Departmental Agencies Staff Remuneration

Questions (610)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

610. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will provide details of payments made to the CEO or equivalent of all agencies under the aegis of her Department including details of any bonuses, pension entitlements or any other remuneration paid to him or her in 2012. [10177/13]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The information requested by the Deputy is not held in my Department. I have asked my officials to liaise with the agencies under the aegis of my Department to obtain this information and to forward it to you shortly.

Adoption Legislation

Questions (611)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

611. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will review adoption legislation to ensure that it meets with international standards including the standards laid down in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in particular Articles 7, 8 and 20 and the European Convention on the Adoption of Children (Revised) 2008; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10216/13]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The standards referred to by the Deputy relate primarily to a person's right to an identity. Work is ongoing on the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill, which will address this matter with regard to adoption. The proposed Bill will provide for a structured and regulated approach to providing access to adoption information and will facilitate contact for those affected by adoption, including in circumstances where an adoption order was not effected.

It is intended that the Bill will provide for the Adoption Authority to have access to all adoption records. The Bill will provide for a National Index of Adoption Records to be maintained by the Adoption Authority containing information as to where all known adoption records are located within the State. It is envisaged that only the Authority, the HSE and accredited bodies will hold adoption records, with the Authority having overall charge of those records.

It is also intended that the Bill will provide for placing the National Contact Preference Register on a statutory basis. The purpose of the Register is to allow persons affected by adoption to register their names with a view to receiving information about a person from whom they have been separated as a result of adoption and will allow for registering a preference, as to whether or not, they want to have contact with that person.

A National Tracing Service will be established, the operation of which will be subject to guidelines which will be set out in regulations. It is intended that the Tracing Service will be made available to adopted persons, birth parents and relatives with the Adoption Authority having the overarching responsibility for the service.

It is intended that prior to the release of adoption information, counselling will be offered by the Adoption Authority, the HSE or by an accredited body to an adopted person, a birth parent or to an adoptive parent if, in the opinion of the Authority, the HSE or an accredited body, such counselling would be beneficial in the circumstances, or if such counselling is requested by the applicant seeking the adoption information.

Complex issues have arisen during the course of the preparation of the Bill including the criteria for balancing an adopted person's right to information about his or her identity as against a birth parent's right to privacy. My own view is that persons affected by adoption should be provided with as much information as possible within permissible Constitutional boundaries.

Consideration of legal and policy issues is ongoing and once these have been satisfactorily resolved, I intend to seek Government approval to publish the Heads of Bill. It is my intention to bring this Bill before the Houses of the Oireachtas in the coming months.

Adoption Legislation

Questions (612)

Michael Creed

Question:

612. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she has met with the Adoption Rights Alliance; the proposals which she will support in respect of amendments to existing adoption legislation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10223/13]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

I have met with the Adoption Rights Alliance. In addition, I have received detailed submissions from the group which outline suggested amendments to the Adoption Act, 2010 and proposals in relation to information and tracing for those affected by adoption.

I am currently examining a number of proposals in relation to amendments to the Adoption Act, 2010. I intend to bring forward any changes to the legislation in conjunction with the draft Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2013, which I propose to bring before the Oireachtas in the coming months.

Child and Family Agency Remit

Questions (613)

Seamus Healy

Question:

613. Deputy Seamus Healy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will review her decision to move psychology services out of the Health Service Executive and into the new Child and Family Support Agency and consider an alternative proposal where psychology services remain in primary care with contractual arrangements with the Child and Family Support Agency; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10313/13]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

Arising from the Government's consideration and decision with regard to the range of functions to be discharged by the new Child and Family Support Agency, it was agreed that an impact analysis be jointly developed by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Department of Health regarding the proposed future arrangements for the provision of the community psychology service as it relates to children and family services covered by the Child and Family Support Agency and to services provided by the HSE. This work is being undertaken as a priority.

I have met with representatives from the Heads of the Psychology Services Ireland and with a delegation from the IMPACT trade union to discuss issues relating to the future governance and organisational arrangements for the provision of community based psychology services. Our shared objective is to ensure that the optimal national governance and service delivery framework is in place to ensure the best possible outcomes for children and families and other clients who need to avail of this key service. The views of the profession and its representatives will receive appropriate consideration as part of the impact analysis.

Food Safety Authority Investigations

Questions (614)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

614. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health if the Food Safety Authority of Ireland was responding to a tip-off when it tested for horse DNA in certain foods in November 2012; the number of times in 2012 the FSAI tested for horse DNA in foods prior to November 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9770/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), as part of their monitoring and surveillance programme on labelling of foods, conducted a small survey in November 2012 to investigate the authenticity of meat products and, specifically, to check on the type of animal species in meat products. There was no tip off involved. This was simply routine work similar to that done in the past with other foods, such as Cod. Prior to November 2012 the FSAI had not tested for horse DNA.

Food Safety Promotion Board

Questions (615)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

615. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the overall budget in 2013 of Safefood, and the contribution to that budget by his Department. [9771/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The overall budget of the Food Safety Promotion Board/Safefood in 2013 will be €8.5m, pending approval of their business plan for 2013 by the North/South Ministerial Council. As the agreed contribution level is 30:70 North/South, it is expected that my Department’s contribution to their budget will therefore amount to €5.95m.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (616)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

616. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the reasons for the delay in receiving an appointment at Tallaght Hospital for urgent medical treatment in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 22. [9829/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to waiting list management in general, the National Waiting List Management Policy, A standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, January 2013, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, recently been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists. In relation to this particular query raised by the Deputy, I have asked the Health Service Executive to investigate the situation and respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.

Symphysiotomy Reports

Questions (617, 643, 675)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

617. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Health if he is prepared to amend the law on the statute of limitations to accommodate the survivors of symphysiotomy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10113/13]

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Billy Kelleher

Question:

643. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health when he expects to make the Walsh Report on symphysiotomy available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9672/13]

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Michael Creed

Question:

675. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Health the up-to-date position regarding his Departments dealings with survivors of symphysiotomy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9833/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 617, 643 and 675 together.

My first priority is to ensure that the women who have had a symphysiotomy have their health needs comprehensively and professionally met. In this regard, the HSE provides a range of services to women who continue to suffer the effects of having had this procedure. These services include the provision of medical cards, the availability of independent clinical advice and the organisation of individual pathways of care and the arrangement of appropriate follow-up.

My Department has commissioned an independent research report in relation to the practice of symphysiotomy in Ireland. The research included a consultation process involving patient groups, health professionals and in particular the women who have experienced symphysiotomy. The researcher is currently finalising the report based on the consultation and it is also planned to have a peer review process. It is hoped that the report will be published early in 2013.

It is intended that the awaited report will inform the Government’s overall consideration of this matter, including the consideration of any actions or legal implications that may be required. It would be premature for me to make any other comments at this stage on what actions might be taken, prior to giving full consideration to the recommendations of the report.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Applications

Questions (618)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

618. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if a review of the rate of contribution being paid to the Health Service Executive nursing home support scheme will be carried out in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry. [9540/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Where an applicant is being provided with financial support under the scheme, the HSE may either at its own initiative or at the request of the applicant carry out a review. A person's financial assessment can only be reviewed, at their request, if 12 months have passed since the initial financial assessment or the most recent review, or if the HSE is satisfied that there has been a material change to the person's financial circumstances. As this is a service matter it has been forwarded to the HSE for direct reply.

Mental Health Services Funding

Questions (619)

Anne Ferris

Question:

619. Deputy Anne Ferris asked the Minister for Health the total budget for mental health services for County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9573/13]

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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.

Health Services Provision

Questions (620, 621)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

620. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Health the cost to the State per client resident in boarding out houses operating under the jurisdiction of Health Service Executive Mayo for each year over the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9577/13]

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Michelle Mulherin

Question:

621. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Health the number of boarding out houses that operate under the jurisdiction of Health Service Executive Mayo and the number of clients that are resident in these facilities for each year over the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9578/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 620 and 621 together.

As these are service matters they have been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Air Ambulance Service Provision

Questions (622)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

622. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health his plans for air ambulances here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9581/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy will be aware, there is a significant cost associated with providing aeromedical support to emergency services. In the Irish context, there is no existing data to establish what that cost might be or the level of need for such a service.

The absence of data for aeromedical support in the Irish context indicated the need for a pilot project, in order to assess the type and extent of service, if any, that might be required to support the National Ambulance Service (NAS). In cooperation with my colleague Alan Shatter, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, the Emergency Aeromedical Service, was initiated as a trial service in June of 2012, to gather this information and it will run for 12 months.

In current conditions, it is prudent to maximise the use of state resources wherever possible. Accordingly, the trial project is being operated from within existing resources. It involves the Irish Air Corps providing aeromedical support to the NAS, from Custume Barracks, Athlone, with flight and maintenance personnel. The NAS is responsible for patient care, which is provided by advanced paramedics. Assessment of the trial will inform future policy direction, and in the event that a decision is made to provide this type of service, how best to proceed operationally.

Departmental Reports

Questions (623)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

623. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health when a copy of the Public Nursing Home Units review will be made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9594/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

My colleague, Mr James Reilly T.D., Minister for Health asked the Health Service Executive to review the status of its long stay residential units, with a view to formulating proposals for future provision. Additional work is needed before this exercise can be completed and a set of proposals presented to the Minister for consideration.

Nursing Home Services

Questions (624)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

624. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if he will provide figures in relation to the cost of care in public nursing home units; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9595/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The cost of care in every public nursing home in the State is published on the HSE's website at http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/Find_a_Service/Older_People_Services/nhss/costhse.pdf. Revised cost of care figures will be published by the HSE shortly.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (625)

Seán Fleming

Question:

625. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health when an appointment for a scan at Tullamore Hospital, County Offaly will be approved in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9602/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Improving access to outpatient services is a key priority for the Government. Building on work already undertaken by the HSE, the NTPF has now taken over the reporting of outpatient waiting time data. For the first time, clear and comprehensive data is available on www.ptr.ie. The collation and analysis of outpatient waiting time data in a standardised format will reveal the distribution of long waiters across all hospitals. In the first instance, this will allow the SDU and NTPF to target their resources towards those patients who are waiting longest and ensure that they are seen and assessed. A maximum waiting time target has now been set of 12 months for a first time outpatient appointment by 30 November 2013.

In parallel with reducing the numbers of longest waiters, the SDU will also work with the HSE Clinical Programmes to reform the structure, organisation and delivery of outpatient services to ensure that the right patient is seen and assessed by the right health professional at the right time.

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.

Hospital Staff

Questions (626, 627, 628, 685, 716, 736)

Anne Ferris

Question:

626. Deputy Anne Ferris asked the Minister for Health the number of medical internships made available by the Health Service Executive National Recruitment Service for uptake in 2012; if all eligible Irish medical graduates received medical internship places within the public health system in 2012; if all Irish medical graduates did not receive internships, if he will identify the number of places that were awarded to Irish, EEA and non-EEA applicants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9606/13]

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Anne Ferris

Question:

627. Deputy Anne Ferris asked the Minister for Health the number of medical internship places to be made available within the Health Service Executive in 2013 for newly graduated medical doctors; if he will identify the number of stage 1 applications received for intern training posts for 2013/2014 from Irish, EEA and non-EEA applicants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9607/13]

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Anne Ferris

Question:

628. Deputy Anne Ferris asked the Minister for Health if priority is or will be given to eligible Irish graduate applicants should there be insufficient places to facilitate all eligible applicants in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9608/13]

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Robert Troy

Question:

685. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health his views on reports that due to the increased number of medical school graduates this year it is anticipated that in July 2013 there will be a shortage of intern places for both EU and non EU graduates of Irish medical schools. [9939/13]

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Paul Connaughton

Question:

716. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton asked the Minister for Health his plans to address the deficit of intern places for medical graduates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10237/13]

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Gerald Nash

Question:

736. Deputy Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Health the number of medical students that are expected to graduate here this year; the number of intern places that will be available within the Health Service Executive for these graduates; the contingency plans that are in place to meet any potential shortage of intern places; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10286/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 626 to 628, inclusive, 685, 716 and 736 together.

The issue of an adequate number of intern places in the Irish medical system is a priority for my Department and for the HSE. The intern year is an integral part of medical training and a medical practitioner cannot be fully accredited without it. Under the provisions of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 it is a matter for the HSE to assess, on an annual basis, the number of intern training posts required by the health service.

There were 572 intern posts available in Ireland for the July 2012 intake, an increase of almost 70 posts since 2007. All 2012 EU graduates from Irish medical schools who sought an intern post here that year and met the HSE eligibility criteria were successful in securing a post. Indeed, to date there have been sufficient posts for all EU graduates from Irish medical schools and a number of additional posts for some non-EU applicants.

My Department is in regular contact with the HSE in relation to the issue of intern places with the aim, in so far as is possible, of providing a sufficient number of intern places for Irish/EU graduates from Irish medical schools. It should be noted that under EU law intern posts must be open to graduates from other EU countries and the HSE has no control over the numbers applying.

The Higher Education Authority has indicated that the number of medical graduates this year has not yet been finalised. However, the application process for internships commencing in July 2013 closed in November last. A total of 960 eligible applications were received, 652 from EEA applicants and 308 from non-EEA applicants. There is no separate figure available for Irish applicants. The final numbers that will proceed to the first round match have not yet been determined as the overseas candidates must pass the entrance test; meet the HSE English language requirements; provide a Basic Life Support (BLS) certificate; and pass their final year medical exams. Candidates applying from within Ireland must provide a BLS certificate and pass their final year medical exams.

The HSE will have approximately 80 additional posts available for interns commencing their training in July 2013. In total there will be in the region of 650 places available for 2013 and the HSE consider that there will be sufficient capacity and funding to ensure that every EU graduate of the six Irish medical schools can access an internship this year.

Primary Care Services Provision

Questions (629)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

629. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health the competition issues that have arisen with regard to the introduction of universal primary care; the discussions that have taken place with other Government Departments and agencies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9609/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Programme for Government provides for significant strengthening of primary care services to achieve Universal Primary Care (UPC) with the removal of cost as a barrier to access for patients. In order to deliver on this commitment, the preparation of a new General Medical Services (GMS) contract with GPs will be required. The Department and the HSE are currently examining the changes that need to be made to the GMS contract to facilitate the introduction of Universal Primary Care.

In 2007, the Department received legal advice that both European Union and national Competition law preclude the fees payable to self employed health professionals being settled on a negotiated basis.

In August 2011, following contacts initiated by the Minister for Health, the Competition Authority advised on what the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) can and cannot do under Competition law. The IMO can, for instance, negotiate non-fee related elements of the contract. It can also present the views of GPs in the course of consultations on the contract, including matters relating to fees. Competition law does, however, preclude the IMO from organising collective action by GPs, including collective withdrawal or boycotts, in order to force the State into paying more than it is willing to pay for GP services. The key issue is that the Minister makes the final decision on what the State will pay under the contract.

I have recently had discussions with the IMO during which I outlined the Government’s policy in relation to free GP care. I intend to engage in further discussions with the IMO once the legislation regarding the extension of free GP care is published.

Primary Care Centre Provision

Questions (630)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

630. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if he will provide a progress update on each of the 35 primary care centres announced under the infrastructure stimulus package in July 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9610/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Of the 35 primary care centres announced under the infrastructure stimulus package in July 2012, approximately 20 will be offered to the market subject to a) agreement between the local GPs and the HSE on active local GP involvement in the centres and b) site suitability and availability. The HSE is currently analysing the available sites in each location and engaging with the GPs in each location to determine their interest in participating in the primary care centre development. While it is not possible, at this time, to give start and completion dates for any of the individual 20 potential locations, the best estimate is that these primary care centres will be completed by late 2016.

Primary Care Strategy

Questions (631)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

631. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if he will provide details of the resource allocation model being used for the development of primary care teams; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9611/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The implementation of the Primary Care Strategy is a priority for this Government. The objective is to develop services in the community which will give people direct access to integrated multi-disciplinary teams of general practitioners (GPs), nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and others.

At the end of December 2012, there were 426 Primary Care Teams operating, i.e. holding clinical team meetings, involving GPs and HSE staff. The 426 Teams provide services for almost 4 million of the population with 2,636 HSE staff members and over 1,692 GPs participating. The HSE's 2013 National Service Plan commits to having 484 operational Teams in place by the end of this year. An allocation of €20 million is set aside in the HSE's 2013 National Service Plan for approximately 250 Primary Care posts to strengthen primary care services. The posts will be filled using the Resource Allocation model, based on deprivation and need, which was developed by the HSE's National Primary Care Office and Health Intelligence Unit. Using this model, the HSE completed a detailed analysis of the numbers and distribution of public health nurses, registered general nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists. The analysis revealed considerable variation across the 17 Integrated Service Areas in ratios of health care professionals to population, and to population numbers in areas of high deprivation. Based on this analysis, it proposed that the following additional posts be recruited to Primary Care Teams:

- 70 Public Health Nurses;

- 37 Registered General Nurses;

- 51 Occupational Therapists;

- 46 Physiotherapists;

- 47 Speech & Language Therapists.

It is the firm intention to have these posts filled as soon as possible in 2013.