HSE Properties

Questions (171, 193)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

171. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if the Health Service Executive has any interest in leasing some of the properties (details supplied) in County Kerry as they would seem to be ideal for HSE services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23784/14]

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Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

193. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if the Health Service Executive has any interest in leasing properties (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23769/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 171 and 193 together.

The availability of property at a particular location does not determine the HSE's accommodation needs; rather, the delivery of health care services, as suitably prioritised, will always be the consideration. The health care service delivery objectives are set out in each year's annual Service Plan which is laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The senior manager with responsibility for the delivery of the health care service requiring accommodation must be satisfied that (a) the accommodation is required and (b) formally approve a detailed Business Proposal before a Business Case and a Property Transaction Application Form are completed. In addition, a decision to lease accommodation must deliver value for money and must be guided by The Public Financial Procedures (also known as the Blue Book) which states that 'In the longer term, purchasing will generally tend to provide better value for money than leasing. Contracting authorities should therefore ensure that, if leasing is to be availed of, the leasing contract to be availed of should be the best that can be concluded in the commercial circumstances obtaining'.

The HSE is also engaged in rationalising its property portfolio and is disposing of surplus assets by rescinding leases and selling property which is no longer required for service delivery.

Residential Institutions

Questions (172)

Seán Kenny

Question:

172. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Health if any inquiries are being made into, or if any official knowledge exists about, the burial of children at the children’s home in Tuam, County Galway between 1925 and 1961; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23905/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

This is a very serious matter and the full facts should be established. A number of Departments would be involved in determining the best way forward and my Department will lend whatever assistance it can as part of the way forward.

Cancer Screening Programmes

Questions (173)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

173. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding bowel cancer. [23644/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

BowelScreen, the National Bowel Screening Programme, commenced offering free bowel screening nationwide to men and women aged 60 to 69 years in late 2012. The programme is being implemented on a phased basis and will be expanded over time to the full 55-74 years target population.

The programme is focusing on those aged 60-69 years in the initial phase because, from a population perspective, this cohort will benefit most from bowel screening.

BowelScreen encourages everybody, regardless of age, to become more bowel aware and to contact their GP if they have any concerns.

Medical Card Reviews

Questions (174)

Billy Timmins

Question:

174. Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card review in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23654/14]

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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.

Dental Services Provision

Questions (175)

Sean Conlan

Question:

175. Deputy Seán Conlan asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Cavan will be approved for a procedure by the Health Service Executive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23659/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Dental Treatment Service Scheme (DTSS) provides access to dental treatment for adult medical card holders. All medical card holders are entitled to specific dental treatments e.g., an annual dental examination, two fillings in each calendar year, extractions as necessary. Additional treatments are available to persons with specific medical conditions including persons in receipt of care or services for a disability and persons on a register of disability.

The HSE has been asked to examine the specific query raised by the Deputy and to reply to him as soon as possible.

Long-Term Illness Scheme Coverage

Questions (176)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

176. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if he will add Crohn's disease to the list of illnesses covered under the long-term illness scheme. [23660/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Long Term Illness (LTI) Scheme was established under Section 59(3) of the Health Act, 1970 (as amended). Regulations were made in 1971, 1973 and 1975 specifying the conditions covered by the LTI Scheme. There are no plans to extend the list of conditions covered by the LTI Scheme.

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.

Under the provisions of the Health Acts, medical cards are provided to persons who are, in the opinion of the Health Service Executive (HSE), unable without undue hardship to arrange GP services for themselves and their dependants. In the assessment process, the HSE 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.

Health Services Staff

Questions (177)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

177. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health if it is the policy of his Department to recruit new graduates in Donegal mental health services over those who hold a qualification of longer standing who would be entitled to a higher rate of remuneration as a cost-cutting measure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23664/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In a time of very limited recruitment opportunities in the public service, up to 1,000 two-year contracts are being made available to graduate nurses and midwives in our health services under the Graduate Nurse/Midwifery Programme. In addition to giving employment opportunities, a major objective of the Nurse Graduate scheme is to put in place more cost-effective service delivery arrangements, having regard to the high rates of expenditure on agency staffing and overtime.

Under the Haddington Road Agreement it was agreed that participants will be paid 85% of the first point of the new entrant scale in the first year and 90% in the second. Alongside these valuable employment opportunities, those who take up offers will also be able to avail of supported further professional development. The scheme will support the retention of graduate nurses and midwives within the Irish health system and enable them to gain valuable work experience and development opportunities post-graduation. Participants will have access to a variety of care settings while gaining clinical experience. Under the Programme, by the end of April 2014 the recruitment of almost 500 graduate nurses was completed.

Subject to overall Government policy recruitment of staff is, under the Health Acts, a matter for the HSE. I have therefore, referred this question to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.