Question No. 282 answered with Question No. 272.

Cancer Screening Programmes

Questions (283)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

283. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the reason women, who may be in danger of developing breast cancer, have to wait 18 months for a proper diagnosis in many instances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26411/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer diagnosed in women in Ireland. The lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is 10% to 11% for the general population. Five to ten per cent of all breast cancers are explained by the presence of BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene mutations, which increases the lifetime risk to 60% to 80%.

The HSE’s National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) established a National Hereditary Cancer Programme in 2011 with the National Centre for Medical Genetics in Crumlin Hospital. There are two groups of women involved – those who have been diagnosed with cancer and those who have a family member who has been found to carry a gene mutation.

The NCCP has launched cancer genetic clinics in St James's and the Mater Hospitals in 2011 and 2012 respectively, with the addition of a new service in Cork University Hospital in 2013. The programme is primarily focussed on patients who have hereditary breast, ovarian and bowel cancer.

This has led to a 30% increase in the number of patients seen and assessed. In 2012 the clinics in St James’s and the Mater Hospitals have assessed and tested almost 200 women (with breast or ovarian cancer) for the BRCA gene mutation. This represents over a 100% increase in the number of women tested nationally, compared with 2011.

The NCCP has confirmed that there are waiting times for genetic testing for patients with suspected hereditary cancer mutations. This delay relates mainly to the need for genetic counselling prior to being tested, in order that women are fully informed of the implications of a positive test result. It is inappropriate to have the test without counselling.

The NCCP and the National Centre for Medical Genetics are continuing to work to ensure that the service is expanded to meet national needs. This improvement in access to counselling and genetic testing will reduce the current waiting times.

The NCCP will also work to implement the recommendations of the recent HIQA Report on Breast Cancer Surveillance, which outlined the potential benefits of a standardised surveillance programme for women aged less than 50 years at elevated risk of breast cancer due to a genetic predisposition or a strong family history.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Applications

Questions (284)

Jack Wall

Question:

284. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will receive confirmation of funding under the nursing home support scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26418/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Medical Card Drugs

Questions (285)

Billy Timmins

Question:

285. Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Health the position regarding medication not covered under the medical card in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26427/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE is responsible for the administration of the General Medical Services (GMS) Scheme, therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Health Services

Questions (286)

Denis Naughten

Question:

286. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health if he will request an immediate audit of staffing and services at a unit (details supplied) in view of recent incidents involving both staff and patients that give rise to serious concern; the steps that have been taken following these incidents to ensure both the safety of staff and patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26446/13]

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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.

Accident and Emergency Department Closures

Questions (287)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

287. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health his views regarding the proposed closure of the accident and emergency unit at Bantry Hospital, County Cork, from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m.; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26469/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to the particular query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service issue, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.

Dental Services Provision

Questions (288)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

288. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the reason a dentist is only available on Mondays and Tuesdays at Kerry General Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26471/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to the particular query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service issue, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.

Medical Card Data

Questions (289, 290)

John Deasy

Question:

289. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health the number of medical cards issued to persons by county in 2012. [26488/13]

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John Deasy

Question:

290. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health the number of general practitioner cards issued to persons by county in 2012. [26489/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 289 and 290 together.

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.

Health Services Access

Questions (291)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

291. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the extent to which diagnostic and support services are being made available to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 24; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26517/13]

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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.

Medical Card Reviews

Questions (292)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

292. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health when a medical card review will be concluded and updated in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26532/13]

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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.

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has recently reissued to Oireachtas members.