Hospital Services

Questions (532)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

532. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the policy in relation to the transport of blood samples from GP surgeries to the appropriate laboratory or testing centre; if it is the case in Monaghan town that patients are required to transport samples personally to Monaghan General Hospital for further transport to the main laboratory at Cavan General Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11765/14]

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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.

Hospital Appointment Status

Questions (533)

John O'Mahony

Question:

533. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive an appointment for Mayo General Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11784/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

A maximum waiting time target of 12 months has been set for a first time consultant-led outpatient appointment and this is reflected in the HSE Service Plan. The SDU and the NTPF are working closely with hospitals towards achievement of the maximum waiting time.

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.

Medical Card Appeals

Questions (534)

Tom Fleming

Question:

534. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health if he will expedite a medical card appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11797/14]

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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.

Tobacco Control Measures

Questions (535)

Seán Fleming

Question:

535. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health if he will outline the programme for smoking cessation training staff in the Health Service Executive; if he will provide a breakdown of the number of persons that participated in this smoking cessation training in 2013; the cost and the benefits of this programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11803/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Department of Health's policy on smoking is to promote and subsequently move toward a tobacco free society. Ireland's current policy document, Tobacco Free Ireland, which I launched on 3 October 2013, sets a target for Ireland to be tobacco free (i.e. with a prevalence rate of less than 5%) by 2025. Smoking cessation is a key goal if we are to meet that target. Treating tobacco addiction as a care issue is a critical principle underpinning Tobacco Free Ireland. The appropriate management of tobacco addiction can significantly reduce the burden of chronic disease on individuals, their families and the healthcare services.

The HSE is responsible for the provision of smoking cessation services, and as such the Deputy's question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Services Staff

Questions (536)

John O'Mahony

Question:

536. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) in County Mayo was refused a nursing licence here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11817/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The information regarding Nurse Registration is a matter for the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland. I have forwarded your query to the Board for direct response.

Departmental Legal Costs

Questions (537)

Denis Naughten

Question:

537. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health if he will set out in tabular form, by reference to each named firm, the amount paid out in respect of legal fees during 2013 by his Department to law firms in or outside the State for services rendered to it; if he will provide in a similar format the amount paid out in respect of legal fees during 2013 by State bodies including commercial or non-commercial and regulatory bodies established by or under his Department, to law firms in or outside the State for services rendered to it; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11873/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The information requested by the Deputy in respect of my Department is set out in the table that follows this reply. I have asked the HSE to supply the information requested, directly to the Deputy. Operational matters for bodies under the aegis of my Department are matters for the relevant Director/CEO/Registrar.

Legal Service 2013

Amount - €

William Fry Solicitors

6,969

Matheson

86,100

Hospital Appointment Status

Questions (538)

Jack Wall

Question:

538. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will receive an appointment date at Naas General Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11887/14]

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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.

Health Services Funding

Questions (539)

Simon Harris

Question:

539. Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Health the amount of funding that has been allocated to a service provider (details supplied) in County Wicklow for school leavers in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11925/14]

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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.

Medicinal Products Prices

Questions (540)

Finian McGrath

Question:

540. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health the position regarding funding for medication in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11927/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicinal products under the community drug schemes in accordance with the provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. The HSE received an application for the inclusion of Fampridine (Fampyra®) in the GMS and community drugs schemes. The application was considered in line with the procedures and timescales agreed by the Department of Health and the HSE with the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) for the assessment of new medicines. In accordance with these procedures, the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE) conducted a pharmacoeconomic evaluation of Fampridine and concluded that, as the manufacturer was unable to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of Fampridine in the Irish healthcare setting, it was unable to recommend the reimbursement of the product. The report is available on the NCPE's website (www.ncpe.ie). The NCPE report is an important input to assist the HSE in its decision making process and informs further discussions between the HSE and the manufacturer of the drug. The HSE assessment process is intended to arrive at a decision on the funding of new medicines that is clinically appropriate, fair, consistent and sustainable. In these circumstances, the HSE has not approved the reimbursement of Fampridine under the GMS or other community drug schemes.

In relation to the individual case raised by the Deputy, the HSE has been asked to investigate the specific issues surrounding this case and respond directly to the Deputy.

Health Services

Questions (541)

Finian McGrath

Question:

541. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the health repayment scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11928/14]

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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.

Health Services Provision

Questions (542)

Finian McGrath

Question:

542. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding setting up of a cardiac first responder group (details supplied) in Dublin 5; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11932/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE National Ambulance Service supports the establishment of community first responder schemes. I have therefore forwarded the Deputy's question to the HSE for attention and direct reply to him.

Home Help Service Provision

Questions (543)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

543. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if he will increase the level of home help support currently available to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11953/14]

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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.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (544)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

544. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 6W has been refused a medical card. [11959/14]

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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.

Ambulance Service Response Times

Questions (545)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

545. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health when the investigation into the ambulance service in counties Louth and Meath area will be concluded. [11964/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I understand that the Deputy is referring to the HIQA review of pre-hospital emergency care. The Authority will review the governance arrangements of pre-hospital emergency care services to ensure the timely assessment, diagnosis, initial management and transport of an acutely ill patient to an appropriate healthcare facility, but may not necessarily focus on any particular geographic area or any specific incident. Planning for the review has now commenced and HIQA is currently in the process of designing an assessment framework against the National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare. The Authority will report on the findings and issue recommendations as soon as the review is completed. In addition to the HIQA review of governance, the National Ambulance Service will undertake a capacity review, to determine current and future service delivery needs. This process will examine a number of areas, including staff numbers and skill mix, as well as resource distribution.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (546)

Brian Walsh

Question:

546. Deputy Brian Walsh asked the Minister for Health the circumstances in which a person who suffers from Asperger's syndrome would be eligible for a medical card; his plans to extend the eligibility of medical cards to include persons on the autism spectrum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11971/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the provisions of the Health Act 1970 (as amended), eligibility for health services in Ireland is based primarily on residency and means. The Act provides that persons who are unable, without undue hardship, to arrange GP services for themselves and family qualify for a medical card. The HSE can only award medical cards in accordance with the Act and, therefore, it must assess applicants on the overall financial situation of the applicant and his or her dependants. The HSE gives effect to this legislation through its Medical Card National Assessment Guidelines.

Under the legislation, there is no (and has never been an) automatic entitlement to a medical card for persons with any specific condition or illness. While there is no legal basis for the HSE to award medical cards on the basis of a specific medical condition, the HSE has, however, discretion to grant a medical card in certain circumstances. If an applicant's means are above the financial thresholds, set out in the national guidelines, the HSE examines for any indication of circumstances (medical or social), which might result in undue financial hardship in the arranging of medical services. Eligibility may be granted on a discretionary basis if these circumstances are such that a person cannot arrange GP services for themselves and their family without undue financial hardship.

Discretion must be exercised by the HSE but the fundamental provision in the 1970 Act is that a person is assessed on the basis of undue hardship in arranging a GP service, having regard to his or her means. Undue hardship can only be ascertained through an assessment of financial means, with the extra discretionary effect where a person's condition or illness is affecting his/her financial situation. The HSE must operate within the legal parameters as set out in the Act, while also responding to the variety of circumstances and complexities faced by individuals who apply for a medical card.

Medicinal Products Expenditure

Questions (547)

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

547. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Health the reason there is no difference between the cap for a single person and a couple on the monthly cost for medication for medical card holders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11975/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health (Amendment) Act 2010 provides that the maximum aggregate amount payable in respect of prescribed drug, medicines and medical and surgical appliances supplied to medical card holders in a month to an adult person and his or her dependants shall be €10 or such other amount as may be determined by regulation made by the Minister. The Health Services (Prescription Charges) Regulations 2013 provided that for the purposes of Section 59(1B), the aggregate amount payable should be €25 per month with effect from 1 December 2013. There is no provision in the legislation to provide for a different monthly threshold for a single person and a couple or family.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (548)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

548. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if he will review eligibility for a medical card in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11976/14]

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.

Health Services Expenditure

Questions (549)

Dan Neville

Question:

549. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Health the position regarding payment of €75,000 committed to the Irish Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in May 2006 (details supplied). [11982/14]

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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.

Long-Term Illness Scheme Eligibility

Questions (550)

Gerry Adams

Question:

550. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health if he will define anaphylaxis as a long-term illness under the long-term illness scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11991/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

There are no plans to extend the list of conditions covered by the long-term illness scheme. Under the Drug Payment Scheme, no individual or family pays more than €144 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme significantly reduces the cost burden for families and individuals incurring ongoing expenditure on medicines. In addition, people who cannot without undue hardship arrange for the provision of medical services for themselves and their dependants may be entitled to a medical card. In the assessment process, the Health Service Executive can take into account medical costs incurred by an individual or a family. Those who are not eligible for a medical card may still be able to avail of a GP visit card, which covers the cost of GP consultations.