Departmental Staff Rehiring

Question No. 262 answered with Question No. 260.

Questions (261)

Joan Collins

Question:

261. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of public sector workers who have retired in the past three years within her Department or any office or body under her aegis who have been reinstated; if she will provide details on the pay rates they are receiving; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10990/13]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

No public sector workers who have retired in the last three years from my Department or Body under the aegis of my Department have been re-instated.

Question No. 262 answered with Question No. 260.

Health Insurance Regulation

Questions (263)

Michael McGrath

Question:

263. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health his plans to make a capital injection into the VHI this year to comply with the ruling of the EU Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10638/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy is aware, the European Commission took a case against the State regarding the VHI's derogation from the EU Non-Life Directives. In September 2011, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) found that Ireland had failed to fulfil its obligations under the Directives by exempting VHI from being regulated (i.e. holding authorisation) by the Central Bank of Ireland.

The Government has agreed that the VHI should make an application for authorisation to the Central Bank. The Government will make a decision on recapitalisation of the VHI when the Central Bank has determined the amount of any capital requirements and the EU Commission has approved a capital injection under State aid rules.

Officials from my Department and the VHI have been engaging regularly to progress issues relating to VHI's authorisation and have also met with Central Bank officials.

Croke Park Agreement Review

Questions (264)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

264. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the extent to which the context of the review of the Croke Park agreement or other discussions, it might have been found possible to identify the needs of public sector workers currently working in excess of the statutory working week with a view to minimising on them the impact the extent to which cost-cutting measures arising from the implementation of the memorandum of understanding entered into by his predecessors particularly for those working in frontline or stressful situations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10709/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The circumstances of workers in all sectors, including those working in excess of the statutory working week, were taken into account in the review of the Public Service Agreement and are reflected in the agreement reached.

The Government is committed to achieving compliance with the European Working Time Directive, and related Irish legislation, in respect of NCHDs by 2014. I have emphasised to the Health Service Executive the high priority the Government and I attach to this issue .

In January 2012, a detailed plan for the achievement of compliance by NCHDs with the Working Time Directive was submitted to the EU Commission. The plan affirmed Ireland's commitment to achieving compliance with the Directive over a three-year time period. It committed to implementing the measures necessary, including new work patterns for medical staff, transfer of work undertaken by NCHDs to other grades and the organisation of hospital services to support compliance.

The HSE's National Service Plan 2013 states that there will be a particular focus in the acute hospital service on the achievement of compliance with the European Working Time Directive amongst the non-consultant hospital doctor workforce. National Standards for reducing NCHD hours, which will be used to assess progress on a site by site basis, have recently been drawn up and issued to hospital managers and clinical directors. The HSE has also recently established a national group chaired by a senior executive to bring a clear and urgent focus to implementation of the Directive, assessment of performance and site by site accountability for change.

Ambulance Service Provision

Questions (265)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

265. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health the position regarding future plans for the Kerry ambulance service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10459/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The National Ambulance Service (NAS) is not a static service. The Service deploys its resources in a dynamic manner and works on an area and national, rather than a local, basis. The dynamic deployment of ambulance resources ensures that the nearest appropriate resource is mobilised to the location of any incident.

The NAS has been taking a number of steps to improve response times. These include development of a Performance Improvement Action Plan, an Intermediate Care Service, the control centre reconfiguration project and a trial emergency aeromedical service. Following a referral to the Labour Court under the Public Service Agreement, the HSE National ambulance Service is currently progressing a number of efficiencies arising from LCR 20313, including the issue of removal of overtime built in to rosters. New rosters are now in place and are operating successfully. In relation to the specific query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Tobacco Control Measures

Questions (266)

Robert Troy

Question:

266. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the percentage of population that smoke; the percentage of under 25 year olds who smoke; the reduction in the percentage of persons that smoke following the introduction of the smoking ban and the abolishing of ten cigarettes packs. [10461/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy is aware, the smoking ban was introduced in 2004 and the sale of cigarettes in packets of less than 20 was banned in 2007.

The Slán Survey 2007 states that 29% of respondents reported being current smokers.Smoking was found to be more common among younger adults; 35% of those aged 18-29.The previous Slán Survey in 2002 found that 27% of people reported being regular smokers, with 34% of those aged 18-34.The Survey does state, however, that comparisons across the years are reported with caution because of the different survey methods utilised.The Irish Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) Survey, 2010 found that the number of children (aged 10-17) currently smoking fell from 18% to 12% from 2002 to 2010.This may be attributable in part to the tobacco control measures in place.

The Department is planning for the establishment of a new rolling health and wellbeing survey to provide data on the health status and other health related behaviours of the Irish population, including tobacco prevalence data.This will assist in monitoring the impact of health promotion and tobacco control measures on smoking rates.

Tobacco Control Measures

Questions (267)

Robert Troy

Question:

267. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if he held any discussions with the Department of Finance with a view to securing a percentage of excise duty raised through the sale of tobacco towards the education of young persons regarding the negative effects of smoking. [10462/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Tobacco Policy Review Group is examining a number of areas which need to be developed or enhanced in order to reduce smoking prevalence in Ireland. The Group's report will also examine how to develop our cessation services in order to support those people who want to stop smoking. The Group is considering the introduction of a tobacco industry levy to be ring fenced to fund health promotion and tobacco control initiatives.

The Report of the Tobacco Policy Review Group is nearing completion in my Department and the Groups recommendations will be discussed with other Government Departments.

Hospitals Capital Programme

Questions (268)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

268. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health the reason the acute hospital budget for hospitals in the south east is significantly lower than the budgets in all other regions which stands at just €565 per capita compared to an average per capita spend of €691; the basis on which the acute hospital budget allocation is made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10482/13]

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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,

Health Services Provision

Questions (269)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

269. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Health the amount per year that has been allocated by the special delivery unit in each year since it was set up; the amount that remains to be allocated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10484/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The detailed information requested by the Deputy is currently being compiled in my Department and I will arrange to have it forwarded to her as soon as possible.