Question No. 31 answered with Question No. 6.

Question No. 32 answered with Question No. 27.

Hospital Staff Data

Questions (33)

John Halligan

Question:

33. Deputy John Halligan asked the Minister for Health if the physiotherapy posts in Waterford Regional Hospital have been filled; the number of persons working within the unit; if he will confirm on average the number of patients that come under their remit; the average waiting times for patients; his views on whether these are acceptable timeframes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21147/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The current physiotherapy staffing complement is 18.1 wte and there are currently 13.4 wtes employed; a recruitment process is underway to fill the vacant posts. All referrals to physiotherapy services in Waterford Regional Hospital are prioritised. There is a service to all hospital wards and new emerging needs are addressed within resources available and in accordance with priorities identified.

The current waiting times are 10 days for urgent treatment, 63 days for routine referrals and 120 days for women's health. Lymphoedema patients are seen within 10 days for assessment and garment fitting. In April 2014, 703 new patients and 323 review patients were seen and 2,506 treatments provided.

Health Services Access

Question No. 35 answered with Question No. 6.

Question No. 36 answered with Question No. 27.

Questions (34)

Mick Wallace

Question:

34. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to a recent report by Pavee Point on Roma maternal health here; his plans to address the barriers identified in the report that prevent Roma women from accessing health care, such as lack of clear and accessible information and the need for access to translation and interpretation services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21283/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE's National Social Inclusion Office has a remit for Roma health and has partnered in a number of initiatives aimed at providing access to services for members of the Roma community. The office has been closely involved in the series of thematic seminars hosted by Pavee Point in relation to the health and support needs of the Roma community.

The National Social Inclusion Office will review the recently published report "Roma Maternal Health in Ireland" and be informed by its findings. Following this review, consideration will be give to any further actions which may be necessary.

Question No. 35 answered with Question No. 6.
Question No. 36 answered with Question No. 27.

Universal Health Insurance Provision

Questions (37)

Michael McGrath

Question:

37. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health the budget he has in place to facilitate the introduction of universal health insurance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21257/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I intend to use existing resources to the greatest extent possible in preparing for the introduction of UHI. Overall responsibility for policy development and for driving the advancement of the groundwork necessary for implementation of UHI will be discharged by my Department from within the existing staffing complement and budget. As this policy advances, we will draw on resources of other agencies including the Health Insurance Authority.

This year there will be very modest expenditure on an independent thematic analysis of the submissions made as part of the consultation process on the White Paper on UHI. Further initiatives that are likely to give rise to additional costs over the coming months include the establishment of an independent Expert Commission to make recommendations to Government on the overall scope and composition of the future health basket and to provide costed options in relation to the services for inclusion in the standard UHI package.

Finally, my Department is currently embarking on a major comprehensive analysis of the estimated costs associated with the introduction of UHI in conjunction with various key agencies, including the Health Insurance Authority and other Government Departments. The work involved is complex and the need to engage additional expert analytical support for this purpose will be kept under review as the work progresses.

Medical Card Administration

Questions (38)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

38. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health the number of discretionary medical cards that have been taken off persons by the Health Service Executive in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21285/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As of 1 April 2014, 87,826 persons in County Donegal held medical card eligibility. Of that figure, 1,831 medical cards were granted involving discretion, where medical or social circumstances indicated financial hardship in arranging GP services. At 1 April 2013, 90,812 persons held medical card eligibility and, of this figure, 1,872 were granted involving discretion.

Eligibility for a medical card only exists for so long as a person continues to meet the criteria set out in the Health Acts. All medical card and GP visit card holders are subject to a periodic review to determine continuing eligibility. There is an element of "churn" involved in card numbers in any time period, as clients can lose eligibility for a period of time due to non-response, etc., which is subsequently restored following the client's appropriate engagement with the HSE.

The particular information sought by the Deputy is not readily available. However, I have asked the Health Service Executive to supply this information to me and I will forward it to the Deputy as soon as possible.