Medical Card Applications

Questions (237)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

237. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the progress to date in determination of an application 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. [15602/14]

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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.

Long-Term Illness Scheme Coverage

Questions (238)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

238. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if he will include paediatric inflammatory bowel disease on the long-term illness scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15604/14]

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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.

Primary Care Centres Provision

Questions (239)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

239. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health the amount of time and money that was spent by the Health Service Executive on architects, solicitors and so on to have a property (details supplied) designed to its specifications; if a contract was entered into for the property; the reason the decision was made not to proceed; if an alternative site has been selected to service the needs of the local population; and the length of time it will take to bring the new site to patient-ready completion. [15609/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Nursing Staff Remuneration

Questions (240)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

240. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health his plans to review the pay for graduate nurses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15617/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

There are no plans to review the pay for graduate nurses. Under the Haddington Road Agreement, nurses participating in the Nurse Graduate Programme are paid 85% of the starting pay of a Staff Nurse in the first year and 90% in the second year. In addition these nurses would also be in receipt of allowances and other premium payments.

A major objective of the programme is to put in place more cost-effective service delivery arrangements, having regard to the high rates of expenditure on agency staffing and overtime. The scheme will enable the health services to offer 1,000 graduate nurse positions for two years, at a time when job opportunities in the public service are very limited. Therefore it supports the retention of recently qualified graduate nurses and midwives within the Irish health system and enables them to gain valuable work experience and development opportunities post-graduation.

Hospitals Inspections

Questions (241)

Pat Deering

Question:

241. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health the reason the Health Information and Quality Authority is not responsible for the standards in private hospitals (details supplied) and the body that monitors them. [15618/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The provisions of the Health Act 2007 do not confer any powers on the Health Information and Quality Authority to set or monitor standards in private hospitals. However, healthcare professionals, such as doctors and nurses employed in private hospitals, are required to be registered with their relevant professional body.

Work is currently underway in my Department on legislative proposals relating to the development of a licensing framework for health care facilities. Such a framework will provide for a mandatory system of licensing for public and private health care providers. It will be designed to improve patient safety by ensuring that providers do not operate below standards which are applied in a consistent and systemic way. Legislative proposals are at an advanced stage and I expect proposals to be submitted to me shortly for approval with a view to seeking Government approval to publish a General Scheme and Heads of a Bill.

Ambulance Service Provision

Questions (242)

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

242. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health if he will provide an update on the Dublin Fire Brigade ambulance service and the need to ensure its retention; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15621/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) provides emergency ambulance services in Dublin city and county, by arrangement between Dublin City Council and the HSE. The HSE National Ambulance Service (NAS) provides some emergency capacity in the greater Dublin area, as well as non-emergency patient transport.

The ongoing development of pre-hospital emergency care involves a range of initiatives, including the development of a single national control and dispatch system for the State. This new system, expected to be completed in 2015, will deploy all emergency ambulance resources in the State, including emergency ambulances, rapid response and intermediate care vehicles, first responders, aeromedical services and ambulances in Dublin.

In the context of the development of the national control system, the Dublin City Manager and the HSE's Chief Operating Officer have commissioned a joint review of DFB ambulance services in Dublin City and County. The review will consider all aspects of ambulance operations provided by DFB within the Dublin area, including the capacity and capability of ambulance services.

The review will inform consideration of the best model for provision of emergency medical services in the greater Dublin area. It is part of the process of ensuring a clinically driven, nationally co-ordinated system, supported by improved technology, so that emergency pre-hospital care can continue to modernise and services can be delivered in an appropriate and timely manner, to the benefit of patients.

There has been speculation about this review and I am aware of the concerns expressed by some about the future of the service. I want to assure those concerned that I fully appreciate the service the Fire Brigade provides. This review is not a negative reflection on that service. It is being conducted in parallel with the HIQA review of the National Ambulance Service and the NAS capacity review. The intention behind all of these reviews is to examine our pre-hospital emergency care services throughout the country, with a view to identifying the best way to enable them to meet the challenges of the future. I look forward to the recommendations of all three reviews, which I am certain will enable us to ensure that we provide a service capable of delivering the best possible outcomes for the public.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (243)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

243. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will be called for surgery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15632/14]

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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 Health Service Executive, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

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 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.