Health Services Staff Data

Questions (654)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

654. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health if there is sufficient medical staff in the Health Service Executive to deal with the workload; the number of medical staff compared to administration staff are working in the HSE; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5244/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I am satisfied that the tools are available to the HSE to ensure that the correct number and mix of staff is available in accordance with its business needs and government policy on public service numbers. The detailed information sought by the Deputy in relation to health service staff is a matter for the HSE and, accordingly, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to him.

Hospital Staff

Questions (655, 659, 660, 662)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

655. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health when he was informed about difficulties with recruiting consultants in particular posts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5258/14]

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Billy Kelleher

Question:

659. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if latitude and current interpretations of the movements of well-established consultants are impacting on the filling of the consultant posts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5262/14]

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Billy Kelleher

Question:

660. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if consultant's salary rates have fallen under the Haddington Road Agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5263/14]

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Billy Kelleher

Question:

662. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if he, his Department or the Health Service Executive intend to publish the consultants report on medical recruitment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5265/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 655, 659, 660 and 662 together.

There were 2,555 consultants (WTE's) employed at the end of December 2013, an additional 143 consultants compared with the end of December 2010 and 42 more than at the end of 2012. Notwithstanding these increases it has become evident in recent months that there are, typically less applicants for consultants posts that are vacant and that it is becoming more difficult to recruit successfully when posts are advertised. The Interim Report of the MacCraith Group, submitted to me in early December 2013, observed strong concerns raised by stakeholders in relation to the negative impact on recruitment associated with the 30% reduction in consultant salary for new entrants. The Interim Report is available on my Department's website. The consultants report referred to by the Deputy was a submission to the MacCraith Group by the HSE at the end of November concerning the emerging trend in vacancies and the ability to recruit successfully.

It is appreciated that the 30% reduction decided in September 2012 for future ‘new entrant’ appointments represented a substantial reduction in the rate of pay for consultants. However, it was a necessary measure, given the challenging economic circumstances. If the health services are to continue to provide consultant-level opportunities for doctors this can only happen on the basis of a lower-cost model. The HSE advised my Department last week that 104 posts had been advertised at the reduced rates and that 36 posts had been filled under these rates, with other posts at various stages of the recruitment process. It had not been possible to recruit candidates for 15 posts.

Under the Haddington Road agreement the pay of most consultants was cut in accordance with the provisions applying to all staff earning over €65,000. The only exceptions are those recruited at the 30% reduced salary level. The Agreement specified that the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform would have regard the 30% reduction in salary applied to new entrant consultants from October 2012, and the substantial inequity that would thereby arise were these consultants subject to the Haddington Road reductions in remuneration. Following enactment of the Financial Emergency in the Public Interest Act 2013, such consultants were exempted from the July 2013 reductions.

It should also be noted that there are some specialties in which there is an international shortage of consultants and which have traditionally been difficult to fill, regardless of the salary scale. There are also some hospitals to which it has been difficult to attract applicants – in particular smaller hospitals that have onerous rosters due to the limited number of consultants. The establishment of the Hospital Groups will assist in addressing this difficulty.

I have already stated that consultants who move posts and consultants coming from abroad should have their experience and specialist training recognised. While the number of consultants who move posts is relatively small, I believe flexibility is required, particularly in the context of the establishment of the Hospital Groups. On 23rd January the HSE submitted initial views to my Department in relation to recognising such experience and training following on from the meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health held on 16th January.

Health Services Staff

Questions (656)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

656. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if there are officials in his Department or in the Health Service Executive that are responsible for medical manpower planning; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5259/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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. Since 2009 a Medical Education and Training Unit has been in place in the HSE which inter alia undertakes these activities. My Department, through its Workforce Planning Unit, provides policy guidance to support the Executive in the performance of its functions as set out in the 2007 Act.

Ministerial Meetings

Questions (657)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

657. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if he has met the Irish Hospital Consultants Association recently; the issues that were discussed; the actions that were taken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5260/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I have not met the IHCA recently.

Ministerial Meetings

Questions Nos. 659 and 660 answered with Question No. 655.

Questions (658)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

658. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if he has met the Irish Medical Organisation recently; the issues that were discussed; the actions that were taken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5261/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I have not met the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) recently. Officials of my Department and the HSE have had a number of meetings with the IMO in recent months. Issues addressed included EWTD, NCHD recruitment and retention and consultant issues. Further meetings are planned to progress these issues.

On 31st January 2014, my colleague Alex White, Minister of State for Primary Care met with the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) to brief them on Government policy concerning the introduction of a universal GP service without fees, and in particular on the first phase concerning children under 6 years of age. The meeting included a briefing on the key features of the draft contract and an update on the consultation process in relation to the content and scope of the contract which will run until 21st February 2014. The IMO undertook to consider the draft contract and to revert within the next three weeks.

Questions Nos. 659 and 660 answered with Question No. 655.

Departmental Meetings

Question No. 662 answered with Question No. 655.

Questions (661)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

661. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if the CEO of the Health Service Executive sits at the management advisory meetings in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5264/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Director General of the Health Service Executive is invited to attend meetings of the Management Advisory Committee of the Department of Health when relevant matters are on the agenda.

Question No. 662 answered with Question No. 655.

Medical Card Applications

Question No. 664 answered with Question No. 610.

Questions (663)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

663. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Health the position regarding an application for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied); if same will be expedited due to the person having a serious illness; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5268/14]

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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.

Question No. 664 answered with Question No. 610.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (665)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

665. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details provided) in County Wicklow was denied a full medical card; if he will review this decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5321/14]

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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.

Orthodontic Service Provision

Questions (666)

Robert Troy

Question:

666. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if he will ensure that a person (details supplied) receives an appointment for orthodontic care. [5343/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE provides orthodontic treatment to patients based on their level of clinical need. An individual's access to orthodontic treatment is determined against a set of clinical guidelines and priority is given to patients with greatest needs. The HSE has been asked to examine the specific query raised by the Deputy and to reply to him as soon as possible.

Hospital Appointment Status

Questions (667)

Jack Wall

Question:

667. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will receive an earlier appointment date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5344/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to the particular patient query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to him directly.

Nursing Home Repayment Scheme

Questions (668)

Brian Walsh

Question:

668. Deputy Brian Walsh asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a nursing home charge in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5347/14]

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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.

Long-Term Illness Scheme Coverage

Questions (669)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

669. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Health the decision of the Health Service Executive to allow patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, to be covered under the long-term illness scheme; if this will be back dated and if they may claim back what they have already paid out on medications now to be covered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5363/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Mental Illness (under 16) is one of the illnesses covered under the LTI Scheme. Following a review of the operation of the Scheme with reference to ADHD, the HSE issued appropriate national guidelines in September 2013, to be implemented with immediate effect. The implementation of the guidelines will ensure that in future all children with ADHD are treated equally under the Long Term Illness Scheme.

Legislative Measures

Questions (670)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

670. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Health his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding rodent legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5366/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Section 1 of the Rats and Mice (Destruction) Act 1919 states that any person who shall fail to take such steps as may from time to time be necessary and reasonably practicable for the destruction of rats and mice on or in any land of which he is the occupier (meaning in the case of land not occupied by any tenant or other person, the owner of the land) or for preventing such land from becoming infested with rats or mice, shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine.

If an authorised officer of the HSE is of the opinion that the occupier of any land has failed to take such steps as are required above, a notice may be served on the occupier requiring him to take such steps as are prescribed in the notice within a time specified therein or enter upon the land and take such steps as are necessary and reasonably practicable for the purpose of destroying the rats and mice on the land or of preventing the land from becoming infested with rats and mice, and may recover any reasonable expenses so incurred from the occupier of the land summarily as a civil debt. Evidence in relation to a failure under Section 1 is required to support the action outlined above.

I have been advised by the HSE that an inspection took place on 22 November 2013 but there was no evidence that the premises was non-compliant with the provisions of the Act. Another inspection of the vacant premises has been scheduled to be carried out during February 2014.

Palliative Care Facilities

Questions (671)

Paudie Coffey

Question:

671. Deputy Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Health when he will sanction capital funding for the palliative care unit based at Waterford Regional Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5369/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Delivery of healthcare facilities is a service matter. Therefore your question has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Health Services Provision

Questions (672)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

672. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health if support pay will be given to the elderly parent of a person (details supplied) in County Meath. [5376/14]

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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.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (673)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

673. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health the resources that will be provided to each county through the progressing disability dervices for children and young people programme in the next two years. [5378/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is fully committed to protecting front-line services, including services for children with disabilities, to the greatest extent possible, notwithstanding the financial constraints within which the health sector must operate. Significant resources have been invested by the health sector in recent years in services for children with disabilities. In particular, there is now an increased awareness of the importance of early intervention for these children in terms of ensuring they get the best start in life and are supported as much as possible to reach their full potential.

The Health Service Executive's Social Care budget for 2014 is being maintained broadly in line with 2013, with targeted investment in the area of Disability Services of €14m for a number of developments, including €4m for the roll out of the Progressing Disability Programme. This should equate to approximately 80 additional therapy staff to increase services for children with disabilities. Decisions in terms of how resources will be allocated through the Progressing Disabilities Programme are a service matter for the HSE. Accordingly I have arranged for the question to be referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Ambulance Service Provision

Questions (674)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

674. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health the vehicles that have been purchased by the national ambulance service in the past 12 months; the purpose of these vehicles; and if any of these vehicles are being used for private purposes by staff. [5393/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy.

Proposed Legislation

Questions (675)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

675. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health if the public health (standardised packaging of tobacco) Bill 2013 will be subject to notification procedure to the European Union, which one must follow pursuant to directive 98/34/EC; the date on which he will submit the Bill to the European Commission under this procedure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5395/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy will be aware, Government approval was received on 19 November 2013 for the publication of the General Scheme of a new Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill 2013 and to proceed with the drafting of the legislation based on this General Scheme. I can confirm that relevant sections of the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill 2013 will be subject to notification under Directive 98/34/EC, which will be submitted when the Bill has reached final draft stage.

Hospital Appointment Status

Questions (676)

Barry Cowen

Question:

676. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Offaly can expect an appointment for MRI scan at Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore. [5400/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to the particular patient query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to him directly.