Foster Care Provision

Questions (548)

Finian McGrath

Question:

548. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health the position regarding foster care or a residential place in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [30086/13]

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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.

Health Services Provision

Questions (549)

Seán Fleming

Question:

549. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health when an appointment for physiotherapy will be approved for a person (details supplied) in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30095/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Staff Recruitment

Questions (550)

Ciara Conway

Question:

550. Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Health when he intends to fill posts related to areas of diabetes care in Waterford Regional Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30111/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The National Integrated Care Diabetes Programme is being implemented on a phased basis. The programme will improve patient access and manage patient care in an integrated manner across service settings, resulting in better outcomes, enhanced clinical decision making and the most effective use of resources.

The Government has approved funding for the appointment of 17 Integrated Care Diabetes Nurse Specialists (one per HSE Integrated Service Area) to support the phased roll-out of the programme. These Diabetes Nurse Specialists will work 1 day per week in a hospital setting and 4 days per week in primary care. They will play a key role in the development of clinically sound collaborative links between primary care and secondary care providers and will also be an essential resource in empowering patients to achieve optimum diabetes control. It is anticipated that all 17 positions will be filled soon.

Funding has also been secured to appoint 16 podiatrists and a number of these posts have been filled. Recruitment for the remaining posts is underway and the aim is to have them filled as soon as possible in 2013.

In relation to the issue raised by the Deputy about nursing supports in a specific area, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Ambulance Service Provision

Questions (551)

Derek Keating

Question:

551. Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Health if he is satisfied that there is an adequate ambulance service in the greater Dublin area to respond to emergency calls, general practitioner requests for patients' admissions, transfers from hospital to hospital and particularly cardiac response units; his plans to address any shortfall; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30112/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Statutory pre-hospital emergency care services for the State are provided by the HSE National Ambulance Service (NAS) and, on behalf of the NAS in the greater Dublin area, Dublin Fire Brigade.

A significant reform programme has been underway in recent years in pre-hospital care services across the country, including the greater Dublin area, for the development of a clinically driven, nationally co-ordinated system, supported by improved technology. The programme involves a number of measures, including the performance improvement action plan, development of the intermediate care service (ICS), the pilot emergency aeromedical support service (EAS), and the national control centre reconfiguration project.

The NAS is taking steps to address challenges nationally, such as reliance on on-call rostering, geography, resourcing and the use of emergency ambulances for routine transport. The move from on-call to on-duty rostering for ambulance services is a key part of improving the service, as highly trained paramedic crews are in their stations or vehicles to respond immediately to dispatches. New rosters are now in place, including in the greater Dublin area, and are operating successfully. The NAS is also developing the ICS, a non-emergency transport fleet, for routine clinical transfers of patients, freeing emergency ambulances for emergency responses.

The national control centre reconfiguration project will produce one national control and dispatching system. With improved technology, this will allow the NAS to deploy emergency resources, including those in Dublin, more effectively and efficiently, on a regional and national basis rather than within small geographic areas. The project, endorsed by HIQA, is a key element of Future Health. Ambulance services in the greater Dublin area and elsewhere will be reviewed as part of this project.

In relation to the specific queries raised by the Deputy regarding ambulance services in the greater Dublin area, as these are operational issues for the HSE I have asked the HSE to reply directly to the Deputy.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (552)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

552. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health his plans to make medical cards available to all children suffering with cancer; if he will outline the current position; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30121/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the provisions of the Health Act 1970, the assessment for a medical card is determined primarily by reference to the means, including the income and expenditure, of the applicant and his or her partner and dependants. There is no automatic entitlement to a medical card for persons with a specific illness, such as cancer.

However, under the legislation, there is provision for discretion by the HSE to grant a medical card where a person's income exceeds the income guidelines. The HSE takes a person's social and medical issues into account in determining whether or not "undue hardship" exists for a person in providing a health service for themselves or their dependants.

The HSE has an effective system in place for the provision of emergency medical cards for patients who are terminally ill, or who are seriously ill and in urgent need of medical care that they cannot afford. They are issued within twenty-four hours of receipt of the required patient details and the letter of confirmation of the condition from a doctor or a medical consultant. With the exception of terminally ill patients, the HSE issues all emergency cards on the basis that the patient is eligible for a medical card on the basis of means or undue hardship, and that the applicant will follow up with a full application within a number of weeks of receiving the emergency card. As a result, emergency medical cards are issued to a named individual, with a limited eligibility period of six months.

For persons with a terminal illness, no means test applies. Once the terminal illness is verified, patients are given an emergency medical card for six months. Given the nature and urgency of the issue, the HSE has appropriate escalation routes to ensure that the person gets the card as quickly as possible.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (553)

Finian McGrath

Question:

553. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health if the Central Remedial Clinic in Clontarf, Dublin 3, or the Health Service Executive have a residential unit for young persons with a disability who are in a crisis family situation. [30131/13]

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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 Aids and Appliances Provision

Questions (554)

Tom Fleming

Question:

554. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health if he will examine the referral for orthotic shoes in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry, in view of the fact that the person is priority one on the waiting list; if he will expedite the case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30148/13]

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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.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Applications

Questions (555)

Helen McEntee

Question:

555. Deputy Helen McEntee asked the Minister for Health the reason for the delay in reverting to applicants for fair deal assistance (details supplied). [30151/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Questions (556)

Derek Keating

Question:

556. Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Health if he will ensure that a person (details supplied) in County Clare will be supplied with a hearing aid as a matter of urgency. [30156/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive Community Audiology service administers and monitors hearing tests for adults who are at risk for hearing loss and prescribes hearing aids as required. Appointments for the audiology service are sent in a strict chronology according to clinical priorities and date of receipt of referral.

The HSE has been asked to examine the specific query raised by the Deputy and to reply to him as soon as possible.

Departmental Schemes

Questions (557)

Arthur Spring

Question:

557. Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Health the current processing time for community ophthalmic scheme forms; his views on whether the current practice of returning forms to the patient and not to the medical practice is practical and time efficient; if this current practice will be changed following a review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30167/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The processing of optical forms is carried out by the HSE through Local Health Offices and Primary Care Units around the country. The current processing time for optical forms is approximately two working weeks. In some areas this may take longer due to resource constraints. However, every effort is made to process the forms within an appropriate time frame, which according to the agreement with the Ophthalmic representative bodies, is within one month.

There are no plans to change the practice of returning forms to the patient, which gives patients greater flexibility in choosing service providers. Although patients may originally seek the services of one optician they can decide to change providers prior to authorisation. A patient, for example, may choose the same provider for the eye examination and dispensing or choose two different providers. They may apply to their local area for authorisation for services from any ophthalmologist/optometrist/optician contracted to the HSE. The application form, once approved, can be taken to the eligible patient's selected optician/optometrist/ophthalmologist within 90 days.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (558)

Tom Fleming

Question:

558. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health when a decision will issue on a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30169/13]

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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.

Speech and Language Therapy

Questions (559)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

559. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a Health Service Executive recommendation of speech and language therapy for a young child (details supplied) in Dublin 7 will not be implemented for at least one year due to a waiting list for such therapy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30172/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is fully committed to protecting frontline services, including services for children with disabilities, to the greatest extent possible, notwithstanding the financial constraints which the health sector must operate within. Significant resources have been invested by the health sector in recent years in services for children with disabilities. In particular, there is now an increased awareness of the importance of early intervention for these children in terms of ensuring they get the best start in life and are supported as much as possible to reach their full potential.

With regards to the HSE's Speech and Language Therapy Service, I understand that each individual that presents to the Service has an initial assessment to determine their individual need for therapy. The therapist, in conjunction with the parent(s) or carer, will determine the severity of the individual’s difficulties and prioritise for therapy accordingly. The level of intervention is in line with clinic policy, age and severity of the diagnosis. The waiting period for intervention is dependent on the nature and severity of the disorder following assessment.

The HSE aims to ensure that the resources available are used to best effect, in order to provide assessment and ongoing therapy to children and adults in line with their prioritised needs. Along with the significant investment in area of speech and language therapists employed in recent years, a range of new approaches have been developed and used in many Speech and Language Therapy services across the country. These include providing structures, training and support to parents /carers so that they can work to help improve the individual’s speech and language. In addition, therapy is delivered in group settings where appropriate.

The HSE has stated that it is committed to working in partnership with other service providers to achieve maximum benefits for children and adults with speech and language therapy requirements, and aims to ensure that the speech and language therapy resources available are used in the most effective manner possible.

The particular issue raised by the Deputy relates to an individual case and, as such, 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 Eligibility

Questions (560)

Finian McGrath

Question:

560. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health the rules governing the entitlements of Irish citizens under EU regulations, in relation to an over 70 years medical card, when they were previously entitled to the medical card equivalent from the Health Authority in another EU Member State. [30173/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

EU Regulation 883/04 provides for and supports the movement of people within the European Union/European Economic Area and Switzerland. Under this regulation, if a person aged 70 years and over is not entitled to a contributory social insurance payment (e.g. pension) from Ireland and is in receipt of a contributory pension from another/or multiple other EU states, excluding Ireland, they can apply for a medical card to be granted under the Regulation if they return to live in Ireland.

Hospital Staff Recruitment

Questions (561)

Ciara Conway

Question:

561. Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Health when he intends to fill posts related to areas of diabetes care in Waterford Regional Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30182/13]

View answer

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.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (562)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

562. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health the reason the Health Service Executive has failed to deal with a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12. [30187/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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, which has recently been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists. The management of inpatient and day case waiting lists for patients awaiting public health care is based on the principle that after urgent and cancer patients are treated, then clinically assessed routine patients should be seen in chronological order (i.e. longest waiter first).

Should the patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition warrants an earlier appointment, he/she would be in the best position to take the matter up with the consultant and hospital involved.

In relation to the specific query raised by the Deputy regarding a surgical procedure for an individual patient, as this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (563)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

563. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health the reason a medical card was refused in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12. [30192/13]

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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.

Long-Term Illness Scheme Coverage

Questions (564, 607, 624)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

564. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health if he will consider adding Aicardi syndrome as one of the conditions that qualify for a long-term illness card due to the severity of the condition. [30193/13]

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Jim Daly

Question:

607. Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Health if the condition Achondroplasia is recognised on the long-term illness scheme which qualifies persons with the condition for a medical card under medical grounds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30670/13]

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Eoghan Murphy

Question:

624. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Health if he is considering categorising Addison’s disease as an illness under the long-term illness scheme. [30745/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 564, 607 and 624 together.

There are no plans to extend the list of conditions covered by the Long Term Illness scheme. Under the Drug Payment Scheme, no individual or family pays more than €144 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme significantly reduces the cost burden for families and individuals incurring ongoing expenditure on medicines. In addition, people who cannot, without undue hardship, arrange for the provision of medical services for themselves and their dependants may be entitled to a medical card. In the assessment process, the Health Service Executive can take into account medical costs incurred by an individual or a family. Those who are not eligible for a medical card may still be able to avail of a GP visit card, which covers the cost of GP consultations.

Care of the Elderly

Questions (565)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

565. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if he will address queries raised in correspondence (details supplied) regarding the national quality standards for residential care settings for older persons. [30197/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the Health Act 2007, statutory responsibility is given to the Health Information and Quality Authority's Chief Inspector of Social Services for the independent inspection and registration of all nursing homes, private and public. This responsibility is underpinned by a comprehensive regulatory framework and the National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland. All nursing homes are subject to the same core standards and regulations in relation to quality and safety in order to ensure the well-being of their residents. HIQA is statutorily independent in this context.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (566)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

566. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Health the reason an appeal for a general practitioners visit card was refused in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30199/13]

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. 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.