Drugs Payment Scheme Coverage

Questions (579)

Dan Neville

Question:

579. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Health if he will include in the drug payment scheme the drugs cysteamine and cysteamine eye drops which have been granted a European licence to be dispensed for the inherited metabolic disorder cystinosis. [20928/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE is responsible for the administration of the primary care schemes, therefore, the HSE has been asked to investigate the specific query raised by the Deputy and respond to him as soon as possible.

Legislative Process

Questions (580)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

580. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Health when the draft misuse of drugs (amendment) regulations, which will amend the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1988, will be submitted for Government approval to notify the draft regulations to the EU Commission; the reason for the delay in submitting the draft regulations for Government approval; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20934/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Work is ongoing on the drafting of regulations to amend the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1988. This process is taking longer than anticipated because it is a complex and technical body of work. The regulations will be finalised as soon as possible.

Health Services Staff Recruitment

Questions (581)

Colm Keaveney

Question:

581. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Health the number of the 477 posts for community mental health services committed to in the Health Service Executive National Service Plan 2013 that have been filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20938/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Following on from the investment in mental health in 2012, a further additional €35 million was provided in Budget 2013 for the continued development of mental health services across a range of headings, including the further development of forensic services and community mental health teams for adults, children, older persons and mental health intellectual disability, and to the recruitment of 477 additional staff to implement these measures.

Of the posts approved in 2013, as end-March 2014, 468 or 98% of the posts had been allocated, of which 267 or 56% of appointees were in post by end-March. A further 26 new staff have agreed start dates after 31st March. The remainder of the positions are at different stages in the recruitment process.

There are, however, a number of posts for which there are difficulties in identifying suitable candidates due to factors including availability of qualified candidates and geographic location. The HSE's National Recruitment Service is currently working to ensure that the remaining posts will be filled as soon as possible, from existing panels or through competition in the absence of panels, at the earliest opportunity. Options to enable more local recruitment are also being considered where this will assist in filling specific posts. I have received assurances from the HSE that the recruitment process for these posts is being given priority within the HSE.

Hospital Appointment Status

Questions (582)

John O'Mahony

Question:

582. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be called for a hospital appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20942/14]

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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.

Hospital Services

Questions (583)

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

583. Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Health his plans regarding the future of the gait clinic in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20944/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this concerns services provided by St Finbarr's Hospital, Cork, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Hospital Appointments Administration

Questions (584)

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

584. Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Cork may expect to be given a neurological appointment; the average waiting time from general practitioner referral to neurologist appointment in the Health Service Executive south area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20945/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Medical Card Reviews

Questions (585)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

585. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health if he will restore a full medical card to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20976/14]

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 (586)

Seán Kenny

Question:

586. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Health the reason medical cards held by those who qualify for them as an entitlement due to the fact that they paid the qualifying national health insurance in the UK are now being reviewed and those holding them are being asked to submit income details and details of their savings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20977/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive operates under the legislative framework of the Health Act of 1970, as subsequently amended. In the interest of probity, the HSE is obliged to ensure that a person’s eligibility is correctly recorded in line with the eligibility legislation and the national guidelines. The HSE aims to ensure that every person who is entitled to a medical card or a GP visit card is given the opportunity to avail of his or her entitlement. All medical card and GP visit card holders are subject to a periodic review of eligibility to determine continuing eligibility. As part of the review process, where a person who holds a medical card under the EU Regulations, there is only a requirement to demonstrate to the HSE that they continue to qualify under the EU Regulations. Proof of receipt of a qualifying payment from the UK authorities should be provided to the HSE and there is no requirement to submit income details and details of savings.

Medical Card Reviews

Questions (587)

Clare Daly

Question:

587. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health if he will restore a medical card to person (details supplied) and issue an explanation to the family as to why it was removed. [20986/14]

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 Aids and Appliances Provision

Questions (588)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

588. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health if he will confirm that those in receipt of adult pads or nappies have been told to reduce their use and that two a day is the new allowance (details supplied). [20989/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service related matter, the HSE has been asked to investigate the specific query raised by the Deputy and reply to him as quickly as possible.

Health Services Staff

Questions (589)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

589. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding a full-time nurse; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21001/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The particular issue raised by the Deputy is a service matter for the Health Service Executive. Accordingly I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (590, 591)

Brian Walsh

Question:

590. Deputy Brian Walsh asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on outpatient waiting lists for Mayo General Hospital, and if he will provide a breakdown of this figure according to the specialties for which these patients are awaiting an appointment, in each case stating the number of patients who have been waiting more than one year, two years and three years. [21052/14]

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Brian Walsh

Question:

591. Deputy Brian Walsh asked the Minister for Health the number of persons who were on outpatient waiting lists for Mayo General Hospital on 1 January 2013, with a breakdown of this figure according to the specialties for which these patients were awaiting an appointment. [21053/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 590 and 591 together.

In relation to the detailed queries raised by the Deputy, as these are service matters, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to him directly.

Health Services

Questions (592)

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Question:

592. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Health if he will confirm the number of H1N1 swine flu cases here; the steps his Department have taken to monitor swine flu in our hospitals; if nursing and medical staff have been trained to diagnose swine flu; if he will examine a case admitted to NUIG hospital (details supplied) and the reason the patient spent three and a half hours waiting for an ambulance for transfer to Crumlin hospital; the reason the crèche at which this child attended was not notified of the swine flu diagnosis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21070/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to the specific issues raised by the Deputy, as they relate to service matters, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply.

Long-Term Illness Scheme Coverage

Questions (593)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

593. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health if help is available under the long-term illness scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21085/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Persons suffering from prescribed conditions can get free drugs, medicines and medical and surgical appliances for the treatment of the prescribed condition(s) under the Long Term Illness (LTI) Scheme.

Parkinsonism is one of the prescribed conditions covered under the LTI Scheme. Persons with a diagnosis of parkinsonism, that have not already done so, should contact their HSE Local Health Office for an LTI Scheme application form.

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.

In relation to the individual case cited, the HSE is responsible for the administration of the primary care schemes, therefore, this matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Health Services

Questions (594)

Michael McCarthy

Question:

594. Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Health his plans to provide specialist care here for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, EDS, patients; his plans to include the treatment for EDS under the treatment abroad scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21089/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (595)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

595. Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Health if there has been a policy change to no longer provide residential care for children with intellectual disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21098/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the Health Act 2004 the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services, including Disability services.

Specialist Disability services are provided to enable children and adults with a disability, to achieve their full potential, including living as independently as possible. In response to the Deputy's question on whether there has been a policy change in residential care for children, the HSE has advised that the provision of a residential placement would follow a detailed assessment to establish any other means of addressing needs rather than admission to residential care.

There would generally be considerable communication between the HSE, the family/guardian of a service user and the voluntary service provider and the person themselves. The number of children and adults benefiting from residential services in 2013 was 8,880. The target for 2014 is 8,884.

Traditional disability service provision is moving towards a community based and inclusive model rather than being institutional and segregated. The key learnings from the New Direction Report on Adult Day Services and Time to Move on from Congregated Settings – A Strategy for Community Inclusion - alongside the Value for Money and Policy Review are helping us to achieve a more effective, person centred disability service provision, in line with international best practice.

The radical change involves a collaborative responsibility shared between the person, their families and carers, a multiplicity of agencies, Government and society as a whole.

Home Help Service Provision

Questions (596)

Dan Neville

Question:

596. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Health if a review would be carried out immediately for the provision of home help in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick. [21106/14]

View answer

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 Insurance Prices

Questions (597)

Finian McGrath

Question:

597. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health if it is possible for the health insurance companies to discuss with general practitioners and medical practitioners reducing costs for families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21115/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is committed to keeping health insurance affordable for as many people as possible. I have consistently raised the issue of managing costs with the private health insurers and I have strongly urged them to reduce their overall costs, including professional fees.

The vast majority of private health insurance policies provide cover for in-patient hospital treatment, with limited out-patient and GP cover. While there has already been some reduction in associated professional fees I will continue to urge all health insurers to achieve further fee and cost reductions in the interests of consumers.

Additionally, many consumers can make savings on their health insurance premiums by reviewing their level of cover to ensure that their needs are being met, without being over-insured. There are numerous lower cost plans available from all four health insurers and it is quite possible for consumers to find a similar level of cover in the market for a cheaper price. The Health Insurance Authority (HIA) provides information to consumers regarding their rights and also on health insurance plans and benefits. The HIA plays an important role for customers, both in ensuring that they have accurate information, and in enforcing the implementation of the law protecting consumers in relation to health insurance. The HIA's website www.hia.ie has a useful plan comparison tool which assists in finding suitable and competitive health insurance plans.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (598)

Finian McGrath

Question:

598. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health if he will provide an update on the lack of places for school leavers at St. Michael's House, Dublin 9 and the Measc Road service, Dublin 5; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21116/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

In line with the Health Service Executive (HSE) Social Care Division Operational Plan 2014, a revised process is being implemented this year to ensure a more streamlined approach to assigning placements to school-leavers and rehabilitative training (RT) graduates. Additional funding of €7million will be allocated to meet the emerging needs of those young people leaving school and RT programmes this year who the HSE identify as having a requirement for ongoing support.

Arrangements for implementing this new centralised regional application process are under way. The HSE are currently working to identify the service providers with capacity to respond to the individuals who require support and agree the allocation of additional resources in respect of individual placements.

The HSE has informed me that young people and their parents will be advised by 30th June of the placement which will be available to them from September.

In relation to the specific service mentioned by the Deputy, as this relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Medical Aids and Appliances Applications

Questions (599)

John O'Mahony

Question:

599. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be approved for medical appliances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21122/14]

View answer

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.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (600)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

600. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if net income will be used in assessments of those aged over 70 for medical cards in view of the deductions from pension income paid to the Exchequer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21136/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the arrangements effected by the Health Act 2008, a revised system of assessment for eligibility was introduced for those 70 years of age and over, based on the significantly higher gross income limits rather than the standard net income thresholds. This advantageous arrangement for persons aged over 70 years has facilitated a much greater share of this cohort qualifying for a medical card compared to the general population as a whole.

There are no proposals to change this assessment process.

However, persons aged 70 or older who are assessed as ineligible under the gross income thresholds may also have their eligibility assessed under the means tested medical card scheme where they face particularly high expenses. This assessment is based on net income and assessable outgoing expenses and the qualifying income thresholds under this scheme are lower than over 70s gross income thresholds.

Furthermore, persons aged over 70 years may still be eligible for a medical card on a discretionary basis where they face undue hardship in arranging medical services as a result of medical or social circumstances.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (601)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

601. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21165/14]

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.