Medical Card Reviews

Questions (465)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

465. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health if he will provide in tabular form per county the number of people over the age of 70 years who have had their medical card eligibility reviewed in 2010, 2011 and 2012; the number of medical cards that have been cancelled as a result of the review; the number of medical cards that have been cancelled as a result of incomplete documentation submitted for review purposes; the number held to be eligible for the full medical card upon completion of the review; the number of medical cards that have been cancelled pending the outcome of the review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10943/13]

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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.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (466)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

466. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health if he has published the new guidelines for the motorised transport grant; the number of applications for the motorised transport grant that have been processed to date in 2013; the number of applications awaiting processing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10944/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is very conscious of the needs of people with a disability who require transport supports from the State. 300 people a year received a Motorised Transport Grant. The Government is also conscious of the position of the Ombudsman that the Motorised Transport Grant is illegal in the context of the Equal Status Acts. Having considered the recommendations of the Ombudsman carefully and in particular, the potential cost of implementing the recommended changes, it is clear that extension of the scheme would create serious financial pressure on the health budget in the current climate and would be unsustainable.

Following detailed consideration of the issues involved, the Government has decided that it is no longer possible to allow the scheme to continue as it presently operates and to devise an alternative scheme for meeting people's needs. Applications for Motorised Transport Grant already received by the Health Service Executive up to and including 26th February, 2013 will be processed and if found to be qualified after assessment, the grant will be paid. This decision does not effect the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme operated by the Revenue Commissioners.

A special review group, which will be independently chaired, has been established to seek an alternative method to provide for the needs of people in a manner that does not run counter to the Equal Status Acts. Following the initial phase of the group's work, which will concentrate on issues around Mobility Allowance and the Motorised Transport Grant, a key concentration of the group will be to look at opportunities for the enhancement of the transport options provided to the relevant persons in need. It is important to note that the decision is in no way intended to save costs and the funding involved (€10.6 million) remains committed to meeting the transport needs of relevant people.

I have referred the specific question regarding numbers of applications for Motorised Transport Grant processed to date in 2013 and awaiting processing to the Health Service Executive, for direct reply to the Deputy.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Eligibility

Questions (467)

Finian McGrath

Question:

467. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health the position regarding nursing home care in respect of a person (details supplied). [11003/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009 enables certain items, called allowable deductions, to be taken into account during an individual's financial assessment. One of the items listed is borrowings incurred specifically for the purchase, repair or improvement of the principal residence to the extent that such amount has not been repaid. The HSE must be satisfied that the purpose of incurring the borrowings was for the purchase, repair or improvement of the residence.

As the HSE is responsible for the administration of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, this matter has been passed to the Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Complementary Therapies

Questions (468)

Finian McGrath

Question:

468. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health his views on homoeopathy as a complimentary therapy; his plans to develop this in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11008/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

My Department’s primary concern is to try to establish the most effective way to regulate the complementary therapy sector, in order to protect patient safety while still allowing people freedom of choice; and its immediate priority for the foreseeable future is the statutory registration of the designated health and social care professions (i.e. clinical biochemist; dietitian; medical scientist; occupational therapist; orthoptist; physiotherapist; podiatrist; psychologist; radiographer; social care worker; social worker; speech and language therapist) through the full implementation of the Health and Social Care Professionals Council.

General policy on complementary therapy, including homoeopathy, is informed by the National Working Group on the Regulation of Complementary Therapists which reported in 2005. In line with a recommendation of the National Working Group, the Department of Health supports greater voluntary self-regulation of complementary therapy. While persons providing complementary therapies, including homoeopathy, are not subject to professional statutory regulation, they are subject to a range of legislation and regulation, similar to other practitioners including consumer legislation, competition, contract and criminal law. My Department also makes available an information leaflet on complementary therapy to assist consumers in making an informed health choice - a copy of which is available at http://www.dohc.ie/publications/pdf/complementary_therapists_leaflet.pdf?direct=1.

Medical Ethics

Questions (469)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

469. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Health if it is ethical for a doctor to refuse a patient a medical examination required to join a sporting organisation because they do not agree with the sport in question; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11010/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Consultations by general practitioners with private patients are a matter of private contract between the clinicians and the patients. If the matter raised by the Deputy relates to a medical card holder and the Deputy has more information on this case, I will be happy to ask the HSE to investigate the matter.

Hospital Staff

Questions (470)

Clare Daly

Question:

470. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health the reason St. James Hospital management believe that it is appropriate for non-electrical staff to be able to access fuse boards in the hospital ward areas. [11013/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is an issue for the Health Service Executive, the Deputy's question has been referred to the Executive for direct reply.

Industrial Disputes

Questions (471)

Clare Daly

Question:

471. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health the steps he will take to ensure that the electricians suspended by the management of St. James Hospital, County Dublin, are reinstated in their positions and that the hospital immediately engages in dialogue with them through the auspices of the Labour Court or other vehicles of the States industrial relations machinery. [11016/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is an issue for the Health Service Executive, the Deputy's question has been referred to the Executive for direct reply.

Drugs Payment Scheme Administration

Question No. 473 answered with Question No. 464

Questions (472)

Clare Daly

Question:

472. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health the safeguards that are in place to ensure that claims under the drug payment scheme are legitimate and authorised and that the medication has actually been received by the person in question. [11020/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

It is a requirement under the Drug Payment Scheme that third party verification is received from the patient or patient representative and this is required in order to properly present a valid claim for reimbursement from the HSE's Primary Care Reimbursement Service. To further enhance accountability in this context, PCRS carries out regular checks on claims presented to them for payment.

Question No. 473 answered with Question No. 464.

Health Services Provision

Questions (474)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

474. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the local health services that are available to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11030/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The particular issue raised by the Deputy is a service matter for the Health Service Executive. Accordingly I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Long-Term Illness Scheme Coverage

Questions (475, 502)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

475. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Health his position on categorising colitis as a long-term illness; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11044/13]

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Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

502. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health if it is the case that those patients on the long-term illness scheme and with a medical card are liable for the prescription charge fee; if there have been recent changes regarding same; the date on which these came into effect; his views on the case of a person (details provided) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11187/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 475 and 502 together.

There are no plans to extend the list of conditions covered by the Long Term Illness Scheme. Under the Drug Payment Scheme, 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.

Medical card holders are required to pay prescription charges. Charges are not payable in respect of items supplied under the Long Term Illness Scheme. In the case of persons who have both the medical card and LTI, the HSE policy is that they should use their medical card to access medicines. The main reason for this is that the supply of medicines under the LTI costs the HSE considerably more than under the medical card scheme. A retail mark-up of 20% is payable to pharmacists for items supplied under the LTI scheme but there is no mark up for items supplied under the GMS scheme.

Medical Card Reviews

Questions (476)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

476. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health if he will ensure that the Health Service Executive will issue a renewal of a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11073/13]

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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 Waiting Lists

Questions (477)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

477. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the delay of two years to receive an appointment for assessment in the ENT department at Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin; if he will confirm the length of time for procedures to have adenoids removed and other minor procedures associated with this Department (details supplied). [11116/13]

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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.

Treatment Abroad Scheme

Questions (478, 479, 480, 481, 482, 483)

Gerry Adams

Question:

478. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the total spend on the treatment abroad scheme in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. [11123/13]

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Gerry Adams

Question:

479. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the date on which the processing of treatment abroad scheme applications was centralised in County Kilkenny. [11124/13]

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Gerry Adams

Question:

480. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the number of applications that have been received for the treatment abroad scheme since it was centralised in County Kilkenny; and the number that have been accepted or rejected. [11125/13]

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Gerry Adams

Question:

481. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the number of applications received by the treatment abroad scheme in 2011; the number accepted; and the number rejected. [11126/13]

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Gerry Adams

Question:

482. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the number of applications received by the treatment abroad scheme in 2012; the number accepted; and the number rejected. [11127/13]

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Gerry Adams

Question:

483. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the number of applications for the treatment abroad scheme that have been received in 2013; the number accepted; and the number rejected. [11128/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 478 to 483, inclusive, together.

The centralisation of the processing of applications for the Treatment Abroad Scheme in Kilkenny took place over the period September 2011 to August 2012. The following table provides a breakdown of application received, approved and declined and the cost of same from 2008 to date:

Year

Application

Approved Applications

Declined Applications

Total Cost

2008

403

372

31

€6,003,313

2009

390

363

27

€10,228,928

2010

430

355

22

€4,499,806

2011

481

388

48

€2,212,389

2012

858

791

41

€7,415,570

Please note that the breakdown of applications approved and declined for the Limerick TAS office is not available and is excluded from the 2010 and 2011 figures. The 2011 information above relates to information available through the central TAS office only. The full information from all of the previous 10 regional offices is not available. As invoices from the various countries where treatment has been received by patients are received in arrears, the total cost figures for 2010 and 2011 are likely to change. The total number of applications received to date for 2013 is 126, of which 116 have been approved and 8 declined.