National Positive Ageing Strategy Implementation

Questions (196)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

196. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health in view of the fact that the cost of living is rising for older persons with cuts being introduced to the household benefits package, an increase in passport fees for older people, an increase in prescription charges and so on, the initiatives that have been introduced since 2011 by his Department to improve the standard of living for older persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14299/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The National Positive Ageing Strategy is the overarching blueprint for age-related policy and service delivery across Government and society in the years ahead. It aims to address the opportunities and challenges associated with ageing at both an individual and societal level and across the full range of policy areas in a well-thought out, coherent and inclusive way. It notes that in light of realistic resource expectations, all Government Departments and agencies, local Government and institutions should review the effectiveness of existing policies, services and supports with a view to identifying whether inefficiencies in provision exist and how they can be addressed. They must refocus and adapt existing services rather than establish new ones. Maximising value for money and cost effectiveness in the funding and operation of services for a more-coordinated and effective use of the resources currently invested is the priority.

The Government is pursuing an ambitious programme of reform for our health sector, including in social care and care for older people. We want a health service that is patient-centred, whether that patient is young or old. The Nursing Homes Support Scheme continues to be an extremely generous support for those who need long-term residential care. The budget for the Scheme in 2014 is €939m and the HSE’s National Service Plan for 2014 sets a target of 22,061 people to be in receipt of financial support towards the cost of long-term nursing home care in December 2014. An Implementation Plan for the Positive Ageing Strategy is currently being prepared.

While there will of course always be a need for long-term residential care, older people have consistently said that they want to be facilitated and supported to stay in their own homes and communities for as long as it is viable for them to do so, and it is Government policy to develop this approach. Accordingly in 2014 there is an enhanced focus on home and community supports. Provision for community and home-based services are being strengthened by €23m to allow more people to stay in their own homes for longer. This is in addition to the budget of €315m provided for home help and home care package services which are delivered to some 56,000 people at any one time.

Health Care Infrastructure

Questions (197)

Colm Keaveney

Question:

197. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Health if the building used by the public health nurse in Portumna, County Galway, is accessible to wheelchair users; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14304/14]

View answer

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 Care Infrastructure

Questions (198)

Colm Keaveney

Question:

198. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Health if he will open a new public health centre in Portumna; if so, when it is scheduled to be opened; if any contracts have been signed for the purchase or construction of any building; the name of the other party or parties to the contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14305/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The development of primary care is central to the Government's objective to deliver a high quality, integrated and cost effective health care system. In 2012 the HSE completed a prioritisation exercise for all primary care centre locations. In addition to the locations' ranks as a result of the prioritisation exercise, the mechanism and timescale for delivery of primary care infrastructure is dependent on a number of factors including GP participation. GP commitment to sharing accommodation with HSE staff and delivering health care services from these facilities is important for primary care centre delivery.

The primary care infrastructure model offers a good fit for public private financing. Significant progress has been achieved using the operational lease mechanism and the HSE continues to work with the private sector to deliver primary care centres by this means. Regardless of the delivery mechanism, all potential primary care centres are also subject to suitable locations being offered/provided/available and to successful planning processes. Delivery of primary care infrastructure is a dynamic exercise, constantly evolving to take account of changing circumstances including the feasibility of implementation.

As with all capital projects the primary care infrastructure programme including this location must be considered within the overall capital envelope available to the health service. There will always be more projects than can be funded by the Exchequer. There is limited funding available for new projects over the period 2014-2018 given the level of commitments and the costs to completion already in place.

Your question in relation to whether contracts have been signed for the purchase or construction of any building and the name of the other party or parties to the contract has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Mental Health Services Provision

Questions (199, 200)

Colm Keaveney

Question:

199. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Health the services provided by the mental health services in Portumna, County Galway; the location of such services; the staffing arrangements for such services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14306/14]

View answer

Colm Keaveney

Question:

200. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Health the services that are or were being provided as of March 2013 by the mental health services in Portumna, County Galway; the location of such services; the staffing arrangements for such services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14307/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 199 and 200 together.

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

Medical Card Applications

Questions (201)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

201. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if and when a medical card is likely to issue in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14318/14]

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.

Hospital Appointment Status

Questions (202)

Michael Ring

Question:

202. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be given an appointment in Sligo General Hospital. [14320/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE has informed me that the individual has received surgery within the past two weeks.