Departmental Staff Rehiring

Questions (273)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

273. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health the number of retired civil or public servants who have been retained by his Department, since January 2013, on short-term contracts or consultancy basis where normal abatement rules do not apply. [35846/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

My Department has not retained any retired civil or public servants since January 2013 where normal abatement rules did not apply.

General Medical Services Scheme Administration

Questions (274)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

274. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Health if he will provide in tabular form the number of GMS patients registered to each dispensary doctor in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35853/13]

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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.

Haddington Road Agreement Savings

Questions (275)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

275. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health if he will provide a yearly detailed breakdown of the sectoral measures, and accompanying savings, for the duration of the Haddington Road agreement applicable in his Department and-or non-commercial State-sponsored bodies under the aegis of his Department. [35863/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The measures applying to my Department, and agencies under the aegis of my Department, are set out in the relevant sectoral collective agreement under Haddington Road, in this case in Appendix 4 (Collective Agreement for Civil Service and NCSSBs) and Appendix 7 (Proposals for Collective Agreements in the Health Sector).

As stated by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, the Haddington Road Agreement will facilitate a reduction of €1 billion in the public service pay and pensions bill by 2016. In relation to my Department, the savings arising under HRA have been incorporated in the Departments revised estimate for 2013 and further details for 2014 and 2015 will be incorporated in the vote allocation in the context of the overall estimates process.

HSE Funding

Questions (276)

Niall Collins

Question:

276. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health his views on whether the public interest requires details of the www.mygp.ie project to be public; the steps he has taken to have the Irish Medical Organisation allow publication of the Health Service Executive's investigation into the allocation of resources on the www.mygp.ie website project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35912/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In May 2000, the Department of Health commenced making payments in respect of development and maintenance costs for the MyGP.ie website, which had been provided for under the Indicative Drugs Target Scheme (IDTS) and was being operated by the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO).

Following the establishment of the HSE, operational responsibility for payments in respect of the website transferred to the Executive under the Health Act 2004. Payments in respect of the website were suspended at this time and the HSE and IMO engaged on issues of mutual concern regarding the website. Both parties agree to review issues through non-binding mediation and this lead to the matter being resolved. The HSE was satisfied with the outcome of the mediation and the resolution of the matter. However, in resolving outstanding issues, both parties entered into an agreement that contains a confidentiality clause.

The Department understands that the HSE has taken legal advice regarding this matter and the confidentiality clause that forms part of that agreement unambiguously restrains the HSE from releasing information relating to this issue. If the HSE breached the terms of the clause, it could be in breach of contract and susceptible to High Court litigation for (a) breach of contract and/or (b) breach of confidence.

The Department also understands that the HSE has recently written to the IMO on two occasions asking it to agree, as a matter of urgency, to the confidentiality restrictions being lifted for the purposes of an FOI request relating to this issue. However, to date, the IMO has not agreed to this.

A Review of Governance and Accountability Mechanisms in the General Medical Services Scheme for and on behalf of the Department of Health (& Children) was published in 2005 and is available on the Department's website at the following link: http://www.dohc.ie/publications/gms_review.html.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (277)

Emmet Stagg

Question:

277. Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health the reason a wheelchair required for a child (details supplied) in County Kildare is approved for purchase but will not be ordered until October 2012. [35919/13]

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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.

HSE Investigations

Questions (278)

John McGuinness

Question:

278. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health if the threat of legal action by the Health Service Executive will be withdrawn in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; if he will expedite a response [35922/13]

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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 (279)

Tom Fleming

Question:

279. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health if he will examine the referral of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry to St. James's Hospital, Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35926/13]

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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 National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) and the HSE, has developed the outpatient waiting list minimum dataset. This allows 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 and the NTPF will work closely with hospitals towards achievement of the maximum waiting time.

Should a patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition warrants an earlier appointment, he or she would be in the best position to take the matter up with the consultant and hospital involved. In relation to the specific hospital appointment query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Ministerial Appointments

Questions (280)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

280. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the appointments to the board of Aer Lingus as ministerial nominees over the past seven years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35808/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The State's shareholding in Aer Lingus currently stands at just over 25%. At this level the company's Articles of Association make provision for the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, acting through the Minister for Finance, to make up to three nominations for appointment to the Board. There are three such directors currently serving on the board; Mr Francis Hackett, Mr Colin Hunt and Mr William Slattery.

The following outlines the appointment of Ministerial nominees since Aer Lingus became a listed company in 2006.

- Mr Francis Hackett who was serving on the Board of Aer Lingus at the time of the IPO was re-designated as a 'Ministerial Nominee' from the IPO date of 2 October 2006. He has been reappointed as a 'Ministerial Nominee' twice since then, in February 2008 and February 2011.

- Mr Chris Wall who was also serving on the Board at the time of the IPO was re-designated as a 'Ministerial Nominee' in January 2008 and served on the Board until the expiration of his term in March 2009.

- Mr Colin Hunt was appointed as a 'Ministerial Nominee' in January 2008 and was re-appointed in January 2011.

- Mr Leslie Buckley was appointed in May 2009 for a three year term, which expired in May 2012.

- Mr William Slattery was appointed in July 2013 for a three year term.

Sporting Organisations

Questions (281)

Dara Calleary

Question:

281. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to a High Court action being taken by a member of the Irish Sports Council against a proposed investigation by the council into that member and others; the date on which he became aware of the intention of the Irish Sports Council to commence such an investigation; the way in which this information was made available to him by the Irish Sports Council; if he is satisfied that the provisions of the Irish Sports Council Act confers the necessary powers on the council to hold such an inquiry; if he will provide details of all expenditure incurred by the Irish Sports Council over the past ten years both through out-of-court or in-court settlements, including any legal costs involved; if he is satisfied that expenditure of this nature by the Irish Sports Council can be justified in view of the reducing budget provided to the Irish Sports Council for the development of sport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35589/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I am aware of the High Court action mentioned by the Deputy. I can confirm that I met with the Chairman of the Irish Sports Council on the 11th of April when he informed me, as a matter of courtesy, of his intention to recommend to the Irish Sports Council that an investigation be conducted into allegations of which the Chairman had been made aware.

The Deputy is aware that this matter is now before the courts and pending the determination of the court, it would not be appropriate for me to make any comment in relation to the investigation.

As the detail relating to expenditure incurred by the Irish Sport Council on legal costs and settlements is a matter for the Council, I have forwarded the Deputy's question to them for direct reply in this regard. I ask the Deputy to inform my office if a reply is not received within 10 days.

In light of the current financial circumstances and the reductions in funding for sport, I would prefer that public money for sport is used for the development of sport rather than for meeting legal costs or settlements and I have advised the Chairman of this.