HSE Staff Remuneration

Questions (821)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

821. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health the Health Service Executive pension entitlements of a person (details supplied) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22719/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is an operational matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Suicide Prevention

Questions (822)

Denis Naughten

Question:

822. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the specific measures which are currently in place, and planned developments in the area of suicide prevention; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22721/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Department of Health and the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention are jointly managing the development of a new Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention, for the period 2015-2018. This Framework will build on and move forward the work being implemented under Reach Out 2005-2014, the present strategy in this area.

The Framework will present the key priorities to be addressed and will guide and be supported by robust implementation plans. The objective in developing the new Framework is to present to the population, based on the best national and international evidence, a set of priority action areas that will contribute to reducing suicide behaviour in Ireland. A Planning Oversight Group, and 5 Advisory Groups reporting to it, have been established to assist in the development of a new Strategic Framework. These groups are being populated with relevant personnel from the HSE, Statutory and NGO sector, and are addressing the areas of Research, Policy, Practice Improvement, Engagement and Communications & Media.

The process of developing the Framework will include a public consultation process, a review of the evidence base for suicide prevention and the commissioning of a review of epidemiological data relating to suicide in Ireland. The new Framework, which will be completed by the end of 2014, will support other relevant Government Policies, including A Vision for Change, Healthy Ireland and the National Substance Misuse Strategy. This renewed focus will provide for improved coordination and integration of services to ensure that pathways of care for persons at risk of suicide or in suicidal crisis can be accessible, acceptable and available.

The role of the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention is to oversee the implementation of the present suicide prevention strategy and to coordinate suicide prevention initiatives around the country. In this regard, I have asked the HSE to reply directly to the Deputy in relation to the specific measures currently in place for suicide prevention.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (823)

Robert Troy

Question:

823. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a full medical card in respect of a person (details supplied). [22735/14]

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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.

Maternity Services

Questions (824)

Clare Daly

Question:

824. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Questions No. 28 of 14 May 2014 and No. 212 of 26 March 2014, now that he has established for us that the What’s Up Mum website is a private business enterprise, and in view of the fact that it fails to mention the full range of publicly-funded maternity services which are midwife-led, which services contribute to a reduction in the rate of caesareans now at an unacceptably high level in this country as revealed in two recent rigorous Irish pieces of research, if he will instruct the Health Service Executive to remove its endorsement of this website which signally fails to present current international best evidence on pregnancy and birth. [22739/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As stated in my answer of 14 May, the Health Service Executive is committed to improving women's healthcare choices. It does not promote one model of maternity care over another. The information on the website is for general education and information and does not purport to be complete or exhaustive. Women should seek advice regarding the models of care available from their family doctor or from the maternity unit of their choice.

Medical Card Administration

Questions (825)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

825. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding inadequate information being provided to the elderly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22740/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I am aware that the HSE has a suite of correspondence for medical card/GP visit card applications and reviews.

I am advised that, having completed a full assessment of an application or review, a letter issues to the applicant advising of the decision thereon. If a review of an application is assessed as ineligible or eligible for a GP visit card only, the letter issued informing the applicant of this decision will include an explanation of how the application was assessed and the details of the means assessment calculated on the application.

Applicants will be advised that they can request a review of the HSE decision if they believe their financial or other circumstances have not been correctly assessed. They will also be requested to provide any additional relevant information or details of any change in circumstances since their original application. In addition, the letter will notify the applicant of the option to appeal the decision and the contact details of the Appeals Office.

Where applicants submit an application without any additional medical documentation and are refused, they will receive a letter giving a calculation of the guideline thresholds and where these have been exceeded. Also, at this stage, they are informed of the option to furnish further medical documentation to support their application. If furnished, the application will be again examined, reviewed by a Medical Officer, as appropriate and the outcome of the assessment advised by the HSE to the client.

I have asked the Health Service Executive to examine the particulars of this matter and to reply to the Deputy, as soon as possible, as to the nature of the correspondence that issued.

Hospital Appointments Administration

Questions (826)

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

826. Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Cork referred to Cork University Hospital for orthopaedic treatment will be given an appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22741/14]

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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.

National Children's Hospital Status

Questions (827)

Brendan Smith

Question:

827. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the proposed new national children's hospital; when this project is likely to proceed to the next stage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22773/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The new children's hospital is a commitment in the Programme for Government and is a priority for me and for this Government. The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board is responsible for delivering the new hospital on schedule, to optimal design and value for money. The Board’s membership reflects the skills and expertise required to achieve that, including construction, planning, engineering, procurement and architecture as well as clinical and stakeholder involvement. The Board is now in the final phase of the selection process for the appointment of a design team. The full design team is expected to be appointed in June, following which design development will begin, in order to submit an application for planning permission in February 2015. Construction is scheduled to commence in August 2015, and the transition of services to the new hospital is on schedule to commence at the end of 2018.

Departmental Staff Data

Questions (828)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

828. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the number of staff working in the PCRS unit in Finglas, Dublin 11 to process medical card applications; if additional staff have been allocated to work on the increased number of reviews of medical cards currently being carried out by the PCRS unit. [22776/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I have asked the Health Service Executive for a report on the issue raised by the Deputy. I will revert to the Deputy on the matter as soon as possible.

Medical Card Data

Questions (829)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

829. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health if he will provide a breakdown of the number of medical card applications submitted in hard copy form and those submitted via the online application process in the years 2013 and to date in 2014. [22777/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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.

Medical Card Administration

Questions (830)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

830. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 24 of 14 May 2014, if his officials will work with the National Adult Literacy Agency to develop a more user friendly guide for medical card applicants and persons subject to reviews of medical card applications to be fully appraised of the extent and level of documentation required on their income and any medical conditions they may have; and if he will indicate in the case of discretionary medical cards if a specific more user friendly process for applicants can be devised. [22778/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy will be aware, all medical card and GP visit card holders are subject to a periodic review of eligibility to determine continuing eligibility.

All applications or reviews concerning medical and GP visit cards must be supported with a range of documentation. This requirement is clearly outlined on the relevant forms and where such supporting documentation is not supplied, or is incomplete, the HSE will issue correspondence to the applicant, specifying the additional information required.

The HSE has recently redesigned the Medical Card and GP Visit Card application forms with the help and assistance of the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA). The revised forms have a more user friendly design and have been made simpler to understand and complete. A revised ‘help and information’ section is included on the forms explaining the eligibility criteria for a Medical Card/GP Visit Card and the assessment process. The forms have been accredited the NALA approval rating for Plain English use.

In addition, a step by step video aid to completing the application form has been produced and is available to view on the HSE website HSE.ie. The website also contains comprehensive information on how to apply for a Medical Card/GP Visit Card, eligibility criteria, the assessment process, how to request a review or appeal of a decision, contact details and frequently asked questions section.

The HSE local health offices can be contacted or visited by any person who wishes to be assisted in completing their Medical Card/GP Visit Card application form or who wishes to have clarified any aspect regarding the process of assessing eligibility for a Medical Card/GP Visit Card; an information phone line 1890 252 919 is available to the public in this regard and the operating hours of this service have been extended and it is now operating from 8.00 am to 20.00 pm Monday to Friday.

The Deputy may be aware that, in response to concerns about the process of medical card assessment, the HSE is developing a revised approach to how it deals with applications by persons with illnesses.

Medical Card Administration

Questions (831)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

831. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 24 of 14 May 2014, in relation to the ability of general practitioners to allow temporary extension of eligibility for expiring cards where a sensitive renewal is appropriate, if he will provide details on the guidelines laid out for GPs to determine when such a temporary extension can be effected; and if he has figures on the number of such extensions which have been effected to date in 2014. [22779/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I have asked the Health Service Executive for a report on the issue raised by the Deputy. I will revert to the Deputy on the matter as soon as possible.

Medical Card Administration

Questions (832)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

832. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 24 of 14 May 2014, what is meant by the statement in the reply that well in excess of 95% of applications were processed within the target of 15 working days; if this means that this is the level of applications which are fully decided or if it refers to the level of applications which have been first looked at within 15 working days. [22780/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Primary Care Reimbursement Service has a target to have 90% of properly completed medical / GP visit card applications processed within 15 days of the application having been received by the HSE. The current turnaround is 95% within 15 days. This refers to applications, again properly completed, that enable an assessor to make a determination on eligibility under the scheme.

The length of time that it takes for applicants to receive a decision on their medical card applications where a fully completed application form was not submitted, depends on how quickly the applicants respond to the subsequent request for additional information. Applications that remain in process outside of the 15 day period due to incomplete applications, and where the applicant is engaging with the process, are facilitated so that eligibility may be retained in the interim. Once the documentation is received, their assessment is prioritised without delay. This process applies to renewal applications also.

HSE Funding

Questions (833)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

833. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 1202 and 1203, if there are any arrears of funding outstanding from the National Ambulance Service to Dublin Fire Brigade in the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and to date in 2014. [22781/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to the Deputy's further question on this matter, I have again asked the Health Service Executive to respond to him directly.

Hospital Appointment Status

Questions (834)

Michael McGrath

Question:

834. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a hospital appointment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [22782/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Hospital Appointments Administration

Questions (835)

John O'Mahony

Question:

835. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive a date for a hip operation; the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22783/14]

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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.

In relation to the particular query raised by the Deputy, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to him on this matter.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (836)

Michael Ring

Question:

836. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health when a decision will issue on a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo. [22785/14]

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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.