Hospital Appointment Delays

Questions (586)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

586. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if he will expedite a hospital appointment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30319/13]

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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. 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 issue, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (587)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

587. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the number of persons currently waiting to have cataract operations carried out at Cork University Hospital; the length of time they have been waiting for these operations; the proposals that are in place to speed up and enhance the service in CUH regarding the removal of cataracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30321/13]

View answer

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. 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 queries raised by the Deputy, as they are service matters, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Complaints Procedures

Question No. 589 answered with Question No. 82.

Questions (588)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

588. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding the treatment of a person at Cork University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30322/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE has a well established procedure for managing feedback and complaints in relation to experiences of individuals and their families in our hospitals. The details of the formal complaints policy are available on the HSE website, at www.hse.ie/eng/services/ysys/Complaint. In addition, advice and instructions for making complaints and feedback about a service or an individual may be found at www.healthcomplaints.ie. In accordance with this procedure, a complaint must be made in the first instance to the hospital in which the incident causing the complaint occurred.

The HSE also has a National Advocacy Unit. Their role includes promoting clear communication between health care providers and patients following an adverse event in health services, and mediation and facilitation for complaints handling. The Advocacy Unit also has a national role in liaising with the Office of the Ombudsman. If an individual is not satisfied with the way their complaint was dealt with, a review can be sought from the HSE Director of Advocacy whose details are as follows: HSE Director of Advocacy, Oak House, Millennium Park, Naas,Co Kildare - Tel 1890 424 555. If an individual is not happy with the outcome of the review they may request an independent review from the Office of the Ombudsman or Ombudsman for Children, whose details are as follows: Office of the Ombudsman, 18, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2, Tel 1890 223 030, Email: ombudsman@ombudsman.gov.ie.

In relation to this specific query, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly regarding the assistance that their National Advocacy Service may be in a position to provide.

Question No. 589 answered with Question No. 82.

Hospital Services

Questions (590)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

590. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health if he will provide a yearly breakdown for the past five years in relation to a hospital (details supplied) in County Donegal; the budgets allocated; the staffing levels and the subsequent allocation of this staff; the number of patient admissions that have been catered for; the number of operational beds; the number of retirements that have taken place; the number of these that have been replaced; the details of capital expenditure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30326/13]

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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.

Topical Issue Debate

Question No. 592 answered with Question No. 579.

Questions (591)

Micheál Martin

Question:

591. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health the number of Dáil Topical Issue debates submitted to his Department following selection by the Ceann Comhairle since March 2011; the number of Topical Issues taken directly by him; the number of Topical Issues taken by a junior Minister in his Department; the number of issues taken by a Minister not from his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30343/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

A total of 216 Dáil Topical Issue/Adjournment Debates speeches were delivered by my Department since March 2011. Every effort is made to ensure that debates are taken by either myself or one of the Ministers of State in my Department. However the Deputy will appreciate that circumstances will sometimes arise where it may not be possible for either myself or another Minister from my Department to be present to take a debate. Where situations such as these arise I am grateful for the assistance provided by other Ministers in taking the relevant debate.

The detailed information sought by the Deputy is set out in the following table.

Debate taken by

Number/Percentage of debates taken

Minister Reilly

31 (15% of total)

Minister Lynch

67 (31% of total)

Minister Shortall

39 (18% of total. Minister Shortall resigned on 26th September 2012)

Minister White

18 (8% of total)

Other Ministers

61 (28% of total)

Question No. 592 answered with Question No. 579.

Hospital Appointment Status

Questions (593)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

593. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if a date for an operation will be provided to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry without further delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30512/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The management of inpatient and daycase 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, as this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Ambulance Service Provision

Questions (594)

Tom Fleming

Question:

594. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Questions No. 690 of 12 February 2013 and No. 623 of 14 May 2013, if he will provide a detailed progress report on the Kenmare and south Kerry ambulance service; if he will ensure that the Kenmare Ambulance Service, County Kerry, is not downgraded; if he will provide a progress report on the meetings between the local communities in Kenmare and surrounding areas, all interested parties and the Health Service Executive/National Ambulance Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30518/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy was informed by the Health Service Executive on 14 May 2013, the National Ambulance Service (NAS) is not aware of any proposals to implement cutbacks in services in Kerry. The HSE is currently considering the most appropriate model of service delivery for South Kerry, to replace the current on-call, static deployment model and the operation of resources in isolation. No decisions have so far been made and a number of matters need to be progressed before deliberations in relation to South Kerry can be finalised. These include public, staff and clinical (including GP) consultations, continuing national reconfiguration of the control and dispatch system and the ongoing roll-out of the intermediate care service for inter-facility patient transport in the region. A final model will emerge once this process is completed.

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

General Medical Services Scheme Administration

Question No. 596 answered with Question No. 82.

Questions (595)

Derek Nolan

Question:

595. Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Health if he will revisit the possibility of having new medical stoma appliances and accessories made available through the GMS; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30524/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

There is a range of stoma requirements on the List of Reimbursable Items under the General Medical Services (GMS) Scheme. Furthermore, where a product that is not on the List of Reimbursable Items is required, an application can be made by a GMS-eligible person for the product to be made available through discretionary hardship arrangements.

It is intended that the HSE's review (on a sequential basis) of the Non Drug Area will proceed to the Ostomy/Colostomy area later this year as resources allow.

Question No. 596 answered with Question No. 82.

Ministerial Transport

Questions (597)

Niall Collins

Question:

597. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the total cost of ministerial transport in his Department in 2010, 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013; the number of drivers employed in each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30555/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Minister for Health and the Ministers of State are all required to use their own cars. The total cost of Ministerial transport in my Department since 2010 and the number of drivers employed is detailed in the tables following.

Total cost of Ministerial Transport

2010

2011

2012

To date in 2013

€241,154.36

€243,132.40

€239,439.41

€156,154.56

Number of drivers employed

2010

2011

2012

To date in 2013

4

8

6

6

My Department was not responsible for paying the cost of Garda drivers and State cars etc. under previous arrangements in place in 2010. However, on 25th April 2012 my colleague, Mr Noonan, T.D., Minister for Finance, in response to a Parliamentary Question, indicated that the average cost of transport for Ministers under that previous arrangement was €280,000 per annum per Minister. This appears to be significantly more expensive than current arrangements.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (598)

Niall Collins

Question:

598. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the total costs of photography incurred by his Department in 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013, in tabular form, per event. [30571/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Information on the cost of photography incurred by my Department for the period 2011 to February 2012 is set out in the following table. Information for the period March 2012 to June 2013 will be collated and forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Occasion for which photography was booked

Costs

2nd National Patient Safety Conference - 9th February 2012

€317.80

Launch of European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012

No cost to the Department (costs will be paid for by a communications company engaged by the European Commission)

Seminar: Parental Substance Misuse – Addressing its Impact on Children. A review of the Literature. October 2011

€800.18

Total Cost

€1,117.98

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (599)

Niall Collins

Question:

599. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the details and costs of any newspaper supplements his Department has been involved with in 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013. [30587/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

It is not altogether clear from the text of the Deputy's question precisely what information is being sought. However my Department will attempt to clarify this and will forward the relevant information to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (600)

John Lyons

Question:

600. Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Health the cases in which his Department covers the cost of the translation of documents from other languages; the amount this practice will cost his Department in 2013 and has cost his Department in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30614/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Most document translation work carried out by my Department is in relation to translation from English to Irish in accordance with the provisions of the Official Languages Act 2003. For the period 2007 to July 2012 the total expenditure for my Department on providing services through the Irish language was €276,664. Details in this regard for the period July 2012 to June 2013 together with information regarding the translation of documents in languages other than English or Irish will be collated and forwarded as soon as possible.

Health Services Provision

Questions (601)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

601. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Health his plans to include the National Asthma Programme in the upcoming Health Services Executive Service Plan for 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30622/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The National Clinical Programme for Asthma, which commenced in 2011, is one of a number of chronic disease programmes established in the HSE’s Clinical Care Directorate aimed at bringing a systematic approach to changes in how services for patients are delivered.

The HSE’s 2013 National Service Plan is a high level document which is underpinned by a detailed operational plan and four regional plans. Whereas the National Clinical Programme for Asthma is not mentioned in the National Service Plan, it is included in the Operational Plan. Implementation of the programme is ongoing and will continue in 2014. To date, different work streams of the National Clinical Programme for Asthma have resulted in the following initiatives:

- The preparation of a Model of Care – this is currently being finalised and will be sent for stakeholder consultation after 30th June 2013. The Model of Care cannot be completed until stakeholder responses have been received and considered.

- The establishment of Asthma Check (Chronic Disease Watch Asthma – structured review) – this has been submitted to the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) for review.

- The preparation of Acute Emergency Asthma Guidelines for Adults - this has been submitted to the National Clinical Effectiveness Committee (NCEC) for review and feedback.

- The preparation of Acute Emergency Asthma Guidelines for Paediatrics – these have been completed.

- Asthma Control in General Practice – these guidelines have been signed off by ICGP and are being implemented.

- Asthma Educational Programme – this is available online at www. hseland.ie.

- Practical workshops have been delivered locally by Clinical Nurse Specialists to nurses in Primary and Secondary Care.

Nurses and other health professionals have been enrolled in an asthma education module. This education module is based on the National Asthma guidelines. This supports healthcare staff in the delivery of evidenced based care and education for patients. In partnership with the Asthma Society, patient information documents have been developed to support this initiative.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Eligibility

Questions (602)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

602. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health if he will consider changing the Nursing Home Support Scheme Act 2009 to make provision for any dependent children the applicant may have; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30625/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The financial assessment for the Nursing Homes Support Scheme includes the following safeguards:

- Nobody will pay more than the actual cost of care.

- The first €36,000 for a person’s assets, or €72,000 for a couple, is not taken into account during the financial assessment.

- The principal residence is only included in the financial assessment for the first three years of a person’s time in care.

- Where an individual’s assets include land and property in the State, the contribution based on such assets may be deferred and collected from their estate. This is the optional Nursing Home Loan element of the Scheme.

- Individuals keep a personal allowance of 20% of their income, or 20% of the maximum rate of the State Pension (Non-contributory), whichever is the greater.

- Certain items of expenditure, called allowable deductions, can be taken into account during the financial assessment. These allowable deductions include health expenses, payments in respect of interest on monies borrowed for the purchase, repair or improvement of the principal residence or mortgage payments on the principal residence.

- There is a financial review mechanism which takes account of the fluctuating value of assets and the fact that cash assets will naturally deplete over time as payments are made to the nursing home etc.

When the Nursing Homes Support Scheme was introduced a commitment was made that it would be reviewed after three years. This review process is underway at present. The terms of reference for the review are:

Taking account of Government policy, demographic trends and the fiscal situation-

1. To examine the on-going sustainability of the Nursing Homes Support,

2. To examine the overall cost of long term residential care in public and private nursing homes and the effectiveness of the current methods of negotiating/setting prices,

3. Having regard to 1 and 2 above, to consider the balance of funding between long-term residential care and community based services,

4. To consider the extension of the scheme to community based services and to other sectors (Disability and Mental Health), and

5. To make recommendations for the future operation and management of the Scheme.

Work will continue on the review in the coming months with a view to completion by end 2013-early 2014.

As the Scheme is statutory based, the implementation of any recommendations arising from the review may require amendments to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act, 2009.

Mental Health Services Provision

Questions (603)

Gerry Adams

Question:

603. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the mental health facilities in County Louth; the number of staff employed in each; and the number of staff vacancies in each. [30631/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter this question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Mental Health Services Provision

Questions (604)

Gerry Adams

Question:

604. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the number of minors from County Louth treated by the Mental Health services in 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013; and the number that have been treated by the adult services as a result of a lack of places in the child and adolescent mental health services. [30632/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter this question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.