Water Fluoridation

Questions (629, 653)

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

629. Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Health if he will review the current policy of fluoridating our water supply; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12754/13]

View answer

Terence Flanagan

Question:

653. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to concerns regrading the presence of fluoride in water; his plans to remove fluoride from the water supply; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13015/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 629 and 653 together.

Water fluoridation and the use of appropriate fluorides is a major plank of public health policy in Ireland in the prevention and management of tooth decay. In 2002 the Forum on Fluoridation, which was established to review this policy, concluded that the fluoridation of public piped water supplies should continue as a public health measure. The effects of fluoridation on health and related matters are kept under constant review. The Irish Expert Body on Fluorides and Health, established in 2004, monitors new and emerging issues on fluoride and its effects. It advises that the balance of scientific evidence worldwide confirms that water fluoridation, at the optimal level, does not cause any ill effects and is the safest and most cost effective method of protecting the oral health of the population. The opinion of the Expert Body is supported by the World Health Organisation; the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the Public Health Service and the Surgeon General of the United States; the World Dental Federation; the International Association for Dental Research; the Royal College of Physicians of England and by major international scientifically validated reviews in many countries.

Health Services Provision

Questions (630)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

630. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if he will request the Health Service Executive to expedite a decision on an application for occupational therapy assessment in respect of a child (details supplied) in Dublin 11, particularly in view of the fact that the closing date for applying for support hours at second level is imminent and without the required assessment it will be very difficult for the secondary school to make an application for support hours. [12760/13]

View answer

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.

Home Help Service Eligibility

Questions (631)

John McGuinness

Question:

631. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health if home help hours will be continued in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny. [12772/13]

View answer

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.

Drugs Payment Scheme Administration

Questions (632)

John McGuinness

Question:

632. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health if the cost of medication will be refunded to a person (details supplied) in County Carlow. [12773/13]

View answer

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.

Ambulance Service Provision

Questions (633)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

633. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health when the successful bidder for ambulance training (details supplied) will commence its contract with the Health Service Executive; the reason for the delay in proceeding with this new contract which was due to commence on the 31 of December 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12793/13]

View answer

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.

Respite Care Services

Questions (634)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

634. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health the funding sources available to a charity hoping to build a respite centre for sick children and their families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12799/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I understand the Deputy is referring to respite services for children with life-limiting conditions. My Department administers a National Lottery Discretionary Fund from which small once-off grants are paid to community and voluntary organisations, providing a range of health related services. If an organisation wishes to make an application for National Lottery Funding they should send in a formal application. Detailed procedures, along with the application form are set out on the Department's website, www.doh.ie. The HSE receives an annual capital allocation for the building, equipping and furnishing of health facilities. There are always more construction projects than can be funded from the Exchequer's capital health care allocation. The HSE is required to prioritise infrastructure projects within its overall capital envelope taking into account the existing capital commitments and costs of completion over the period. The method and timescale for the delivery of health care infrastructure is dependent on a number of factors; it is a dynamic process constantly evolving to take account of changing circumstances, including the feasibility of implementation.

The Deputy may wish to note that in 2010 the Department of Health published Palliative Care for Children with Life-limiting Conditions in Ireland – a National Policy (DoH 2010) which provides the foundation and sets out clear direction for the development of an integrated palliative care service for children and their families, across all care settings. Following on from the publication of the policy, the National Development Committee for Children's Palliative Care (NDC) was established by the HSE. The NDC is co-chaired by the HSE and the Irish Hospice Foundation. It includes a representative from my Department. The Committee has overall responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the national policy recommendations. The committee’s emphasis on partnership is reflected in its membership comprising statutory, voluntary, professional, and parent involvement.

On 4 March 2013, the Irish Hospice Foundation and LauraLynn, Ireland’s Children's Hospice, in partnership with the HSE published a report titled "Respite Services for Children with Life-limiting Conditions and their Families in Ireland – A Needs Assessment". The report provides a national overview of service provision and future respite requirements as part of a palliative care service for children in Ireland. The report identifies some of the challenges involved in planning for respite care such as difficulties with definitions and terminology; determining the numbers of children who require respite care and the numbers currently availing of services; the extent and location of current service provision; the perhaps at times unnecessary distinction between disability services and palliative care. The report provides an indication of what is currently available and what is required at a national level to provide for the respite needs of children and families. The report acknowledges that a significant level of respite support is already being provided but access is inconsistent around the country and can be dependent on diagnosis and/or geographic location. The report will assist the Department of Health and the National Development Committee for Children’s Palliative Care in planning for the respite needs of children with life-limiting conditions, and is a useful contribution to filling in the gaps in the understanding and knowledge of the way respite services for children are organised. A number of the recommendations in the report are already under consideration by the National Development Committee and the Committee has undertaken to examine all of the recommendations through its on-going programme of work.

Autism Awareness Month

Questions (635)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

635. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health if he has considered the proposal to mark 2 April 2013, the start of autism awareness month, by lighting landmark buildings in blue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12845/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Last year my Department made efforts to mark Autism Awareness 2012 by lighting up Hawkins House in blue. Due to the old lighting system in operation in Hawkins House this proved to be ineffective. My Department had an electrician recently install a test lamp on the roof of the building to see if it were possible to improve the lighting. Unfortunately the cost of carrying out this project effectively is prohibitive.

Animal Experimentation

Questions (636)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

636. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health the mechanisms and procedures his Department and or the IMB have in place to ensure enforcement of Regulation 9 of SI. No. 870 of 2004 (European Communities (Cosmetic Products) Regulations 2004) which prohibits the sale of all animal-tested cosmetics here and in the rest of the EU from 11 March 2013. [12847/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Regulation 9 of S.I. No. 870 of 2004 which prohibits the marketing of cosmetic products and ingredients that have been tested in animals has been in force for four years, since 11 March 2009, except for a derogation relating to three toxicity checks. On 11 March 2013, this derogation ends, and no further testing on animals of cosmetics or ingredients can take place. It has been the policy of the Department of Health not to licence the use of live animals for testing of cosmetics in Ireland and this is confirmed by the statistical information provided by the Department to the European Commission under Article 13 of Directive 86/609/EEC, as amended. Furthermore, there have been no incidences of breaches of this ban detected in ongoing European cosmetic surveillance programmes brought to the attention of the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) or my Department to date. The relevant Regulations require the manufacturer of the product, the manufacturer's agent, the person to whose order the cosmetic product is manufactured for, or the person who first supplies the cosmetic product in the European Union, to ensure that cosmetics imported, distributed or retailed in Ireland or the EU comply with the legislation. Enforcement of the legislation is provided for in Regulation 12 of S.I. No. 870 of 2004 and the IMB is the Competent Authority responsible for ensuring that the legislation is complied with. On 11 March 2013 the EU Commission published a Communication on the animal testing ban. This Communication concluded that the marketing ban should enter into force, be coherently implemented throughout the EU and that the research and development of alternative testing methods for toxicity of cosmetics should be prioritised as part of the EU's trade and international cooperation agenda.

Departmental Bodies Board Remuneration

Questions (637)

Niall Collins

Question:

637. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the board fees and-or remuneration, broken down by chairman and individual board member, that were paid to directors of the Health Service Executive and Irish Blood Transfusion Service in 2012 and until 28 February 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12848/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As all members of the Board of the Health Service Executive are public servants, they are precluded from claiming fees under the "one person one salary" principle. This precludes public servants acting as chairpersons or directors of State-sponsored bodies from receiving additional remuneration for undertaking such duties. In relation to the Irish Blood Transfusion Service Board, the following table shows the fees paid.

Board Member

Year ended 31st December 2012

2 Months to 28th February 2013

Ms Katherine Bulbulia (Chairperson)

8,603

*N/A

Ms Ann Horan

5,018

*N/A

Mr David Keenan

5,018

*N/A

Ms Jane O'Brien

11,970

1,842

Mr Sean Wyse

5,018

*N/A

Mr David Lowe

5,018

*N/A

Ms Sinead Ni Mhaille

5,018

*N/A

Dr Paolo Rebulla

11,970

1,995

Dr Conor McGrane

6,491

1,842

Total

64,124

5,679

* No longer member of IBTS Board.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (638)

Gerry Adams

Question:

638. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a hospital appointment in respect of a person (detail supplied). [12853/13]

View answer

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.

Hospital Internships

Questions (639)

Kevin Humphreys

Question:

639. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 221 of 13 February 2013, on medical intern places, the plans there are to accommodate non-EU students attending Irish medical schools in medical intern positions here; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there will be a shortage of about 30 places; the responsibility the Health Service Executive has to resolve same; the action being taken; if his further attention has been drawn to the fact that it is too late for non-EU students to apply for intern places in other jurisdictions and that many non-EU students were not clearly informed that they will not be able to obtain an intern position here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12858/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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. 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. The recruitment process for interns is a national process governed by the Health Service Executive, National Recruitment Service. All medical students from the six medical schools in Ireland are entitled to apply for an intern post. In managing the recruitment process the HSE is bound by European Community Preference rules whereby preference must be given to EU nationals over non-EU nationals. It should also 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 medical schools make it clear in their enrolment documentation for non-EU medical students that there is no guarantee of an intern post in Ireland upon completion of the basic medical degree. The priority of the HSE and my Department is to ensure that, at a minimum, all EU graduates from Irish schools have the ability to undertake an internship once they meet the qualifications for same. This is with a view to securing the State's investment in their medical education and to enable them achieve the status of a fully registered medical practitioner. To date there have been sufficient posts for all EU graduates from Irish medical schools and a number of available posts for some non-EU applicants. The HSE remain confident that all EU graduates from the six medical schools in Ireland who have applied for an intern post and who meet the eligibility and qualifications for same will be allocated a post within the public health service as of July 2013.

Medical Aids and Appliances Applications

Questions (640)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

640. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will be provided with a hearing aid as a matter of urgency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12879/13]

View answer

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.

Medical Card Applications

Question No. 642 answered with Question No. 573.

Questions (641)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

641. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health if he will expedite an application for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12894/13]

View answer

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.

Question No. 642 answered with Question No. 573.

Tax Code

Questions (643)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

643. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health if he will have the Department of Finance amend Section 469 (1)(f) of the Taxes Consolidation Act (1997) to delete the words, "or similar treatment prescribed by a practitioner", and to leave the word, "physiotherapy", to ensure that extra costs are not imposed on physiotherapy patients who have not been referred by their general practitioner, hospital accident and emergency or medical consultant and to ensure that the Government's commitment to the provision of health care in the primary care setting is protected and to ensure that it meets its goal of meeting 90% of health care needs through the primary care setting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12903/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Tax policy is a matter for the Department of Finance and, therefore, the Department of Health has no role in making such determinations. However, the Department has already been in contact with the Department of Finance about this issue. The Department outlined to the Department of Finance the important role that physiotherapists play in primary healthcare and indicated support of measures which would encourage patients to avail of early intervention services, such as physiotherapy in a primary care setting.

HSE Expenditure

Questions (644)

Gerry Adams

Question:

644. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the management consultants currently employed by the Health Service Executive; and the fees paid to each. [12907/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy's query relates to an operational issue, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Speech and Language Therapy

Questions Nos. 646 and 647 answered with Question No. 573.

Questions (645)

Tom Fleming

Question:

645. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health if he will examine the immediate need for speech therapy in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12916/13]

View answer

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.

Questions Nos. 646 and 647 answered with Question No. 573.

Parking Provision

Questions (648)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

648. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health the amount in revenue his Department received from the nationwide controlled parking systems parking fees on the hospital grounds of the Mater Hospital, Beaumont Hospital, James Connolly Memorial Hospital and St. James's Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12934/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

My Department does not receive any revenue from the controlled parking system parking fees on the hospital grounds of the Mater Hospital, Beaumont Hospital, James Connolly Hospital and St. James's Hospital.

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