Symphysiotomy Report

Questions (270)

Finian McGrath

Question:

270. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health if he will support the survivors of symphysiotomy in 2013 in obtaining justice for the suffering the survivors have endured (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10499/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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.

Health Services Provision

Questions (271, 272)

Jerry Buttimer

Question:

271. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Health the efforts being made to develop clear clinical pathways for people living with chronic pain; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10516/13]

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Jerry Buttimer

Question:

272. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Health if he will provide details of the investment and development of infrastructure to improve the treatments available for chronic pain; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10517/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 271 and 272 together.

In relation to the particular queries raised by the Deputy, as these are service matters, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in these matters.

Drugs Payment Scheme Administration

Questions (273)

Robert Troy

Question:

273. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 676 and 692, under the DPS scheme, no individual or family pays more than €144 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines, therefore, if one member of a family has a medical card on medical grounds and that member pays the €1.50 per item in the medical card prescription up to a maximum of €19.50 per month and the rest of the family pay the €144, surely that family is entitled to a refund of the €19.50 per month under the DPS scheme, otherwise the family pays more than the €144 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. [10529/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The General Medical Services (GMS) Scheme and the Drug Payment Scheme (DPS) are separate schemes with separate qualifying criteria. Under the GMS Scheme, medical card holders are required to pay a €1.50 charge per item for medicines and other prescription items supplied to them by community pharmacists, subject to a cap of €19.50 per month for each person or family. Prescription charges do not apply to children in the care of the HSE or to methadone supplied to patients participating in the Methadone Treatment Scheme.

Under the DPS, no individual or family pays more than €144 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme significantly reduces the cost burden for families and individuals incurring ongoing expenditure on medicines. In addition, people who cannot, without undue hardship, arrange for the provision of medical services for themselves and their dependants may be entitled to a medical card. In the assessment process, the Health Service Executive can take into account medical costs incurred by an individual or a family. Those who are not eligible for a medical card may still be able to avail of a GP visit card, which covers the cost of general practice consultation. There is no provision for a family in the circumstances mentioned by the Deputy to claim a refund of the prescription charge from the DPS because, as advised from the outset, the GMS Scheme and the DPS are separate schemes with separate qualifying criteria.

Prescription Charges

Questions (274)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

274. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health if patients are entitled to request a quarterly prescription from their general practitioner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10658/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

A repeat prescription facility was introduced to the General Medical Services (GMS) Scheme in March 1991. Under this facility, prescriptions for certain drugs and medicines may be renewed on a three monthly, rather than a monthly, basis. Patients who are stabilised on their medication do not need to visit their General Practitioner (GP) every month in order to have their prescriptions renewed. The facility to change prescriptions from monthly to quarterly for suitable patients provides efficiencies for GPs and patients, by reducing unnecessary consultations and journeys to the surgery and pharmacy. In addition, Regulation 7(5) of the Medicinal Products (Prescription and Control of Supply) Regulations 2003 as amended provides that prescriptions for medicinal products are valid for a period of six months from the date specified on the prescription. Prescriptions for Controlled Drugs, which are listed in Schedule 2 and 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1988 as amended, are valid for fourteen days from the date on the prescription.

Primary Care Centres Provision

Questions (275)

Micheál Martin

Question:

275. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health the progress being made with regard to the provision of a primary health centre in Rowlagh, Dublin 22; if a site has yet been identified for this centre; if any public private partnership agreement has yet been finalised; if he will provide an indicative time frame for the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10676/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Rowlagh / North Clondalkin was one 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.

The HSE is also engaging with the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) as required to progress Primary Care Centre Public Private Partnership. The NDFA as a centre of expertise will be responsible for the delivery of the Primary Care PPP programme on behalf of the HSE, including the management of the procurement phase and the provision of financial advice including a Value for Money assessment. It has been reviewing the processes involved in procurement of PPP projects with a view to streamlining the process and delivering projects more quickly. The preparatory work for the primary care centre project which precedes signing of any PPP agreements is well underway. 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.

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Questions (276)

James Bannon

Question:

276. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health if he will supply a more suitable wheelchair to a person (details supplied) in County Longford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10690/13]

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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 Waiting Lists

Questions (277)

James Bannon

Question:

277. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will be called for an MRSI scan at the Midlands Regional Hospital, Tullamore, County Offaly or Mullingar, County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10695/13]

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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, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.

Departmental Staff Data

Questions (278, 280)

Seán Fleming

Question:

278. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health the number of agency and contract staff currently employed under the aegis of his Department; the mechanism in place for monitoring and managing the associated costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10984/13]

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Clare Daly

Question:

280. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health if he will outline the numbers and cost of agency staff under the aegis of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11064/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 278 and 280 together.

The Department has a number of contractual arrangements with private sector providers of services such as cleaning companies, canteen, IT technical support where the staff providing the services are not employees of the Department. Other services are procured through consultancy contracts in line with procurement guidelines. Four former staff of my Department (2.2 whole time equivalents) are currently re-engaged on a temporary contract basis in line with a Government Decision on the arrangements for dealing with our EU Presidency requirements. In addition Ministerial appointments in such roles as special advisor, personal assistant, personal secretary and civilian driver have been made on a contract basis. The total number involved in those two categories is eighteen staff (15.86 whole time equivalents). All of these appointments were subject to the sanction of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the provision of Excluding Orders from the Commission for Public Service Appointments in accordance with the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004.

Grade

Number of Staff (Headcount Basis)

Payscale

Special Advisor

2

€80,051 - €92,672

Personal Assistant

3

€43,715 - €56,060

Personal Secretary

3

€23,820 - €47,755

Civilian Driver

6

€32,964 (one point scale)

Principal Officer

1

€81,132 - €97,417

Assistant Principal Officer

3

€65,185 - €75,934

The pensions of retired staff who were re-engaged are subject to pension abatement rules.

The information in respect of the Non-Commercial State Agencies is currently being collated and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it is available. With regard to the Health Service Executive, they have been asked to collate the data sought as soon as possible and it will be provided directly to the Deputy by them when available.