Medical Card Applications

Questions (250)

Tom Fleming

Question:

250. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12238/13]

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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.

Medicinal Products Expenditure

Questions (251)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

251. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the measures he is taking to reduce the cost of generic drugs in view of reports that the Health Service Executive pays up to 24 times more than the National Health Service for some generic drugs; if he will outline a timeframe for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12260/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The prices of drugs vary between countries for a number of reasons, including different prices set by manufacturers, different wholesale and pharmacy mark-ups, different dispensing fees and different rates of VAT. In recent years, a number of changes to the pricing and reimbursement system have been successfully introduced in Ireland. These have resulted in reductions in the prices of thousands of medicines.

The Department and the HSE have successfully finalised discussions with the Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers in Ireland (APMI), which represents the generic industry, on a new agreement to deliver further savings in the cost of generic drugs. Under this Agreement, from 1 November 2012, the HSE will only reimburse generic products which have been priced at 50% or less of the initial price of an originator medicine. In the event that an originator medicine is priced at less than 50% of its initial price the HSE will require a generic price to be priced below the originator price. This represents a significant structural change in generic drug pricing and should lead to an increase in the generic prescribing rate. In addition, the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Bill 2012, which is currently before the House, provides for the introduction of a system of generic substitution and reference pricing for prescribed drugs and medicines. These reforms will promote price competition among suppliers and ensure that lower prices are paid for these medicines resulting in further savings for taxpayers and patients.

Home Help Service Provision

Questions (252)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

252. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health if he will clarify the situation regarding the provision of home help hours in the Health Service Executive Dublin north east area; if the technical adjustment will mean 400,000 hours will be lost in this region; if he will reassure service users that their service will remain in place and those who have lost hours in the past 12 months will have them reinstated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12261/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The target for Home Help hours in the HSE National Service Plan 2012 was incorrectly set at 10.7 million hours, due to a data collection error in the Dublin/North East region. The correct original target for 2012 should have been 10.3 million hours, and this is the target now also set for 2013. The error was purely methodological and there was, therefore, no loss of 400,000 hours. As is the case with all aspects of HSE service plans, the Home Help services are reviewed on a regular basis, in the context of achieving agreed targets or taking account of evolving circumstances over the course of 2013.

Hospital Services

Questions (253)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

253. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health if he will detail plans for service change at Navan hospital, County Meath, for the full year 2013; the services that will be lost and gained; the staff changes expected for the same period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12262/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to the specific queries raised by the Deputy, I will arrange for a senior official at the Department of Health to write to you on these queries.

Hospital Trusts

Questions (254)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

254. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health if he will details plans for hospital groups for all hospitals in the Health Service Executive Dublin north east area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12263/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Recommendations on the formation of specific groups and arrangements for the management and governance of all groups have been included as part of a report on the establishment of hospital groups as a transition to hospital trusts. This report is based on a comprehensive consultation process, as well as a significant number of submissions from stakeholders and individual citizens. These recommendations have been considered and endorsed by a Strategic Board composed of representatives with national and international expertise in health service delivery, governance and linkages with academic institutions.

The report on the establishment of hospital groups as a transition to independent hospital trust has been presented to me by the Chair of the Strategic Board, Professor John Higgins. I intend to prioritise consideration of this report, which will then be submitted to and presented to Government for decision on the hospital groups composition in light of the recommendations of the Report.

The Government will then decide on the initial make up of hospital groups which will be established on an administrative basis pending the legislation required to set up hospital trusts by 2015. Before those trusts are established the composition and functioning of the Groups will be reviewed and if changes prove necessary then they will be made with Government approval when the hospital trusts are being formed. As such I cannot comment at this time on the final composition of the new Hospital Groups and will not be publishing the Report or its recommendations prior to it going to Cabinet.

Hospital Services

Questions (255)

Denis Naughten

Question:

255. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the reason for the upgrade of tele conferencing facilities at Roscommon County Hospital; the cost of the project and the timetable for completion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12267/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to the specific query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Mental Health Services Provision

Questions (256)

Tom Fleming

Question:

256. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health if he will provide the necessary staff to allow Killorglin and district Mental Health association to open their new low support mental health facility adjacent to Ard Alainn Day Care Centre, Killorglin, County Kerry, that is enacting A Vision for Change strategy proposed by the Health Service Executive that was purchased and renovated at a cost of €343,000 at the request of the HSE that was due to open last September; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12274/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Cancer Screening Programmes

Questions (257)

Frank Feighan

Question:

257. Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Health his plans for the roll out of a National Cancer Screening programme with specific plans for the involvement of Roscommon County Hospital. [12283/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE's national colorectal screening programme, BowelScreen, commenced in November 2012 and is being introduced on a phased basis to men and women between the ages of 60-69 years. When fully implemented the programme will offer free screening to men and women aged 55-74 every two years. The screening test, known as a Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT), is a home based test and approximately 94 to 95 per cent of people will receive a normal result and will be invited for routine screening again in two years time. A small number, in the region of five to six per cent, will receive a not normal result and will require an additional test. They will be referred for a colonoscopy to a Screening Colonoscopy Unit within a hospital contracted by the HSE’s National Cancer Screening Service (NCSS) for provision of this service.

Over half of the initially selected fifteen candidate screening colonoscopy units have been accredited to date, giving geographic spread to support the screening programme, and maintaining service requirements for symptomatic patients within national targets. The remainder of units continue to work to achieve this benchmark. Also a number of additional units, including Roscommon County Hospital, are pursuing NHS Joint Advisory Group (JAG) accreditation and the NCSS continues to work in close partnership with Roscommon County Hospital in this regard. The HSE is working to develop the appropriate capacity in colonoscopy services nationwide to support the introduction, sustainability and growth of the screening programme, while maintaining and enhancing the capability of the symptomatic endoscopy service.

Hospital Services

Questions (258, 259, 260)

Frank Feighan

Question:

258. Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Health his plans for a medical rehabiliation centre at Roscommon County Hospital. [12284/13]

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Frank Feighan

Question:

259. Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Health if his plans for a medical rehabiliation centre at Roscommon County Hospital includes a capital development; and if so, the costings. [12285/13]

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Frank Feighan

Question:

260. Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Health when a consultant in medical rehabilitation will be posted at Roscommon County Hospital in view of the fact that interviews for the post have now taken place. [12286/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 258 to 260, inclusive, together.

In relation to the specific queries raised by the Deputy, as these are service matters they have been referred to the HSE for direct reply.