Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (204)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

204. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if he will make the threshold announced in budget 2014 for over 70s medical card holders for married and cohabiting couples compatible with the threshold of single applicants in view of the inequity for couples; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44923/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government recognises that the living costs of an individual living alone are more than half the living costs of a couple living together. This is acknowledged through the provision of the Living Alone Allowance and differential income limits for medical cards for persons aged under 70 years between individuals and couples. In that context, the over-70s income limit for a single person has been reduced proportionately less than the income limit for a couple.

National Lottery Funding Applications

Questions (205)

Michael McCarthy

Question:

205. Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Health the position regarding an application for a national lottery grant in respect of an organisation (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44928/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

My Department has received an application for funding from the 2013 National Lottery allocation from the organisation in question. This is one of a large number of applications currently being assessed. The Deputy will be informed of the outcome of the application as soon as a decision has been made.

Hospital Appointment Status

Questions (206)

James Bannon

Question:

206. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath will receive an appointment at St. James's Hospital for an urgent bypass operation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44936/13]

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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.

Accident and Emergency Departments Waiting Times

Questions (207)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

207. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the current target waiting times for patients to be treated in the accident and emergency unit of Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9. [44990/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Special Delivery Unit was established to free up access to acute services by improving the flow of patients through the system. The national targets Emergency Department wait times are:

- 95% of all new Emergency Department patients to wait less than 6 hours. Patient Experience Time (PET) is measured from arrival to Emergency Department departure time.

- 100% of all new Emergency Department patients to wait less than 9 hours. Patient Experience Time (PET) is measured from arrival to Emergency Department departure time.

An intensive work programme is underway between the SDU's liaison officers, the Clinical Programmes and Beaumont Hospital teams. The SDU is satisfied that there is increased engagement at all levels in the hospital, focussing on working to achieve the national targets for unscheduled care so that emergency patients may be seen in a timely manner.

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.

Health Services Staff Data

Questions (208)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

208. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the number of persons employed in the Health Service Executive’s mental health services in north Dublin in the years 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013; the number of employees who took up new posts with the Health Service Executive's mental health services in the area during that time; and the number of posts that are currently vacant within these services. [44992/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (209, 211)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

209. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Health if he will provide in detail the changes with respect to medical card eligibility arising out of budget 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45001/13]

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Róisín Shortall

Question:

211. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the date in 2014 from which the new medical card income limits for the over 70s will apply. [45009/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 209 and 211 together.

The measures outlined below are the changes to the eligibility criteria for medical cards under Budget 2014.

Reducing income thresholds for medical cards for the over 70s

This measure reduces the income thresholds for a single person aged 70 or over to €500 per week and for a couple aged over 70 to €900 a week. A single person aged 70 or over with income up to €700 per week will continue to have access to GP services without charges. A couple aged 70 years or over with income up to €1,400 per week will continue to have access to GP services without charges. It is planned to have that legislation in place by the end of the year/early 2014, with reassessments beginning after the legislation is in place.

Return to work arrangements

Currently, persons who return to work after a period of unemployment retain their medical card for 3 years, regardless of income. Under this measure, a person that has returned to work after a period of unemployment will retain a GP visit card for 3 years, irrespective of their level of income. The measure will not be retrospective in that the HSE will not be seeking refund of costs of any services provided to people who retained a medical card after returning to employment. However, the current circumstances of a person who has returned to work will determine whether they qualify for a medical card or a GP card.

The Department of Health will work further with other Departments with an implementation date early 2014.

Hospital Appointment Status

Questions (210)

Seán Fleming

Question:

210. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Laois will receive an appointment with their consultant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45007/13]

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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.