Departmental Contracts

Questions (225)

Seán Fleming

Question:

225. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health the value of contracts with a company (details supplied) whose address is located in the British Virgin Islands; the nature of the work carried out under this contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21715/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to investigate the situation and respond directly to the Deputy.

Pharmacy Regulations

Questions (226)

Robert Troy

Question:

226. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if pharmacists are covered under the remit of the Ombudsman; and if not, his plans to extend the Ombudsman's remit to cover such complaints [21721/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI), an independent statutory body established by the Pharmacy Act 2007, is accountable for the effective regulation of pharmacists and pharmacy services in Ireland, including responsibility for supervising compliance with the Act and the accreditation of pharmacy education and training programmes.

As provided for under the Ombudsman (Amendment) Act 2012, the PSI is covered under the Ombudsman Acts 1980 to 2012 in so far as the complaint relates to action taken by the PSI, after the 1st of May 2013, in the performance of its administrative functions relating to the establishment and maintenance of registers of pharmacists, pharmaceutical assistants and retail pharmacy businesses under the Pharmacy Act 2007 and to its role as the competent authority for the purposes of the mutual recognition of relevant qualifications obtained in or recognised by a Member State.

Accordingly, an applicant for registration or continuing registration who is dissatisfied with the manner in which his/her application has been processed, after first trying and failing to resolve his/her complaint with the PSI, may then refer the matter to the Ombudsman. Details are available on the PSI website at the following link: http://www.thepsi.ie/gns/registration/Registration_Complaints_Procedure.aspx

The Ombudsman's remit with regard to the functions of the PSI is in line with the Ombudsman's remit in relation to the other health professional regulatory bodies.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

Questions (227)

John Paul Phelan

Question:

227. Deputy John Paul Phelan asked the Minister for Health in relation to the suspension of funding for the national home support scheme, when same will be resumed in the Kilkenny/Carlow area where elderly persons currently being cared for in St. Luke's Hospital are awaiting funding in order to take up places in nursing homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21729/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE is responsible for the operation and administration of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme. The HSE temporarily suspended the chronological operation of the placement list in order to alleviate pressures in Emergency Departments in the hospitals most affected with the highest number of delayed discharges. The HSE will re-commence the operation of the chronological placement list with effect from 9th May, 2013.

Hospital Appointment Delays

Questions (228)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

228. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health when an appointment for an MRI scan will become available for a person (details supplied) who requires extensive surgery; if he will provide details of the current MRI waiting times for public patients at this hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21734/13]

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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.

Hospital Appointment Status

Questions (229, 230, 231, 232)

John O'Mahony

Question:

229. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health the plans he has to deal with persons not turning up for out patients appointments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21745/13]

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John O'Mahony

Question:

230. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health the number of persons who did not show up for outpatients' appointments at Galway University Hospital in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21746/13]

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John O'Mahony

Question:

231. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health the number of persons who did not show up for outpatients' appointments at Mayo General Hospital in 2009, 2010, 2011 and to date in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21748/13]

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John O'Mahony

Question:

232. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health the number of persons who did not show up for outpatients' appointments at Mayo General Hospital in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21749/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 229 to 232, inclusive, together.

Tackling outpatient waiting lists is the next priority for the Special Delivery Unit set up by the Minister to unblock access to our acute hospitals. The target for 2013 is that no-one should be waiting longer than a year for an outpatient appointment. An Outpatient Reform Programme is underway with the SDU, the HSE Outpatient Reform Team and the HSE Clinical Programmes. This is the overarching programme that is looking at the structure and operation of clinics. Implementation of this programme will ensure a sustainable low wait environment for outpatient services and prevent the build-up of long waiters.

In relation to the particular queries raised by the Deputy, I have asked the Health Service Executive to investigate the situation and respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.