Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Questions (737)

Michael McGrath

Question:

737. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health if he will provide details of the services available in the public health system for persons who have lost a limb in an accident including details of the possibility of a prosthetic limb being provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8795/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Current prosthetic, orthotic and limb absence rehabilitation services available include acute hospital services; the National Rehabilitation Hospital and multi-disciplinary community services. These services are provided directly by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and several non-statutory organisations.

I have asked the HSE to reply directly to the Deputy in response to his specific question concerning health and prosthetic services for persons who have lost a limb in an accident.

Dental Services Provision

Questions (738)

John McGuinness

Question:

738. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health his plans for funding the dental clinics located at Castlecomer and Graiguenamanagh, County Kilkenny, and Bagenalstown, County Carlow; the number of referrals from local schools dealt with by each of these clinics; the catchment area dealt with by each clinic; the costs per year of the running of each clinic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8805/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Dental services to children up to 16 years are provided by the Public Dental Service of the HSE. The service is targeted at children at key stages in their development. Children are given dental examinations and any follow-up treatment required at these stages. When required, emergency dental treatment is available to all children up to 16 years. The HSE has been asked to examine the specific query raised by the Deputy and to reply to him as soon as possible.

Home Help Service Provision

Questions (739)

John McGuinness

Question:

739. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health if a home help will be restored in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will expedite a response. [8807/13]

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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.

Hospital Services

Questions (740)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

740. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health where the dedicated 13 bed in-patient ward for cystic fibrosis patients in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, is on the list for the capital rolling programme; or if funding would be available for the ward in the Health Service Executive clinical care programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8817/13]

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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.

Medical Card Drugs

Question No. 742 answered with Question No. 649.

Questions (741)

David Stanton

Question:

741. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health if he has concerns regarding medical card fraud particularly in relation to prescription drugs; the estimated cost to the State of such fraud annually; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8821/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The information requested is currently being collated by the HSE and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Question No. 742 answered with Question No. 649.

Ambulance Service Provision

Questions (743)

Tom Fleming

Question:

743. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health if ambulances from a private company (details supplied) in Kildare will now be used in assisted admissions in respect of mental health patients in County Kerry; the implications in the event of an emergency if the ambulance is located in Kildare; the cost implications of out sourcing this service; if he will provide a detailed breakdown of all costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8829/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Departmental Agencies Staff Remuneration

Questions (744)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

744. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health if he will provide in tabular form the total amount paid out in salaries to VHI staff in 2011 and separately in 2012; the total amount paid out in bonuses to VHI staff in 2011 and separately in 2012; the total number of employees who received more than €80,000 from the VHI in 2011, including bonus payments; the total number of employees who received more than €100,000 from the VHI in 2011, including bonus payments; the total number of employees who received more than €150,000 from the VHI in 2011, including bonus payments; the total number of employees who received more than €175,000 from the VHI in 2011, including bonus payments; the total number of employees who received more than €200,000 from the VHI in 2011, including bonus payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8865/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The VHI has informed me that the figures requested by the Deputy in respect of 2012 are not available as VHI accounts for that year have not yet been finalised. They expect to do so by the end of March. In respect of 2011, the total salaries paid to VHI Healthcare staff was €47 million. While the salary of the CEO is published as part of the Annual Report & Accounts, salaries of other executives are not published.

As the VHI is a commercial body operating in a competitive market, it does not publish information of a commercially sensitive nature.

Medical Card Appeals

Questions (745)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

745. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health the reason a medical card was revoked in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12. [8908/13]

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.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (746)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

746. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health the limits for savings and the formula used to assess it against the qualifying criteria for an over 70s medical card. [8909/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I have asked the Health Service Executive for a report on the issue raised by the Deputy. I will revert to the Deputy on the matter as soon as possible.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (747, 748)

Seán Kyne

Question:

747. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Health if, in view of the recent incidence of tubercolosis, the policy of administering the BCG vaccine to newborns, which is currently the practice in all regions of the State except of the west of Ireland, will be extended nationwide. [8981/13]

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Seán Kyne

Question:

748. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Health if he will provide an assurance that in the event that cost is a prohibiting factor in the extension of the administration of the BCG vaccine to newborns in the west of Ireland that additional funding will be provided from his Department and the Health Service Executive. [8982/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 747 and 748 together.

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) recommends a universal neonatal BCG vaccination policy. Historically, BCG vaccination is given in HSE West to children in 5th/6th class in primary schools and also to infants in the 'at risk' categories. These childhood immunisations are already funded from within existing HSE resources.

Rates of TB are declining nationally. The latest validated figures for epidemiology of TB in Ireland relates to 2009. In 2009, the national rate of TB was 11.3 per 100,000 of the population ranging from 5.1 in HSE West to 15.7 in HSE East. In 2012, the provisional national rate of TB incidence was 8.3 per 100,000 of the population, ranging from 5.0 in HSE South East to 11.0 in HSE South.

Proposed Legislation

Questions (749)

Seán Kyne

Question:

749. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Health his plans to introduce regulations to govern private home care-givers in view of the benefit this would have for practitioners and the public alike; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8984/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Programme for Government (Government for National Recovery, 2011-2016) commits to developing and implementing national standards for home support services, which will be subject to inspection by the Health and Information Quality Authority (HIQA).

Primary legislation will be required to introduce a statutory regulation system for home care services. Some complex legal issue arises in this area. The changes needed are being introduced in the context of the licensing of Health Care providers generally and of other legislative priorities in the Social Care area. Issues of resources also need to be factored in.

In the meantime a number of measures have been or are being taken to improve the safety and quality of home support services for older people delivered by, or on behalf of, the HSE. A Procurement Framework for Home Care Services (with quality and screening requirements) came into effect in mid-2012 and, in parallel, the HSE introduced National Guidelines for the Standardised Implementation of the Home Care Package Scheme.

New National Quality Guidelines for Home Care Support Services and new National Home Help Guidelines have been prepared and are currently the subject of negotiations between the HSE and SIPTU under the auspices of the Labour Court.

Smarter Transport

Questions (750)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

750. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will confirm the way in which the design manual for streets objective referred to in the Smarter Travel policy document has progressed since his taking office; if the National Transport Authority has identified city and town-specific models to achieve an optimal sustainable travel pattern in urban centres around the State; if he will provide this information; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8733/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The importance of street design in supporting and encouraging sustainable travel patterns in urban areas is recognised in the Smarter Travel policy under the theme of aligning spatial planning and transport. There is a growing appreciation that streets should not just be transport corridors, but rather should be places in which people want to live and spend time. To that end, my Department, together with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, is sponsoring the preparation of a Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets. The Manual will outline practical design measures to support and encourage more sustainable travel patterns in urban areas. It is currently being finalised and it is intended to launch the Manual on the 25th of March.

 The Deputy might wish to note that under my Department’s Smarter Travel Areas initiative, Limerick City, Dungarvan and Westport have officially become Ireland’s Smarter Travel Demonstration Areas 2012-2016 representing a city area, medium-sized town and small town. The three areas will see a combined investment of €23 million to encourage a behavioural switch to more sustainable forms of transport. In addition, under the Active Travel Towns funding programme initiated by my Department in 2012, small grants have been made available to 30 towns to develop walking and cycling strategies and over €5.2m has been allocated to local authorities to deliver Active Travel strategies in 12 towns.

 Monitoring and research undertaken by the National Transport Authority in support of sustainable transport objectives are matters that fall within the remit of the NTA. I have, therefore, referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply with regard to the second section of the question. Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.

Taxi Regulations

Questions (751)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

751. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the serious problems taxi drivers are having with registration on the new taxi portal site and the worrying failure of the phone helpline or email service to properly explain the process exacerbated by many phone calls going unanswered and emails bouncing back not received. [8965/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

From the end of January 2013, in accordance with Regulations made by the National Transport Authority (NTA) it is a requirement that all small public service vehicle (SPSV) operators notify the NTA about the vehicles they are operating at any given time. For SPSV drivers who own and exclusively operate their own vehicle this is a once-off notification until the vehicle is changed. Where a SPSV is the subject of rental or other sharing  arrangement all changes in the driver operating the vehicle - however frequent - must be notified to the NTA.

I understand that free IT tools are availble to facilitate this notification process, The "Taxi Industry Portal" smartphone application can be downloaded onto both Apple and Android smartphones. In addition, SPSV operators can use any PC or laptop to access the Taxi Portal over the Internet.

 A call centre is currently operating all-day every-day to take telephone notifications.  A call to the centre is charged as a national number from landlines and mobile phones and is included in bundles of free calls from the various companies / operators.  The call centre is operated by the NTA and I have therefore asked the Authority to respond directly to the Deputy with regard to the issues he has raised relating to access to the call-centre.

Alcohol Advertising

Questions (752)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

752. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on sports sponsorship by alcohol companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8969/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

I refer the Deputy to my detailed response to Questions Nos. 113,129,156,176 and 792 today on this matter.

Road Projects Contracts

Questions (753)

Robert Troy

Question:

753. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding the upgrade of the N4 between Mullingar, County Westmeath and Rooskey, County Roscommon. [8053/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

 Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy’s question to the NRA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you don’t receive a reply within 10 working days.

Ministerial Appointments

Questions (754, 755, 756)

Shane Ross

Question:

754. Deputy Shane Ross asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the details of all appointments made by him to all State agencies, commercial bodies and all other appointments made by him since taking office, including the State owned banks and the judiciary. [8127/13]

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Shane Ross

Question:

755. Deputy Shane Ross asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the details of the qualifications of all the appointees made by him to all State agencies, commercial bodies and all other appointments made by him since taking office including the State owned banks and judiciary for the appointments they have accepted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8145/13]

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Shane Ross

Question:

756. Deputy Shane Ross asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of appointees and the percentage of appointments made by him to all State agencies, commercial bodies and all other appointments made by him since taking office including the State owned banks and the Judiciary that were subject to a public applications process. [8163/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 754 to 756, inclusive, together.

Full details of the appointments that I have made to State Boards are available on my Department's website.

 The new procedures advertised by my Department on Friday 8th April 2011 involved an open invitation to members of the public to submit expressions of interest in serving on the board of any of the Agencies operating under my aegis. I re-iterated this call in recent weeks. In doing so I have sought able candidates  with experience or qualifications in finance (including audit capability and/or project assessment), law, corporate governance, marketing, IT, or  with experience relevant to the transport, tourism and sports sectors.

I stated clearly that, given the importance of ensuring the right mix of skills and experience on every board, appointments would not necessarily be confined to those who had made such an expression of interest.  I may also decide from time to time not to fill all existing vacancies. All appointments from 8th April 2011 have followed these procedures.

In summary, I have made a total of 96 appointments and 42 re-appointments since March 2011 and a number of other appointments are in the process of being made at the moment. Of the 96, 45 (47%) were from persons who had availed of the opportunity to submit an expression of interest.

Also under the new procedures, all new Chairpersons appointed by me have appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee prior to their appointment taking effect.

There have been two exceptions where the individual concerned did not appear before the Oireachtas Committee. They were the appointment of Professor Cecily Kelleher as Chairperson of the Medical Bureau of Road Safety in April 2012 as this is primarily a technical post, and the appointment in July 2011 of Tom Wall as Chairperson of the Railway Procurement Agency to April 2012 as this was an interim appointment pending the merger of the RPA with the National Roads Authority.

To date, the Chairpersons of the following bodies have appeared before the Oireachtas Committee prior to their appointment/re-appointment: 

Road Safety Authority;

National Roads Authority;

Railway Procurement Agency;

Dublin Aviation Authority;

Shannon Airport Authority;

Shannon Foynes Port Company;

Marine Casualty Investigation Board;

Drogheda Port Company;

Galway Harbour Company;

New Ross Port Company;

Wicklow Port Company; and

National Sports Campus Development Agency.

In addition, the Chairpersons of the CIE companies were appointed on the 29th of June 2011. They did not appear before the relevant Joint Oireachtas Committee until the 12th of July 2011 as the Committee was newly established at that point.

All future appointments will continue to be made in this fashion.

Rural Transport Services Provision

Questions (757)

Brendan Smith

Question:

757. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will ensure that full consultation is carried out with all stakeholders, particularly the existing rural transport providers, in relation to the establishment of new structures for the delivery of rural transport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8195/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Since becoming Minister for Public and Commuter Transport the developments I have initiated have been aimed at ensuring that into the future we have a more complete and cost effective transport service offering in rural areas that better meets the transport needs of all users. To this end national responsibility for local and rural transport services integration, including the Rural Transport Programme (RTP) was assigned to the National Transport Authority (NTA) with effect from 1st April 2012, putting such services in a broader transport context.  I also established the National Integrated Rural Transport (NIRT) Committee in April 2012, comprising key stakeholders and chaired by the NTA, to oversee and manage a partnership approach to implementing integrated local and rural transport.

I am very aware of the very valuable work done on the ground by the RTP Groups in ensuring that the transport needs of their local community are being identified and delivered within available resources. However, given  resources are limited and that the Value for Money and Policy Review of the RTP, published last year, recommended organisational restructuring to achieve efficiencies and the establishment of better alignment between the RTP groups and local authorities, it is necessary that the current delivery mechanisms and structures are examined and revised.

 The current structures of the RTP are not sustainable if the required efficiencies and savings are to be achieved. If these are not achieved then with the limited resources available services will decline. I am not prepared to allow that to happen.

Work is underway to determine the optimal structure for the delivery of rural transport from an efficiency and service perspective. Discussions are taking place with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, the County and City Managers Association and the Rural Transport Network in the context of aligning the new structure with the local authority structure. The NIRT Committee is also being kept appraised of developments. I am hopeful that agreement on the revised structure can be achieved in the second half of this year.

I want to emphasise however that any future structure for the rural transport programme will be based on community input, local flexibility and involving the voluntary sector.  Rural Transport by its nature is community-based and this will remain under any new structure.

Road Traffic Legislation

Questions (758)

Jerry Buttimer

Question:

758. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on whether in the interests of safety of road users, it is necessary to implement new regulations governing the use of horses and sulkies on public roads; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8220/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

While the Gardaí have recently been successful in bringing prosecutions for the racing of sulkies on public roads, I believe that the law in this an area requires further examination.

 Under current Road Traffic legislation, I have the power, as Minister, to make general regulations for the control of traffic, including the parking of vehicles in public places. I have asked my Department, in consultation with the Gardaí, to review the current legislation governing the use of animals on public roads, to determine if tighter controls are necessary.  

Public Service Obligation Services

Questions (759, 760, 761, 762, 763)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

759. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the way costs are apportioned by the National Transport Authority to companies operating Public Service Obligation routes such as Dublin Bus and CIE, and the process used to decide the amount of money that goes to each company. [8228/13]

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Eoghan Murphy

Question:

760. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of times CIE companies have not met the quality benchmarks in their Public Service Obligation contracts. [8229/13]

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Eoghan Murphy

Question:

761. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide a breakdown of the amount of the subvention paid to each of the publicly financed transport companies by the service they offer for example how much of the public service obligation goes to each of the routes in each company and the way this is determined. [8230/13]

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Eoghan Murphy

Question:

762. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if a private operator were to propose to operate a fully commercial service when an existing public sector obligation subvention service is operated, if the National Transport Authority will consider withdrawing the PSO support for the existing service. [8231/13]

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Eoghan Murphy

Question:

763. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the way financial performance of the CIE companies are monitored to ensure that they are able to deliver on their Public Service Obligation requirements for the duration of their contracts. [8232/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 759 to 763, inclusive, together.

The issues raised are matters for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and I have forwarded the Deputy's questions to NTA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.