Tobacco Control Measures

Questions (255)

John Lyons

Question:

255. Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Health his plans to introduce plain or generic packaging for tobacco products; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35640/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Government approval was received on the 28th May 2013 to begin the process of introducing standardised/plain packaging of tobacco products in Ireland. My Department is currently establishing a High Level Implementation Group to oversee the implementation of a project plan and ensure that the legislation is effective in meeting the stated objectives of plain packaging.

Plain packaging, also known as generic packaging means that all forms of branding – trademarks, logos, colours and graphics – would be removed, except for the brand name, which would be presented in a uniform typeface for all brands on the market. All packs would be in a plain neutral colour, except for the mandatory health warnings. The objective is to make all tobacco packs look less attractive to consumers and to make health warnings more prominent.

Research shows that plain packaging will:

- Increase the noticeability, recall and impact of health warning messages;

- Reduce the ability of packaging to mislead consumers to believe that some products may be less harmful than others; and

- Reduce the attractiveness of the tobacco product, for both adults and children.

Government policy in relation to smoking is to promote and subsequently move toward a tobacco free society. Standardised packaging is one of a number of measures which will be implemented in order to reduce smoking in our society. This legislative proposal, along with a number of other measures, is set out in the policy document Tobacco Free Ireland which was approved by Government yesterday and will be published in September.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (256)

Finian McGrath

Question:

256. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health if he will support and meet a group (details supplied) in County Galway. [35644/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I recognise the importance of life-skills training and day services to young people with disabilities who are leaving the education system and every effort is being made within available resources to provide services to all 2013 school-leavers. Service providers and the HSE are working closely together to identify how the needs of those individuals who require day services or training places in 2013 can be responded to within available resources and I have asked the Health Service Executive (HSE) to keep me informed of progress in that regard on an ongoing basis.

Although the 2013 allocation for disability services has been reduced by 1.2%, the Health Service Executive (HSE) National Service Plan includes an additional €4m to provide training places and day services for school-leavers and Rehabilitative/Lifeskills Training (RT) graduates in 2013. This funding has been allocated to each HSE Region based on its percentage of population:

HSE Region

Percentage

Amount

HSE South

25.59%

€1,023,600

HSE West

23.31%

€932,400

HSE DNE

22.72%

€908,800

HSE DML

28.38%

€1,135,200

Both the voluntary sector and the HSE are committed to the best use of the funding in a creative and flexible manner so as to secure as many places as possible for this cohort.

The demand for services for school-leavers continues to grow. In 2012 approximately 700 young people required new placements and this year the HSE has reported that there has been a substantial increase in the number of young people who have finished their education or life-skills training and who require a health-funded service in 2013. Providing the level of services required within the additional funding provided will continue to be a challenge in all regions of the country. Work in this area is being progressed largely in line with the HSE guidance document developed in 2012, which led to the successful placement of 99% of RT graduates and 96% of school leavers last year. The HSE has informed me that the current position is that 81% of school leavers and 75% of RT graduates nationally have now been allocated a placement. A communication process to inform families of the services that will be available from September 2013 is currently under way.

Requests to meet my colleague Minister Reilly are arranged through his Office. Accordingly I would suggest a representative of the group in question should make contact with the Minister's Office at ministers_office@health.gov.ie.

Home Help Service Provision

Questions (257)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

257. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if he will confirm if it is standard policy of Health Service Executive officials administrating home help hours to encourage patients in receipt of ten hours of home help per week, who request additional time, to avail of long-term residential care; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35651/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Domestic Violence Policy

Questions (258)

Gerry Adams

Question:

258. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the funding allocated by him to services aimed at tackling domestic violence in County Louth, including women’s refuges; the funding for these services in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013. [35652/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

In 2010 the National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence was published. It aims to provide a framework for sustainable intervention to prevent and effectively respond to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence and is lead by Cosc which is the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence.

The HSE subsequently published its own Policy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence. The principal actions are in line with the National Strategy. The HSE’s policy states that a health-focused analysis of violence is crucial, not only because the consequences of such violence require a significant amount of health care system resources, but most importantly because the health care system is often the first route through which victims seek to access supports.

Nationally the HSE funds 42 front-line domestic violence service providers. 20 of these provide refuge accommodation and this number has risen from 15 since 2000. The services provide a wide range of supports such as crisis refuge, advocacy and counselling and were funded to the amount of €13.465 Million in 2012.

In relation to the specific issue raised by the Deputy, as this is a service issue it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Dental Services Provision

Questions (259)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

259. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a hospital appointment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35660/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Dental services to children up to 16 years are provided by the Public Dental Service of the HSE. The service is targeted at children at key stages in their development. Children are given dental examinations and any follow-up treatment required at these stages. When required, emergency dental treatment is available to all children up to 16 years. The HSE has been asked to examine the specific query raised by the Deputy and to reply to him as soon as possible.

Medical Card Reviews

Questions (260)

Tom Fleming

Question:

260. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health if he will expedite a medical card review application in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Kerry. [35663/13]

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.

Care of the Elderly

Questions (261)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

261. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Health his plans to establish a register of those who provide private health care to the elderly; his further plans to have those facilities inspected on a regular basis by an independent agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35669/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question Number 524 of 18 June 2013. The position remains unchanged.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Appeals

Questions (262, 264)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

262. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health if he is satisfied with the current framework for negotiations between the National Treatment Purchase Fund and proprietors of nursing homes, under the nursing home support scheme, for the provision of long-term residential care services, in particular that the current framework adequately acknowledges the cost to service providers of providing high quality care and the need to support ongoing investment to meet the increase in demand for long-term residential care. [35693/13]

View answer

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

264. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health his plans to reform the process underpinning the negotiations between the National Treatment Purchase Fund and proprietors of nursing homes under the nursing home support scheme for the provision of long-term residential care services to increase transparency in the process, to potentially introduce an appeals mechanism in the process and to deal with situations where negotiations between the NTPF and proprietors break down; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35695/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 262 and 264 together.

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question Number 676 of the 28th May 2013.

Care of the Elderly

Questions (263)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

263. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health his plans to establish a forum on long-term residential care bringing key stakeholder together to plan for the ongoing and future residential care needs of the growing aging population here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35694/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question Number 674 of the 28th May 2013.