Medical Card Appeals

Questions (177)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

177. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of an appeal under the medical card scheme by a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41958/15]

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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.

If the Deputy has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office who will follow up the matter with them.

Hospital Procedures

Questions (178)

Joan Collins

Question:

178. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Health if it is or ever has been the practice of any Irish maternity hospital, especially the National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street in Dublin 2, to record surgeries, including emergency surgeries, visually as a matter of course (details supplied). [41959/15]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials will follow the matter up.

Ambulance Service Response Times

Questions (179)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

179. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health if he is aware of a serious incident that resulted in the death of a person (details supplied) in Celbridge in County Kildare, where an ambulance was sent from St. James's Hospital in Dublin as opposed to from Maynooth in County Kildare and took 45 minutes to reach the injured person; the reason the ambulance was sent from St. James's Hospital as opposed to from Maynooth; his views that the length of time it took for the ambulance to arrive is acceptable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41960/15]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Firstly I would like to express my sympathy to the family of the person concerned.

The Government is committed to the improvement of our ambulance services. A significant reform programme is under way to reconfigure the way pre-hospital care services are managed and delivered. To this end, the NAS received an increase of €5.4m in funding in 2015, to improve technology and clinical audit and address gaps in service. Further additional funding will be provided to the NAS in 2016.

I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy in relation to the specific information sought by him. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials will follow the matter up.

Prescriptions Charges

Questions (180)

Robert Dowds

Question:

180. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Health the rationale for the €2.50 charge for the acquisition of medicine for those with a medical card. [41963/15]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Prescription charges are part of a set of measures introduced by Government in recent years to reduce pharmaceutical drugs expenditure. Medical card holders are required to pay a prescription charge of €2.50 per item for medicines and other prescription items supplied to them by community pharmacists, subject to a cap of €25 per month for each person or family. Prescription charges do not apply to children in the care of the Health Service Executive, asylum seekers living in direct provision, or to methadone supplied to patients participating in the Methadone Treatment Scheme.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (181)

Arthur Spring

Question:

181. Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Health when an operation for a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will be carried out; if he is aware of delays in this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41965/15]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

The National Waiting List Management Policy, A standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for inpatient, 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, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials will follow the matter up.

Suicide Prevention

Questions (182)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

182. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health his plans to set up a suicide prevention authority (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41967/15]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I have no plans to set up a separate suicide prevention authority. This function is currently being carried out by the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) which was established in 2005 to oversee the implementation of the then national suicide prevention strategy and to co-ordinate suicide prevention initiatives around the country.

Earlier this year, the Government launched ‘Connecting for Life’, our new strategy to reduce suicide for the period 2015 – 2020. The new Strategy, which has an implementation focus on youth mental health, sets out a vision where fewer lives are lost through suicide, and where communities and individuals are empowered to improve their mental health and wellbeing. This includes a greater focus on the important area of support for families and communities in suicide prevention, and will include providing community-based organisations with guidelines, protocols and training on effective suicide prevention.

Connecting for Life provides a detailed and clear plan to achieve each of the goals it proposes, with defined actions and a lead agency and key partners in place for each individual objective. This plan will be supported by robust implementation and governance structures, as well as resourcing and communications frameworks. The Strategy assigns specific responsibility to the NOSP as a statutory agency to fulfil a number of tasks, including the development and implementation of surveillance systems, the implementation and evaluation of the Strategy, the development and provision of suicide prevention training and education programmes, increasing national awareness about suicide prevention and setting out a national suicide research and prevention programme. NOSP, together with the Department of Health, other Government Departments, NGO and community partners are proceeding with the implementation of Connecting for Life.

Funding for suicide prevention has increased significantly in recent years from €3.7 million in 2010 to the current level of €11.55 million, which includes an additional €2.75 million provided this year for additional Resource Officers for Suicide Prevention and for priority actions in Connecting for Life. I would like to assure the Deputy that dealing with the high levels of suicide and deliberate self harm is a priority for this Government, and this is reflected in the significant investment in suicide prevention and mental health services generally in recent years.

Dental Services Expenditure

Questions (183)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

183. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Health how the additional funding that has been allocated to dental and orthodontic services for public patients in the Health Service Executive is being dispersed throughout the country, particularly in the case of County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41979/15]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

A national procurement process is currently under way to provide treatment for certain categories of misalignment by a panel of independent practitioners under contract to the HSE over the next three years, with consideration of an extension to four years. This initiative will especially focus on those waiting for four years or longer. Tenders are currently being evaluated and it is expected that contracts will be awarded by the end of 2015.