Health Promotion

Questions (485)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

485. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health if he has considered making available therapeutic treatment for persons such as gym membership for persons who are depressed rather than always having drugs administered; if there is an estimated saving from this measure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24258/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

There are a number of treatment options for depression. The best and most appropriate treatment option depends on the individual case, the likely cause of depression and the severity of symptoms.

Treatment for depression usually involves a combination of medication, talking therapies - usually provided by a mental health professional, such as a counsellor, psychiatrist or psychologist - and self-help. In some cases, a combination of all three might be the most appropriate treatment plan for that individual. Regular exercise, reduction in caffeine intake and avoiding alcohol can also prove helpful when treating depression.

Depression is quite common and about one in ten people will experience depression at some point. However, the exact number of people with depression is hard to estimate because many people do not get help or are not formally diagnosed with the condition.

In Budgets 2012 and 2013 this Government provided a total of €7.5 million to facilitate the roll out of the Counselling in Primary Care (CIPC) initiative. This is a new national service which will improve access for people to counselling in a primary care setting. Medical card holders aged 18 and over who are referred by their GP or other member of the primary care team can have up to 8 counselling sessions to address mild to moderate psychological difficulties. No consideration has been given to the provision of gym membership to those presenting with depression and it is not possible to estimate the likely cost or savings accruing from such an initiative.

Sport and Recreational Development

Questions (486)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

486. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health if he has considered announcing a national sports week for adults similar to the national recreation week for children where the whole nation gets involved in runs and sporting activities to help keep the nation's people healthy and to deal with obesity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24259/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

My Department and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport are currently co-chairing a working group to develop a National Physical Activity Plan which is intended to encourage greater participation in, and greater recognition of the importance of, physical activity.

A range of actions are currently being considered which will encourage the population to be more active.

Shared Services

Questions (487)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

487. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health the shared services departments that exist in his Department and in the Health Service Executive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24260/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Department is currently providing shared service functions as detailed in the following table.

Department/Organisation

Shared Service Provided

Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Financial, Payroll and ICT Services

Family Support Agency (now part of the Child and Family Agency - Tusla)

ICT Services

Office of the Ombudsman for Children

ICT Services

Adoption Authority

ICT Services and an interim shared service in respect of Financial Services pending the establishment of their own Finance Function

The Department completed the transition phase of our HR transactional services to the HR Shared Service Centre (HRSSC) - PeoplePoint in August 2013.

As part of the Deputy's question refers to operational matters in the HSE, I have referred that aspect of the question to the HSE for direct reply to him.

National Children's Hospital

Questions (488)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

488. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health the members and expertise of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board; the details regarding the appointment of a design team; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24262/14]

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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 as Minister and for this Government. The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board is responsible for this priority capital project, and is focused on delivering the new hospital on schedule, to optimal design and value for money. On 2 August last, I announced the appointment to the Development Board of a Chair and Board members with the necessary construction, architectural, engineering, planning and procurement expertise to deliver this complex and large-scale project.

The members of the Board are: Mr. Tom Costello (Chairperson); Mr. Tim Bouchier Hayes; Ms. Anne Butler; Mr John Cole CBE; Mr Brian Fitzgerald; Professor Ian Hann; Professor Hilary Hoey; Mr. Karl Kent; Mr John Martin; Mr. Paul Quinn; Dr Tony O'Connell; Ms Marguerite Sayers. Further details about Board members are at www.newchildrenshospital.ie. I am confident that the Board, working with the HSE, with my Department and with the Children's Hospital Group Board, will ensure the successful completion of the hospital, co-located with St James's on its campus.

The Board is currently in the final stage of design team procurement with the aim being to appoint the full design team shortly and to submit a planning application in February 2015 following design development.

Orthodontic Service Provision

Questions (489)

Seán Fleming

Question:

489. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Laois will receive orthodontic treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24263/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE provides orthodontic treatment to patients based on their level of clinical need. An individual's access to orthodontic treatment is determined against a set of clinical guidelines and priority is given to patients with greatest needs. The HSE has been asked to examine the specific query raised by the Deputy and to reply to him as soon as possible.

Alcohol Pricing

Questions (490)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

490. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health his plans to deal with below cost selling of alcohol; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24270/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Addressing the price of alcohol is an important component of any long-term strategic approach to tackling alcohol misuse. There is a link between consumption and harm and evidence that affordability is one of the drivers of increased consumption. The Government has approved an extensive package of measures to deal with alcohol misuse, to be incorporated in a Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. These measures are based on the recommendations contained in the Steering Group Report on a National Substance Misuse Strategy.

The Government has decided that minimum unit pricing is the most effective policy measure to deal with the sale of alcohol at cheap prices. Minimum unit pricing is a mechanism of imposing a statutory floor in price levels per gram of alcohol that must be legally observed by retailers in both the on and off trade sector. This is a targeted measure, designed to prevent the sale of alcohol at very cheap prices. It is mainly aimed at those who are higher risk, such as adolescents and people who have a harmful and hazardous alcohol consumption pattern. It should therefore only have a marginal effect on moderate drinkers. It is not expected that minimum unit pricing will affect the price of alcohol in the on-trade sector or the majority of alcohol products sold in the off-trade sector.

A health impact assessment, in conjunction with Northern Ireland, has been commissioned as part of the process of developing a legislative basis for minimum unit pricing. The assessment will study the impact of different minimum prices on a range of areas such as health, crime and likely economic impact. The study should be finalised shortly. Work on developing a framework for the necessary Department of Health legislation is continuing. It is hoped to publish a General Scheme of a Bill shortly.

Long-Term Illness Scheme Applications

Questions (491)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

491. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Health if Crohn's disease will be added to the list of long-term illness scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24296/14]

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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.

Medical Card Reviews

Questions (492)

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

492. Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Health if he will provide details of the 5,433 people who by March 2014 were found to be ineligible for medical cards, the number of those persons who were in nursing homes at the time the review was conducted; if he will confirm there was no change to the January 2014 medical card-GP visit card national assessment guidelines for persons aged 70 years and over income exceeds the income limits for the scheme, if it is possible that he or she may still qualify under the general medical card-GP visit card scheme, if his or her circumstances are causing financial hardship, for example on medical costs, nursing home costs and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24297/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I have asked the HSE to provide the information on reviews directly to the Deputy.

I can confirm to the Deputy that there has been no change whereby 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 (493)

John McGuinness

Question:

493. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health if an early date for an urgent operation will be arranged at St. James Hospital, Dublin, in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will expedite the matter. [24303/14]

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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 2014, 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 the Deputy on this matter.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (494)

John McGuinness

Question:

494. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health if a medical card will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny. [24308/14]

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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.

Mental Health Services Provision

Questions (495)

Denis Naughten

Question:

495. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the dates of meetings to plan for the closure of Teach de hIde mental health day centre in Roscommon town; if a patient advocate was present at such meetings; the consultation that took place with clients and their families in advance of the decision; the process involved in assessing the suitability of the move for each client of the service to a training centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24314/14]

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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.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (496)

John McGuinness

Question:

496. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health if a medical card will be renewed immediately in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny [24315/14]

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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 Admissions

Questions (497)

John McGuinness

Question:

497. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a hospital admission date in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will expedite the matter. [24329/14]

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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.

Hospitals Expenditure

Questions (498)

Seán Kenny

Question:

498. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Health the amount Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9 spent on laundry services in 2012 and 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24335/14]

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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.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (499)

John McGuinness

Question:

499. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health if an operation will be expedited in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24336/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I have asked the HSE to investigate this case and respond to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (500)

John McGuinness

Question:

500. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health if an early appointment will be arranged at Waterford Regional Hospital in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow. [24339/14]

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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.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (501)

John McGuinness

Question:

501. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health if an early appointment will be arranged at St. Lukes Hospital, Kilkenny in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow. [24355/14]

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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.