Medical Card Administration

Questions (230)

Finian McGrath

Question:

230. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18267/14]

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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 Eligibility

Questions (231)

Finian McGrath

Question:

231. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the long-term illness scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 3; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18268/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The conditions covered by the Long Term Illness scheme are:- Acute Leukaemia, Mental Handicap, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Illness (in a person under 16), Cystic Fibrosis, Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes Insipidus, Diabetes Mellitus, Muscular Dystrophies, Parkinsonism, Epilepsy, Phenylketonuria, Haemophilia, Spina Bifida, Hydropcephalus and conditions arising from the use of Thalomide. 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.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (232)

Pat Deering

Question:

232. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health when persons (details supplied) in County Carlow will have a response to their applications for a medical card; and if he will expedite an answer [18272/14]

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.

Medical Card Reviews

Questions (233)

Tom Fleming

Question:

233. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health if he will expedite a medical card review in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18292/14]

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 Staff

Questions (234)

Gerald Nash

Question:

234. Deputy Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Health if he is concerned about the fact staff who work in residential care settings are consistently required to work in excess of the legal maximum 48 hours per week; if his attention has been drawn to the fact this breaches national legislation and the EU working time directive; the steps his Department and the Health Service Executive are taking to address this serious matter for staff; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18295/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Haddington Road Agreement provides for a process of negotiation under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission in relation to this matter in respect of staff working in residential care settings. Following a referral to the Labour Court in early 2014, it was agreed that the matter should be referred back to the Labour Relations Commission for completion of discussions by 31 May 2014. This series of meetings has recently commenced and involves my Department, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the HSE, Service Providers and the Trade Unions representing the employees.

Hospital Appointment Status

Questions (235)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

235. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a hospital appointment in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18304/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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 specific hospital appointment query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Primary Care Centre Provision

Questions (236)

Derek Nolan

Question:

236. Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Health his plans to reopen a public medical health facility in a town (details supplied) in County Galway; if the provision of a primary care centre will be prioritised for the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18312/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE has responsibility for the provision of Primary Care Centres and the operation and maintenance of existing health centres. Therefore, this matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

National Lottery Funding Applications

Questions (237)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

237. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health if funding is available to support a meals on wheels service for older persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18349/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

My Department administers a National Lottery Discretionary Fund from which once-off grants are paid to community and voluntary organisations providing a range of health related services. If an organisation wishes to make an application for National Lottery Funding they should send in a formal application. Detailed procedures along with the application form are set out on the Department's website at www.doh.ie

Health Services

Questions (238)

Joe Higgins

Question:

238. Deputy Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Health if he has read the National Survey of Stroke Survivors 2013 published by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the Irish Heart Foundation in April 2014; his views on the findings that 11% of stroke survivors requiring access to psychological services got access to them, half requiring access to speech and language therapy did not receive therapy, and one in three requiring physiotherapy received no therapy. [18352/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

My colleague, Minister White, was recently invited by the National Disability Authority to speak at the launch of this Report. This study is welcome as it provides comprehensive information on the impact of stroke for survivors and their carers.

Many developments in cardiac care have been brought about through various means including the National Cardiovascular Health Policy. This policy named “Changing Cardiovascular Health” covers from 2010 to 2019. It provides an integrated and quality assured approach for the prevention, detection and treatment of cardiovascular disease including stroke. Since 2010, significant improvements have been made with regard to access to acute treatments for coronary heart disease as well as the development of stroke units across the country. As Minister for Health, I was pleased to outline these at the launch of the Irish Heart Foundation Stroke day on 11th April last week.

Key elements of Stroke care now available include: New and existing stroke units provided with additional therapy, nursing and consultant posts; The Clinical Programme for Stroke continues its work to develop and disseminate care pathways and clinical protocols; A national 24/7 access to safe stroke thrombolysis through service development, telemedicine and training is already available in many hospitals with access protocols agreed for others; Ambulance access protocols are being developed by the Stroke Programme working in partnership with national ambulance service to agree and implement ambulance access protocols. Thrombolysis is now available to all acute hospitals admitting stroke patients and 9.5% of patients are being thrombolysed. This rate compares will with the best European figures and exceeds our target 7.5%.

The Stroke Programme estimates that the number of people with enduring disabilities as a result of stroke has decreased as the percentage of patients with stroke discharged from acute hospitals to nursing homes has dropped from 17.3% in 2009 to 14.5% in 2012. This is a positive outcome. The rapid increase in access to thrombolysis, from 3.3% in 2008 to 9.5% in 2012, has resulted in better outcomes for patients. The Stroke Foundation Education programme developed by the Stroke Programme and available to all staff caring for stroke patients is leading to improved patient experience of stroke service provision. Patients requiring more intensive rehabilitation are referred to the nearest available rehabilitation service, such as the Stroke Rehabilitation Unit, Baggott Street, Dublin Stroke Rehabilitation Unit, Louth County Hospital, Dundalk Hibernian Stroke Rehabilitation Unit, St. Mary’s Hospital, Phoenix Park Stroke Rehabilitation Unit and St. Finbarr’s Hospital, Cork.

Stroke rehabilitation can be provided in a number of settings, which range from specialised rehabilitation centres and departments in acute hospitals to outpatient and community settings. The establishment of managed clinical rehabilitation networks for neurological and prosthetic rehabilitation services in each of the 4 HSE Regions is proposed to facilitate the development of integrated quality rehabilitation services. Currently the only internationally accredited programme of specialist inpatient stroke rehabilitation is delivered at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dublin. However, the Programme’s Model of Care outlines that 4 regional hubs, which will have clinical and consultant leadership from a designated specialist in rehabilitation medicine, supporting existing neurologists and specialists in medicine for the elderly, be set up. It will include the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) as the national hub and will also incorporate the setting up of Specialist Community-Based Rehabilitation Teams.

The implementation of the Department of Health’s National Policy and Strategy for the Provision of Neuro-rehabilitation Services in Ireland - in collaboration with the National Clinical Programme for Rehabilitation Medicine and its Model of Care - will provide for improved access to and quality of services for all patients requiring rehabilitation and their families.

Primary Care also plays an important role in stroke rehabilitation. The HSE’s National Service Plan 2013 provided for additional funding of €20m to strengthen primary care services (€18.525m for the recruitment of 264.5 primary care team posts and €1.475m to support Community Intervention Team development). The posts were allocated based on the analysis carried out by the HSE in identifying areas of deprivation and need. The additional primary care posts includes 72 Public Health Nurses, 40.5 Registered General Nurses, 47.5 Physiotherapists, 52.5 Occupational Therapists and 52 Speech and Language Therapists.

As of 6th March 2014, 199.5 posts have been filled or start dates have been agreed. The HSE is striving to have the remainder of the posts filled as soon as possible in 2014. Taken together, all these developments show that we have made significant progress in preventing stroke and its complications.