Hospital Accommodation Provision

Questions (246)

Finian McGrath

Question:

246. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health if he will support a new cystic fibrosis 13-bed unit at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin and if he would make it a priority for 2013. [35573/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

This Government is acutely aware of the challenges that people with cystic fibrosis and their families face in managing their condition and I acknowledge the need to ensure that patients with cystic fibrosis receive the right care at the right time and in the right environment – that is, dedicated accommodation in an environment which allows appropriate isolation for improved infection control. There have been a number of developments in this area in recent years including a new purpose-built dedicated Ambulatory Outpatient facility at Beaumont for patients with Cystic Fibrosis which opened in 2010/2011. Other developments in recent years include the provision of specialist adult and paediatric centres at a number of hospitals and screening of newborns for cystic fibrosis, which was introduced in July 2011. Babies diagnosed through newborn screening have improved nutrition, improved lung function, fewer admissions to hospital, require fewer antibiotics and have improved survival rates.

The work of the National Clinical Programme for Cystic Fibrosis will provide the framework for a national standardised approach to care across the health system, with a continued emphasis on ensuring the delivery of safe, effective, high quality care. It is one of a number of Clinical Programmes which overall have three main objectives – to improve the quality of care, to improve access and to improve cost-effectiveness.

In relation to the specific query raised by the Deputy, I have referred the matter to the HSE and asked that it reply directly to him.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (247)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

247. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35574/13]

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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 issued to Oireachtas Members.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (248)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

248. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35575/13]

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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 issued to Oireachtas Members.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (249)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

249. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35591/13]

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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 issued to Oireachtas Members.

Hospital Appointment Status

Questions (250)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

250. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a hospital appointment in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35592/13]

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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 been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

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

Medical Card Applications

Questions (251)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

251. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35593/13]

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 issued to Oireachtas Members.

Water Fluoridation

Questions (252)

Michael McCarthy

Question:

252. Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to concerns raised regrading the presence of fluoride in water here; the studies that have been conducted in the past two decades on the dental benefits of this process and potential negative effects of same; and the subsequent cost of each study. [35707/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Water fluoridation is the adjustment of a naturally occurring element found in water in order to prevent tooth decay. The benefits of water fluoridation, one of the most widely studied public health policy initiatives in the world, are long established. The Irish Expert Body on Fluorides and Health, established in 2004, monitors new and emerging issues on fluoride and its effects. It advises that the balance of scientific evidence worldwide confirms that water fluoridation, at the optimal level, does not cause any ill effects and is the safest and most cost effective method of protecting the oral health of the population. The opinion of the Expert Body is supported by the World Health Organisation and by major international scientifically validated reviews.

There have been a number of relevant WHO documents, notably "Fluorides and Human Health", Monograph Series 59 (1970), WHO Geneva; "Fluorides and Oral Health", Technical Report Series No. 846 (1994), WHO Geneva; and "Environmental Health Criteria 227 FLUORIDES", (2002), WHO Geneva. More recently, the Department of Health contributed to the review by the EU Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER, 2011) of any new evidence on the hazard profile, health effects, and human exposure to fluoride and the fluoridating agents of drinking water.

National and regional oral health surveys show a substantial benefit of fluoridation in terms of a reduction in tooth decay.  The only known side effect is dental fluorosis. This is a cosmetic or aesthetic condition which refers to the way teeth look; it is not considered to be an adverse health effect. Following publication of the report of the Forum on Fluoridation in 2002 and on the advice of the Expert Body on the findings of the report, revised Regulations were introduced in 2007, reducing the level of fluoride in piped public water supplies from a range of 0.8 to 1.0 parts per million (ppm) to a range of 0.6 to 0.8 ppm. At the levels at which fluoride is present in Ireland's water supplies any occurrence of dental fluorosis is very mild or mild and in most cases only detectable by a dentist as faint white flecks on the surface of teeth.

The National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI) conducted a study into cross-border rates of osteosarcoma (Comber et al, 2011) as a result of concerns raised in the United States regarding the plausibility of a link between this condition and fluoride exposure. This study did not show any difference in disease rates between fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities. This study was undertaken as part of the NCRI's work in analysing information relating to the incidence and prevalence of cancer and related tumours in Ireland and was funded from its own resources. Since the study was published, definitive results from two major studies in the United States has shown no association between fluoride exposure and osteosarcoma (Kim et al 2011, and Levy et al 2012).

The effects of fluoridation on health and related matters are kept under constant review.

Home Help Service Provision

Questions (253)

Kevin Humphreys

Question:

253. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Health if he will arrange for extra home help hours and additional respite to be granted to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 6W due to the demands of care and to avoid full-time institutional care; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35627/13]

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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.

Home Help Service Provision

Questions (254)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

254. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if an increase in home help hours can be accommodated for a person (details supplied) in County Meath who recently broke his or her hip and has significantly decreased mobility; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35638/13]

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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.