Health Services Issues

Questions (216)

Finian McGrath

Question:

216. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health the reason for the delay in the case of a person (details supplied) regarding a complaint. [29551/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I understand that the HSE is carrying out an Internal Review of Mr Kennedy's case and that this process is expected to be concluded by the end of next month.

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.

An Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann

Questions (217)

Gerry Adams

Question:

217. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the reason the name of An Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann has been changed; the reasons for such a change; if there was any consultation with members regarding the name change; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29566/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

An Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann was changed from An Bord Altranais following the introduction of the Nurses and Midwives Act, 2011, to inter alia, give full recognition to midwifery as a separate profession.

Hospital Appointment Status

Questions (218)

Pat Deering

Question:

218. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a hospital appointment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will expedite a reply. [29575/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Improving access to outpatient services is a key priority for the Government. Collaborating with individual hospitals, the SDU together with the NTPF and the HSE have developed the OP waiting list minimum dataset that allows for data to be submitted to the NTPF from hospitals on a weekly basis and, for the first time, outpatient data is available on www.ntpf.ie. For 2013, a maximum waiting time target has been set of 12 months for a first time consultant led outpatient appointment and this is reflected in the HSE service plan. The SDU/NTPF will work closely with hospitals towards achievement of the maximum waiting time.

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.

Data Retention

Questions (219)

Simon Harris

Question:

219. Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Health the steps being taken to ensure the continued preservation of guthrie cards that have the potential to provide a life-saving genetic diagnosis to at-risk family members of young sudden cardiac death victims following his decision to halt the destruction of the cards last March; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29581/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In the wake of mounting concern from a range of respected bodies about the potential value into the future of the loss of the material, and in the context of low public awareness of the issue, I requested that no destruction of the cards takes place pending legal advice from the Attorney General prior to further consideration on how to archive the material in a manner that satisfies the concerns of the Data Protection Commissioner.

Health Services Provision

Questions (220)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

220. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Health if he will ensure that funding is put in place to ensure that the Health Service Executive Chiropody Service will reinstate the provision of a further three chiropody visits on medical grounds, on top of the initial three visits, for patients who have an acute need in this regards; his views on whether this cut will not lead to financial savings as it will put further pressure on hospital services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29586/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Community chiropody is a discretionary service, which the Health Service Executive endeavours to provide on a prioritised basis based on medical need and within the context of available resources. The services are provided by chiropodists/podiatrists employed by the HSE, chiropodists/podiatrists contracted under the GMS Scheme and through grant-aided voluntary agencies. In the past when budgets permitted, additional discretionary visits were sometimes available in areas where the service was provided by chiropodists/podiatrists contracted under the GMS scheme. Given the current position of the public finances, it is not possible to continue providing such additional services. The HSE will continue to monitor the provision of chiropody services to ensure the most beneficial, effective and efficient use of available resources.

Medicinal Products Availability

Questions (221)

Dara Calleary

Question:

221. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health if he will reconsider the decision not to allow patients with Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis access to the drug pirfenidone; his views on whether it is unfair to disallow access to the drug on a purely economic basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29590/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE has received an application for the inclusion of pirfenidone in the GMS and community drugs schemes. The application is being considered in line with the procedures and timescales agreed last year by the Department of Health and the HSE with the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) for the assessment of new medicines. In accordance with these procedures, the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE) conducted a pharmacoeconomic evaluation of pirfenidone and concluded that, at the submitted price, pirfenidone is not cost-effective for the treatment of patients with mild to moderate idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The report is available on the NCPE's website (www.ncpe.ie). The NCPE report is an important input to assist decision making and informs further discussions between the HSE and the manufacturer of the drug.

The HSE has had negotiations with Intermune (the manufacturer of pirfenidone) in relation to the pricing of pirfenidone and is examining an offer made by Intermune. The offer will be assessed in the context of the procedures for the assessment of new medicines as per the 2012 agreement between IPHA, the HSE and the Department of Health.

The HSE is carefully considering all the issues which arise in relation to the proposed benefits and costs of this medicine and expects to reach a decision in the near future.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (222)

James Bannon

Question:

222. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) in County Leitrim was only granted a general practitioner visit card rather than a full medical card, despite the fact that they have a long term illness; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29599/13]

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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.