General Practitioner Services

Questions (789)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

789. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health his plans regarding the different phasing arrangements for the introduction of free GP care for all and the timescale proposed. [22598/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is committed to introducing, on a phased basis, a universal GP service without fees within its term of office, as set out in the Programme for Government and the Future Health strategy framework. As announced in the Budget, it has been decided to commence the roll-out of a universal GP service by providing all children aged 5 and under with access to a GP service without fees. This will mean that almost half of the population will have access to GP services without fees. The Government is providing new, additional funding of €37 million to meet the cost of this measure which will provide a GP service to approximately 240,000 children that must currently pay to see a GP.

The implementation of this new service requires primary legislation. In that respect, the Health (General Practitioner Service) Bill 2014 was published on 23 April 2014. Second stage debate in Oireachtas is expected by end of May, with a view to enactment by July. The phasing of the universal GP service for the balance of the population is under active consideration and a decision will be made by the Government in due course.

HSE Expenditure

Questions (790)

Brian Walsh

Question:

790. Deputy Brian Walsh asked the Minister for Health the amounts paid to private companies for pest control services by the Health Service Executive during the years 2009 to 2013, inclusive, and if he will provide a breakdown of the figures citing the amount paid in respect of each HSE acute hospital in each year. [22614/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (791)

Tom Fleming

Question:

791. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health if he will expedite a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22617/14]

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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.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (792)

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

792. Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the extension of a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 4; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22620/14]

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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.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (793)

Michael McCarthy

Question:

793. Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card in respect of a child (details supplied) in County Cork. [22621/14]

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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.

Hospital Appointment Status

Questions (794)

Seán Fleming

Question:

794. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Laois will receive a day procedure in St. James's Hospital and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22624/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (795)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

795. 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. [22626/14]

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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.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (796)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

796. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health in view of the fact that it has now been stated by the Health Service Executive that the vacant social worker post and the vacant speech therapist post in County Kerry where Saint Francis's Special School in Beaufort has been cut out of these vital supports over the past couple of months are going to be advertised; where they will be advertised; the number of posts that will go to County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22630/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive has recognised the need to increase the level of consistency and standardisation in the way services for children with disabilities are delivered. It is currently engaged in a reconfiguration of existing therapy resources to multi-disciplinary geographic based teams for children as part of its National Programme on Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People (0-18 years).

The aim of the Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People Programme is to achieve a national, unified approach to delivering disability health services so that there is a clear pathway to services for all children, regardless of where they live, what school they go to or the nature of their disability.

The Programme is organised at national, regional and local level and includes representatives from the health and education sectors, non-statutory service providers and parents. An additional €4m has been specifically allocated in 2014 to drive implementation of the Programme. This equates to approximately 80 therapy posts.

As recruitment is a service matter for the Health Service Executive, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Medical Card Eligibility

Question No. 798 withdrawn.

Questions (797)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

797. 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. [22636/14]

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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.

Question No. 798 withdrawn.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (799)

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

799. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow is having a medical card reviewed so soon after being reviewed and reissued with a card late last year; the way a person living with polio poliomyelitis which left them paralysed from the waist down and a full-time wheelchair user as well as post-polio syndrome, scoliosis of the spine for which they had a spinal and lumbar fusion and resulting chronic back pain, scleroderma, which is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease, and Raynaud's disease, can not automatically be entitled to a medical card. [22644/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the provisions of the Health Acts, medical cards are provided to persons who are, in the opinion of the Health Service Executive, unable without undue hardship to arrange GP services for themselves and their dependants. Under the legislation, medical card entitlement is not granted on the basis of a particular disease or illness. However, if an applicant's means are above the financial thresholds as set out in the national guidelines, the HSE routinely examines for indications of medical or social circumstances which might result in undue financial hardship in arranging medical services and, exercising discretion, may grant eligibility for a medical card on this basis.

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine the particulars of 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

Question No. 801 answered with Question No. 749.

Questions Nos. 802 and 803 answered with Question No. 800.

Questions (800, 802, 803)

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

800. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Health the reason the medical card section cannot or will not make a direct call to the relevant doctor to ascertain if medical card recipients' outlined medical circumstances have changed since they last applied. [22645/14]

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Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

802. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Health if he will consider making it permissible for the medical card section to confirm with local authorities whether the person's rent has changed since last reviewed. [22647/14]

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Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

803. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Health if he will consider making it the task of the staff of the medical card section to gather the relevant information from the professional bodies concerned when assessing medical card applications from disabled persons. [22648/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 800, 802 and 803 together.

The 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.

Question No. 801 answered with Question No. 749.
Questions Nos. 802 and 803 answered with Question No. 800.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (804)

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

804. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Health the way the removal of the medical card fits with the Government's Healthy Ireland – A Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing (details supplied); if the key to this approach is as stated a focus on prevention and whole of society approach to improving health; the way the removal of the vital support of a medical card for people with disabilities in the workforce is compatible with that Government policy document. [22651/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Healthy Ireland, the Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing 2013 – 2025 is the national framework for action to improve the health and wellbeing of all those living in the country over the coming generations regardless of medical card status.

The Framework, which is underpinned by a number of ethical and guiding principles for implementation, places a strong emphasis on an evidence-based approach, reflecting national and international best practice, and takes a life course approach aimed at achieving four main goals:

- Increase the proportion of people who are healthy at all stages of life

- Reduce health inequalities

- Protect the public from threats to health and wellbeing

- Create an environment where every individual and sector of society can play their part in achieving a healthy Ireland.

Healthy Ireland supports a whole-of-government approach to address the determinants and predictors of health and wellbeing, many of which fall outside the health sector, e.g. housing, transportation, education, workplaces and environment along with an individual's socio-economic status.

Obesity Strategy

Questions (805, 929)

Finian McGrath

Question:

805. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health if he will support the proposal on the growing obesity issues raised in correspondence (details supplied) by weight management centres and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22655/14]

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Martin Heydon

Question:

929. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Health his plans to address queries in relation to the provision of weight management clinics and related issues (details supplied) and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23223/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 805 and 929 together.

I have established the Special Action Group on Obesity (SAGO) comprising representatives from relevant Government Departments, the HSE, the Food Safety Authority, members of academia, service professionals and safefood to examine and progress a number of issues to address the problem of overweight and obesity in Ireland.

Furthermore, Healthy Ireland supports a whole-of-government approach to address the determinants and predictors of health and well-being, many of which fall outside the health sector, e.g. housing, transportation, education, workplaces and environment along with an individual's socio-economic status. Comprehensive, multilevel approaches are required to address the obesity epidemic and the work of SAGO and Healthy Ireland is on-going in this regard.

Progress has been made on the Healthy Eating guidelines, Calories on Menus initiative and the Report on Recommendations to reduce consumption of high fat, salt and sugar foods and drinks from the Top Shelf of the Food Pyramid.

As one of the measures specifically designed to combat Childhood Obesity, I launched the safefood/HI/HSE three year Childhood Obesity Campaign – Childhood Obesity: Let's take it on – one small step at a time - which is designed to create greater awareness among parents about the threat of childhood overweight and obesity and provide practical tips to help address the problem with the ultimate aim and effecting behaviour change.

The Deputy might also wish to note that my Department is developing a new obesity policy this year which will have a significant impact on the obesity agenda, provide a framework for action based on a number of informants and help lead inter-sectoral work in addressing overweight and obesity in Ireland.

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