

The EU Directive on quality and safety of blood requires that "all necessary measures have been taken to safeguard the health of individuals who are recipients of blood and blood components". The permanent deferral of men who have sex with men [MSM] of whom a significant majority consider themselves to be gay by the IBTS, is an important safety measure for blood transfusion. The decision is not based on sexuality or orientation, but because it is known that there is an increased level of HIV infection rates in MSM in Ireland.

Testing for HIV remains very sensitive and effective but there remains a period between infection and detection that could permit the transmission to a recipient. The medical literature contains well documented examples in the immediate past. Although no transfusion transmitted infection anywhere is ever acceptable, in Ireland this is considered to be especially so given past experience. The IBTS works closely with other blood services in Europe and America where this permanent deferral is retained. Indeed, almost no developed country has no deferral period, and will all exclude sexually active gay men from donation.

The UK modified their exclusion criteria to introduce a finite 12 month deferral for MSM behaviour in 2011. Since then the IBTS has reviewed formally its position and this has been ratified by its Medical Advisory Committee and Board. With regard to supply, there is a clear distinction to be made between transfusion safety and blood supply. Safety cannot be compromised by supply concerns. In addition, the number of donations likely to be obtained from MSM is unlikely to resolve any supply issues.

Question No. 702 answered with Question No. 649.

Health Services Provision

Questions (703)

Tom Fleming

Question:

703. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health if he will provide a detailed progress report on the proposed closure of a hostel (details supplied) in County Kerry and the setting up of a forum as agreed at the meeting with him on 7 November 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8336/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Mental Health Services Provision

Questions (704)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

704. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health his views on alcohol addiction (details supplied). [8345/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

With the approval of a Registered Medical Practitioner, a person may choose, on a voluntary basis, to be admitted to and treated in an approved Mental Health centre for a range of Mental Health issues including depression and self harm. A person may also access required supports in the community and it is recognised that a modern mental health service is best delivered in a community setting. In 2012 a special allocation of €35m was provided to primarily strengthen Community Mental Health Teams in both adult and children's mental health services and Budget 2013 provided a further €35m for the continued development of mental health services across a range of headings including the further ongoing development of community services.

Reach Out, Our National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention highlights the fact that alcohol and substance misuse are strongly related to deliberate self harm and suicidal behaviour. In order to counteract the harm caused by the use and misuse of alcohol, real and tangible proposals are currently being finalised on foot of the recommendations in the National Substance Misuse Strategy report, which was published last year. Following consideration by the Cabinet Committee on Social Policy and liaison with other Departments, my colleague, Minister of State Alex White T.D., intends to introduce specific proposals for consideration by the Government as soon as possible.

The Mental Health Act 2001 sets out the criteria for involuntary admission to approved centres. Subject to certain safeguards, a person may be involuntarily admitted to an approved centre and detained there on the grounds that he or she is suffering from a mental disorder. Section 8(2) of the Act is clear, however, that an involuntary admission cannot be authorised by reason only of the fact that the person is 'socially deviant' or 'addicted to drugs or intoxicants'. That does not mean that a person in either of these categories cannot be involuntarily admitted to or detained in an approved centre but for this to happen, the person must be deemed to be suffering from a mental disorder as defined in the Act.

The Deputy will be aware that a Steering Group set up to conduct an initial Review of the Mental Health Act 2001, published its Interim Report in June 2012. A copy of the Report is available on my Department's website at 'http://www.dohc.ie/publications/int_report_sg_reviewMHA.html'. During their consultation process, the Group received many representations regarding the detention process set out in the Act. The Group have recommended, inter alia, that a person should be detained for treatment as a last resort and that the Act should be underpinned by the least restrictive principle, stressing that the patient should not be detained longer than is absolutely necessary. It is also recommended that the revised Act should incorporate human rights focused guiding principles, with the autonomy principle being central to the detention provisions in the Act.

An Expert Group is now in place to conduct the second and substantial phase of the review of the Act and the Group's report is expected in quarter two 2013.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (705)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

705. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the progress made to date in respect of a medical card application in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; when the medical card will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8348/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Ambulance Service Provision

Questions (706)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

706. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding the ambulance service in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8356/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Infectious Diseases Incidence

Questions (707)

Regina Doherty

Question:

707. Deputy Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Health if he will identify the hospitals and or healthcare centres at which Legionnaires disease occurred in the past two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8366/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

A group within the HSE is updating guidance on the prevention and control of Legionellosis in Ireland. The HSE has again been requested to supply the details of health care facilities affected by Legionellosis in the last two years to the Deputy as a matter of urgency.

HSE Data

Questions (708)

David Stanton

Question:

708. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health if he will provide figures for the number of children who have an ASD diagnosis; or if exact figures are not available if he has estimates of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8402/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (709)

David Stanton

Question:

709. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health if he recognises autism as a specific condition which requires specific supports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8404/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Autism is a disability that affects the normal development of the brain in areas of social interaction and communication. It is described as a spectrum disorder that can have a varied presentation of characteristics ranging from mild to severe. The first signs of autism may appear as developmental delay before the age of 3. Many individuals with autism due to the complexity of their presentation may have a primary diagnosis of intellectual disability or mental health co-morbidity.

As the Deputy will be aware, current Government policy advocates a mainstreaming approach to the provision of services and supports for people with disabilities including those with autism, whereby people with disabilities have access to the same services as the general population, and in addition receive the appropriate supports and interventions to address individual needs.

The HSE completed a review of the autism services provided by the health sector for both children and adults with autism in 2012. Its National Review of Autism Services: Past, Present and Way Forward Report, reviews and identifies appropriate pathways of care for individuals with autism, given the existing diverse system of delivering services and varied approaches across the health sector. It recommends a move to a more consistent model of service delivery in line with the Government’s mainstreaming policy of equal access for people with a disability to the appropriate service for their individual needs. It also recommends a reconfiguration of existing service provision, with access at the appropriate level, depending on need, through the primary care system, school age teams, and specialist intervention services as appropriate. It endorses the reorganisation of services for children and young people under the Progressing Disabilities Services for Children and Young People (0-18s) Programme.

This Programme, established since 2010, aims to achieve a national unified approach to delivering disability health services, so that there is a clear pathway for all children to the services they need regardless of where they live, what school they go to or the nature of their disability or developmental delay. The Programme is rolling out at national, regional and local level and involves representatives from the health and education sectors, statutory and non-statutory service providers and parents working together to see how current services can best be re-organised. Implementation of the Programme will have a positive impact on the provision of clinical services for all children, including those with autism, who require access to health related supports.

The National Review of Autism Services Report will be implemented, within existing resources and taking account of the need for greater efficiency and effectiveness in the current climate, and within the context of parallel initiatives including the Value for Money and Policy Review of Disability Services published in July 2012 and the Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People (0-18) Programme.

Hospital Services

Questions (710)

Michael Colreavy

Question:

710. Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Health the changes that will be made to Sligo Regional Hospital Service Plan for 2013 as a result of the recently announced hospital allocations by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8413/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to the particular query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.

Respite Care Services

Questions (711)

Michael Colreavy

Question:

711. Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Health if the Health Service Executive West will provide an updated report on plans for respite care services in counties Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8414/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Food

Questions (712)

Alan Farrell

Question:

712. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Health if he has guidelines in relation to the nutritional value of meals served to overnight hospital patients; his view of the nutritional standard of meals served to persons during their stay in hospital and the importance of providing nutritional meals to recovering persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8427/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Healthy Catering Guidelines for Staff and Visitors in Health-care Facilities was published by the Department in 2002. Guidelines for Preventing Under-Nutrition in Acute Hospitals were published by the Department of Health in August 2008. These guidelines are helping to achieve the recommendations outlined in the Council of Europe report, Food and Nutritional Care in Hospitals: How to Prevent Under-Nutrition. Making healthy and nourishing food choices easily accessible to patients in acute hospitals can help reduce the incidence of under-nutrition in Irish hospitals and greatly benefit patients.

Caterers play an important role in helping patients to make healthy and nourishing food choices. Together with hospital dietitians, they can create a supportive environment for healthy nutrition. All food staff, by ensuring that patients eat well, help to improve both their physical and mental health, and thus speed up their recovery from illness.

Prompt Payments

Questions (713)

Alan Farrell

Question:

713. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Health his proposals to ensure that Health Service Executive achieves 100% compliance to pay outstanding bills and invoices within 15 days in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8429/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I can assure the Deputy that the Executive is committed to standard payment terms of 30 days. However, given the multitude of processing centres across the HSE, and indeed within its individual units, in order to meet a 15 day period, it would require the introduction of a single financial and procurement system. Whilst there are plans in this regard, it will be some time before this is in place. Taking into account that over 7,000 invoices are received daily by the Executive across a multiplicity of service delivery units, it has consistently been my Department's view that it is not logistically possible to apply the 15 day payment rule to the HSE at this time.

There are significant cost implications in achieving the 15 day target and it has been estimated that it would have an €80m impact on the HSE's cash flow. Given the current severe pressure on the HSE's finances achieving 100% compliance would have a serious impact on services.