Medical Card Appeals

Questions (218)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

218. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card appeal in respect of a person (details suplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23916/14]

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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 Applications

Questions (219)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

219. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23917/14]

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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 Appeals

Questions (220)

Emmet Stagg

Question:

220. Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health the reason a refund of expenses incurred when a medical card was incorrectly suspended has not been provided in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare. [23935/14]

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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.

Electronic Cigarettes

Questions (221)

Seán Kyne

Question:

221. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Health if records are kept regarding the sale of e-cigarette and associated products; the level of VAT that has been obtained from the sale of e-cigarettes in each of the past three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23943/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Neither my Department nor the Health Service Executive collects information in relation to the sale of e-cigarettes and associated products. With regard to the level of VAT obtained from the sale of e-cigarettes for the past three years, I have been informed by the Revenue Commissioners that there are no statistics available on the estimate VAT receipts on e-cigarettes. The information furnished on VAT returns does not require the yield from particular products to be identified.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (222)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

222. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Health the way in which gross income for medical cards can be considered for over 70s applicants when only their net income is disposable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23959/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Automatic eligibility for a medical card for persons aged 70 years and over was difficult to justify in the then economic and fiscal climate. Under the Health Act 2008, automatic entitlement to a medical card for persons aged 70 and over ended on 31 December 2008. Under the arrangements effected by the Act, a revised system of assessment for eligibility was introduced for those 70 years of age and over, based on the significantly higher gross income limits rather than the standard net income thresholds. This advantageous arrangement for persons aged over 70 years has facilitated a much greater share of this cohort qualifying for a medical card compared to the general population as a whole.

In the main, persons in the over-70s age cohort do not have the same outlays and expenses as those under 70 years of age who are assessed on a means basis. Under the standard means tested medical card scheme, allowance may be made for rent/mortgage, travel to work and child care costs. Generally, for the over 70s, mortgages have been cleared, children have been catered for and they would not have travel to work related costs.

However, 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, e.g., nursing home or medication costs. As I have outlined, 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 where discretion is exercised where they face undue hardship in arranging medical services as a result of medical or social circumstances.

Hospital Staff

Questions (223)

Dan Neville

Question:

223. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Health the number of attacks on staff working in the mental health sector in the mid-west region in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23960/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Long-Term Illness Scheme Eligibility

Questions (224)

Michael Ring

Question:

224. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health if persons over the age of 16 years can avail of free drugs and medicine to treat mental illness with a long-term illness card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23961/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Mental Illness (under 16) is one of the illnesses covered under the Long Term Illness Scheme. There are no plans to extend the coverage of mental illness under the Scheme to those who are 16 years of age and over.

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.

In addition, people who cannot, without undue hardship, arrange for the provision of medical services for themselves and their dependants may be entitled to a medical card. In the assessment process, the Health Service Executive 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.

Driving Test

Questions (225)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

225. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding sitting a theory test in respect of a person (details supplied). [23653/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The operation of the driver testing service is the responsibility of the Road Safety Authority, and I have no role in individual cases.

I have received the same correspondence from the individual in question, and am replying directly. 

While I cannot comment on individual cases, the legal issues are as follows.  The Licensing of Drivers Regulations define design gross vehicle weight as "the gross weight of the vehicle laden with the heaviest load which it can reasonably carry having regard to the engine capacity, brakes, tyres and general construction of the vehicle."  The RSA is therefore correct in referring to the laden rather than unladen weight.

In regard to the amnesty issue, driver licensing law was changed in 1989.  Before then, one category covered driving a car and driving a car plus trailer.  After that, the two were split.  People with a licence before that date were entitled to claim both new categories when renewing their licence.  Inadvertently but understandably, many did not, and so lost their entitlement to a trailer. 

Last year, in response to representations from farming organisations, I agreed to allow those licence holders who held a full licence for car and car plus trailer before the change in 1989, and had inadvertently lost it to reclaim it.  The Road Safety Authority set out a time period in late last year within which drivers who could prove that they had held a full licence pre-1989 could reclaim their trailer entitlement.  This was a once-off opportunity to reclaim the licence.