HSE Agency Staff

Questions (901)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

901. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Questions Numbers 1074, 1075 and 1076 of 25 March 2014, when he expects the Health Service Executive will issue a reply. [23069/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Due to a technical error, it appears that these earlier Parliamentary Questions have not been seen by the HSE. I have asked them to respond to you directly on these matters as soon as possible.

Treatment Abroad Scheme

Questions (902)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

902. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 22 is not receiving PRS ablation treatment for chronic neuropathic pain as frequently as required; when this person will be given a date for spinal cord simulator treatment; and if they will be considered for inclusion under the treatment abroad scheme for deep brain simulator treatment. [23070/14]

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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 her directly.

Health Services

Questions (903)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

903. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Health the steps a community needs to take to get a defibrillator with 24 hour access; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23082/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (904)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

904. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Health if he will expedite an operation in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23083/14]

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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 her on this matter.

Nursing Staff Provision

Questions (905)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

905. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to recent correspondence from a nursing home (details supplied) in County Dublin, regarding severe nursing shortages; if he will take urgent action to address this matter through either the provision of an extra clinical facilitator for Beaumont Hospital or the approval of this nursing home to do its own nursing adaptations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23085/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

My Department initiated discussions with the Health Service Executive (HSE) to increase the number of adaptation places for nurses and midwives wishing to work in Ireland. As a result, the Office of the Nursing and Midwifery Services Director has been actively working with HSE Acute Hospital Services and Nursing Homes Ireland to increase the number of adaptation and assessment places available to nurses and midwives who require these placements. A one year project will commence shortly which should result in an increased number of places being available from July 2014. Arrangements have been finalised for this project and a communication has been issued by the Office of the Nursing and Midwifery Services Director to the Chief Executive of Nursing Homes Ireland in this regard.

Drugs Payment Scheme Coverage

Questions (906)

Clare Daly

Question:

906. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 693 of 25 February 2014, with regard to the refusal to cover Fampridine tablets under the reimbursement scheme, if he will revisit the decision in view of the serious benefit it was providing for MS sufferers and the fact that to get the drug is now costing them almost €400 per month. [23097/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy is aware, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is responsible for the administration of the primary care schemes. The HSE received an application for the inclusion of Fampridine (Fampyra®) in the GMS and community drugs schemes. As I stated in reply to Parliamentary Question No. 693 of 25th February 2014, the application was considered in line with the procedures and timescales agreed by the Department of Health and the HSE with the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) for the assessment of new medicines. In accordance with these procedures, the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE) conducted a pharmacoeconomic evaluation of Fampridine and concluded that, as the manufacturer was unable to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of fampridine in the Irish healthcare setting, it was unable to recommend the reimbursement of the product. The report is available on the NCPE's website (www.ncpe.ie). The HSE assessment process is intended to arrive at a decision on the funding of new medicines that is clinically appropriate, fair, consistent and sustainable. In these circumstances, the HSE has not approved the reimbursement of Fampridine under the GMS or other community drug schemes.

Tobacco Control Measures

Questions (907)

Clare Daly

Question:

907. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health the assessment that has been undertaken in relation to the impact that his proposals to deal with tobacco will have on the 60 family businesses engaged in the tobacco vending business and the 145 people employed in the area. [23098/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy will be aware, Ireland's public health policy objective in relation to tobacco control is to promote and subsequently move toward a tobacco free society. Tobacco Free Ireland, the report of the Tobacco Policy Review Group, sets a target for Ireland to be tobacco free by 2025. In practice, this will mean a smoking prevalence rate of less than 5%. The two key themes underpinning the report are protecting children and the denormalisation of smoking. Tobacco Free Ireland addresses a range of tobacco control issues and initiatives and contains over 60 recommendations, including the future regulation of the tobacco retail environment.

Under current Irish tobacco control legislation, a retailer wishing to sell tobacco products, whether over the counter or from a self-service vending machine, must register with the HSE National Tobacco Control Office and be placed on the Retail Register for the sale of tobacco products. Under the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2002, as amended, the HSE may charge a fee as may be determined by the Minister for Health. To date, this has been a once off fee of €50 per applicant. As part of a budgetary measure in October 2013, I announced my intention to increase the Retail Register fee during 2014, in the context of legislation to provide for the licensing of the sale of tobacco products as outlined in Tobacco Free Ireland. Any proposed legislation in this regard will be subject to a Regulatory Impact Analysis.

Medical Card Reviews

Questions (908, 909, 910)

Arthur Spring

Question:

908. Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Health the monthly percentage in variation, not amount, from the monthly mean of medical card reviews issued in the preceding 12 months in which the relevant data is available. [23100/14]

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Arthur Spring

Question:

909. Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Health the monthly percentage in variation, not amount, from the monthly mean of under 70 medical card reviews issued in the preceding 12 months in which the relevant data is available. [23101/14]

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Arthur Spring

Question:

910. Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Health the monthly percentage in variation, not amount, from the monthly mean of over 70 medical card reviews issued in the preceding 12 months in which the relevant data is available. [23102/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 908 to 910, inclusive, 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.

Home Help Service Provision

Questions (911)

Tom Fleming

Question:

911. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health if he will provide home help to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23103/14]

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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.

National Drugs Strategy Budget

Questions (912)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

912. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Health with regard to the potential loss of the parent support liaison nurse in north Wicklow, if he will commit to retaining the role, as a vital component of the efforts to protect children from the societal and familial impact of drug addiction (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23110/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The National Drugs Strategy sets out drugs policy in Ireland for the period up to 2016. The Strategy contains a number of actions designed to assist families experiencing difficulties due to drug/alcohol use, including family support, parenting skills programmes and targeted measures focusing on the children of problem drug and/or alcohol users aimed at breaking the cycle and safeguarding the next generation. As the specific matter raised by the Deputy is a service issue, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Children in Care

Questions (913)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

913. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Health if he will instruct the Health Service Executive to provide suitable residential care in respect of a child (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23111/14]

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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 Reviews

Questions (914)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

914. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health the position regarding medical card reviews in respect of elderly persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23112/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In Budget 2014, it was announced that the gross income limit for an over-70s medical card is to be set at €500 per week for a single person and at €900 per week for a couple. The new income limits were effective from 1st January 2014. The HSE is required to identify those persons who no longer have full eligibility as a result of this change and, in place of the medical card, issue a GP visit card to those with gross income up to €700 (single person)/€1,400 (couple) per week. In this regard, the HSE has written to those 50,000 over-70s that it believes may be in excess of the new income limits. Any over-70s that lose their medical card due to the budget changes will continue to have access to free GP services. This is in line with the introduction, on a phased basis, of a universal GP service without fees, as set out in the Programme for Government and the Future Health strategy framework. In addition, any over-70s that lose their medical card due to the budget changes will be able to use the DPS (Drugs Payment Scheme) which caps spending on prescription drugs.

It should also be noted that 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.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (915)

Michael McGrath

Question:

915. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health when a child (details supplied) in County Cork will undergo necessary surgery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23118/14]

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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.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (916)

Michael McGrath

Question:

916. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health his plans to increase the number of surgery theatre slots at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin in order to reduce waiting times for orthopaedic surgery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23119/14]

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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.