Hospital Staff

Questions (240, 241)

Denis Naughten

Question:

240. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health his plans for the recruitment of additional rehabilitation medicine consultants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21000/13]

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Denis Naughten

Question:

241. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health if a decision has been taken on where the rehabilitation medicine consultant appointed to the Health Service Executive west region will be located; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21001/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 240 and 241 together.

The National Clinical Programme for Rehabilitation Medicine was established under the guidance of the National Clinical Strategy and Programmes Directorate of the Health Service Executive. The appointment and location of consultants in rehabilitation medicine and the development of services nationally and regionally is a matter for the HSE. Accordingly the Department has asked the HSE to reply to you directly.

Hospital Services

Questions (242)

Denis Naughten

Question:

242. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the reason the decision was taken not to locate an acute stroke unit and-or telemedicine stroke unit at Roscommon hospital in view of Roscommon's geographical location; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21002/13]

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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.

Maternity Services

Questions (243)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

243. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if he will provide information which is available on the incidence of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder per maternity hospital for each of the past five years; and the actions being taken to reduce these figures. [21006/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Although Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a specific diagnosis, there are many features that need to be present, as well as a history of pre-natal alcohol intake. For these reasons the diagnosis of FASD is difficult and is frequently either misdiagnosed or unconfirmed. There is no national register of FASD, therefore the number of cases of FASD, Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), and Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND) in Ireland are unknown. This reflects the situation in many countries in Europe.

A study partly funded by the HSE is underway in the Coombe Women's Hospital in Dublin. The study initially screened women for alcohol intake in pregnancy with a view to counselling them accordingly. The study examined the records of 61,241 women who booked for ante-natal care and delivered between 2000 and 2007. The study found that 81% of women reported alcohol consumption during the peri-conceptual period; of these 71% reported low alcohol intake (0-5 units per week), 9.9% moderate intake (6-20 units per week) and 0.2% high intake (over 20 units per week). There was one case of FASD in each of these three categories of peri-conceptual drinkers. As well as this retrospective case note study a prospective study is currently underway to examine the incidence of foetal alcohol effects on a longitudinal basis. I have requested the HSE to provide me with an update on this study and I will forward this information to the Deputy as soon as possible.

As the Deputy knows the Report of the National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group recommended that labels of alcohol products sold in Ireland should include health warnings in relation to consuming alcohol in pregnancy. In relation to Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) the Report recommended to:

- Implement policies and clinical protocols in all healthcare settings to prevent, assess and respond to issues arising in relation to pregnant women affected by alcohol use;

- Strengthen FASD surveillance in maternity hospitals through the Eurocat Reporting system and promote greater awareness among healthcare professionals of FASD so as to improve the diagnosis and management of FASD.

Real and tangible proposals are currently being finalised on foot of the recommendations in the National Substance Misuse Strategy report. These proposals cover all of the areas mentioned in the report, including the labelling of alcohol products and prevention and intervention activities on alcohol. The Cabinet Committee on Social Policy has considered these proposals and I intend to bring forward specific proposals for consideration by Government as soon as possible.

Mental Health Services Provision

Questions (244)

Dan Neville

Question:

244. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Health in view of the fact that the new Health Service Executive access protocols should ensure that all 16 year olds are treated in a CAMHS facility from 1 January 2013 and all 17 year olds from 1 January 2014, if the majority of the first tranche of an additional 150 child and adolescent community mental health team posts have been put in place; if he will provide an update on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21020/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In 2012, a special allocation of €35m was provided for mental health to be used primarily to further strengthen Community Mental Health Teams in both adult and children’s mental health services, to advance activities in the area of suicide prevention, to initiate the provision of psychological and counselling services in primary care, and to facilitate the transfer of mental health service users from institutional to community based care. 414 posts were approved to implement the €35m package of special measures.

As at 29 April, 122 of the designated 150 posts for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services have been either been filled, are under offer or awaiting clearance. The National Recruitment Service (NRS) of the HSE creates national panels in anticipation of vacancies. On occasion however, it is difficult to fill some posts for various reasons including geographical location, international shortage of some grades, most notably clinical Psychologists etc. The NRS is currently working to ensure that the remaining posts will be filled as soon as possible, subject to appropriately qualified candidates being available.

Orthodontic Services Waiting Lists

Questions (245)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

245. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the number of children on the waiting list for orthodontic treatments in Letterkenny General Hospital, County Donegal; the number of these that have been on the list for more than two years; the number of these who have been on this list for more than one year; the average length of time spent by a child on the waiting list before treatment is carried out; the number of children who have been added to the waiting list per month over the past two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21033/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE has commissioned an independent review of orthodontic services. The outcome of this review will give guidance as to what changes will be desirable to provide the best possible model of care delivery, given the current resources available and future demand for services. It is anticipated that a report for consideration by the HSE and the Department of Health will be ready by the end of the second quarter of 2013. The HSE has been asked to reply directly to the Deputy regarding the provision of orthodontic services in Letterkenny General Hospital.

Hospital Services

Questions (246)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

246. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the procedure to be followed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare who has had two faulty hip replacements and one subsequent repair; if any particular special provision is being made available in such circumstances in view of the fact that there have been numerous complaints in relation to such replacements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21052/13]

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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.

Hospital Appointment Delays

Questions (247)

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

247. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health when a hospital appointment will be made in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin in view of the fact that this case is a priority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21079/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Improving access to outpatient services is a key priority for the Government. Building on work already undertaken by the HSE, the National Treatment Purchase Fund has now taken over the reporting of outpatient waiting time data. For the first time data is available on www.ntpf.ie. The collation and analysis of outpatient waiting time data in a standardised format will reveal the distribution of long waiters across all hospitals. In the first instance, this will allow resources to be targeted towards those patients who are waiting longest and ensure that they are seen and assessed. For 2013, a maximum waiting time target has now been set of 12 months for a first time outpatient appointment.

In parallel with reducing the numbers of longest waiters, the SDU will also work with the HSE Clinical Programmes to reform the structure, organisation and delivery of outpatient services to ensure that the right patient is seen and assessed by the right health professional at the right time.

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.

Ministerial Meetings

Questions (248)

Niall Collins

Question:

248. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health if he will report on his visit to Tallaght hospital, Dublin 24, on 26 April 2013; if he gave guarantees to the Tallaght hospital board that he will ensure full implementation of all recommendations of the Health Information and Quality Authority in respect of the hospital; if he will confirm that these recommendations will be implemented nationally as previously promised by him; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21080/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The purpose of my recent visit to Tallaght Hospital was to review the situation there and the progress they have made in patient care. There has been progress in a range of areas, for example the new Medical Admissions Unit is functioning extremely well, and there are plans to extend its hours. In addition, there have been reductions in average length of stay for patients and targets in relation to the number of people waiting nine months or longer have been met. I visited a number of areas in the hospital, including the Telemedicine Unit, a fantastic facility that enables doctors in Tallaght to advise doctors in more remote locations like Naas, Mullingar or Portlaoise on stroke patient care, examine CT Scans and interact with the patient. This development will improve the range of services available to patients in the smaller hospitals. I look forward to continuing to support Tallaght hospital in improving outcomes for patients.

In relation to the Deputy's question regarding the implementation of the recommendations of HIQA, the responsibility for implementing the recommendations rests with the Chief Executive Officer of the hospital and the Director General Designate of the HSE with oversight from my Department. In line with established HSE policy on the receipt and implementation of major reports, the HSE established an Implementation Oversight Group with appropriate chairmanship and membership to progress the Report’s recommendations relating to Tallaght hospital and nationally. In recognition of the importance attached to the reports recommendations, the HSE National Operational Plan for 2013 includes a specific commitment to the Reports continued implementation. This is being reinforced through the supporting Regional Service Plans and Service Arrangements with voluntary providers.