Suicide Prevention

Questions (250)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

250. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health when the new suicide awareness officer will be appointed for County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45446/13]

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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.

Health Services Provision

Questions (251)

John McGuinness

Question:

251. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health if a CPAP machine will be provided under the long-term illness scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if they are entitled to a medical card. [45447/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE is responsible for the administration of the primary care schemes, therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Health Services Issues

Questions (252)

Michael McCarthy

Question:

252. Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Health if funding to the national service users executive, under the auspices of the national advocacy unit, has ceased and, if so, the reason for same; when the Health Service Executive review of the NSUE will be published; and, in relation to the development of consumer panels, the role of the HSE to support such panels associated with the NSUE, and if HSE staff have been advised not to attend such panels to the detriment of their work. [45449/13]

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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.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (253)

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

253. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Health if he or his Department have had any discussions with the Health Service Executive regarding the waiting times for children who need orthodontic treatment in Navan hospital, County Meath; if they have discussed any possible solutions to this problem; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45454/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Department of Health and the HSE are currently involved in discussions about this issue. A number of options are being considered. The HSE has also commissioned an independent review of orthodontic services. The outcome of this review, which is near completion, will give guidance as to what changes will be desirable to provide the best possible model of care delivery, given the current resources available and future demand for services.

Medical Card Drugs

Questions (254)

Michael McGrath

Question:

254. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health if he will provide the list of items for which persons with medical cards will no longer be reimbursed as a result of budget 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45458/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Provision is made for €10 million savings arising from the removal of products from the Reimbursement List. The HSE will now consider products for review in compliance with the provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (255)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

255. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 280 of 26 September 2013, wherein it was indicated that a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare was withdrawn on the basis of excessive income and where the spouse's income was recorded at €456 per week instead of the actual figure of €258 per week, if the refusal in this case will be reviewed as a matter of urgency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45490/13]

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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 Eligibility

Questions (256)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

256. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if a medical card or long-term illness card will be awarded in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45491/13]

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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.

Disability Services Programme Review

Questions (257)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

257. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the procedures to be followed to facilitate access to funding for persons with special needs under the proposed individualisation process; if structures have been put in place in accordance with policy; if the concept of individualisation is applicable or likely to so become in the short and medium term; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45492/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The move towards a model of funding which is linked to individual need is encompassed by the recommendations in the Value for Money (VFM) and Policy Review of Disability Services which I published last year. The Department of Health and the Health Service Executive (HSE) will pursue the issue of individualised budgeting in the context of the implementation of the recommendations contained in the VFM Review. A Steering Group which is representative of the major stakeholders has been set up to oversee the VFM implementation process and the first meeting of this Group was held in September.

Individualised budgeting is an umbrella term that may take many forms, ranging from a method of determining resource allocation to agencies based on assessed client need and actual costs, to a 'money follows the client' model, a brokerage system or a personal budget model administered by the individual service user. The essence of individualised budgeting is that the individual is given more choice and control over how the money allocated to meet their needs is utilised. This might or might not involve the transfer of actual funds to the individual. This approach must be underpinned by a standardised needs assessment to ensure fairness and transparency in the way in which funding is allocated. The move towards an individualised budgeting framework raises legal and practical issues, and will require careful consideration and possibly legislation.

The priority is to further improve current services, while expediting the analysis of the benefits to be gained from newer models of individualised supports through demonstration projects which will be evaluated for wider applicability. The balance and emphasis will shift firmly and comprehensively towards these new models of individualised supports once sufficient analysis of the benefits is carried out in the Irish context and adequate financial management, resource allocation and governance structures are in place to ensure their long-term viability.

Demonstration projects are already underway to examine the practical aspects of introducing this major change and to establish the costs and benefits. The projects will be analysed in 2014 to determine their wider applicability, clarify the issues which must be resolved before the projects can be scaled up, and identify the best way forward. Work is also underway to identify a standardised national assessment tool and resource allocation model which will form the basis of the individualised budgeting framework. Other essential elements of the new model of service delivery and funding, such as a commissioning strategy and an outcome measurement framework, are also in development.

Health Services Staff Data

Questions (258)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

258. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the number of doctors currently registered here; if any studies or assessments have been carried out to ascertain the number of doctors required in the State to deal with any capacity constraints that may arise. [45495/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As of 23rd October 2013, 18,448 doctors retained registration with the Medical Council. Under the provisions of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 it is the responsibility of the Health Service Executive (HSE), in co-operation with the medical training bodies and after consultation with the Higher Education Authority, to undertake appropriate medical workforce planning for the purpose of meeting specialist medical staffing and training needs of the health service on an ongoing basis, and to assess on an annual basis the number of intern training posts and the number and type of specialist medical training posts required by the health service. In this context, the Deputy's question has been referred to the Executive for direct reply.

Health Services Expenditure

Questions (259)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

259. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health in view of recent statistics from the OECD which indicate that only 67% of health spending in the State is funded by Government revenues, if he will provide a detailed breakdown of the proportion of the remaining 33% that is provided by out-of-pocket payments by persons and the proportion by private health insurance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45499/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

For the most recent year available, 2011, OECD data on total health expenditure showed that 33% of expenditure was funded by private sources. Private insurance expenditure accounted for 11.9% of total health expenditure while out-of-pocket payments accounted for 18.1%. Corporations, other than health insurance, made up the remaining 3%.

Health Services Reform

Questions (260)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

260. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost to the State of the introduction of free general practitioner care for all citizens. [45501/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is committed to introducing, on a phased basis, a universal GP service within its term of office, as set out in the Programme for Government and the Future Health strategy framework. As announced in the Budget, it has been decided to commence the roll-out of a universal GP service by providing all children aged 5 and under with access to a GP service without fees. This will mean that almost half of the population will have access to GP services without fees. The Government is providing new, additional funding of €37 million to meet the cost of this measure.

The introduction of a universal GP service constitutes a fundamental element in the Government's health reform programme. The current Government is the first in the history of the State to have committed itself to implementing a universal GP service for the entire population. A well functioning health system should provide equal access to healthcare for its patients on the basis of health needs, rather than ability to pay. The principles of universality and equity of access mean that all residents in Ireland should be entitled to access a GP services that is free at the point of use. The additional cost of providing access to GP services without fees for the entire population, based on current rates of payments to GPs, is estimated to be between €330 million and €365 million.