Home Help Service

Questions (495)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

495. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if contact can be made with persons (details supplied) with a view to facilitating home help; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9986/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (496)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

496. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Donegal will undergo a procedure at Letterkenny University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9992/18]

View answer

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 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 HSE, 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 the Deputy directly.

Medical Products

Questions (497)

Carol Nolan

Question:

497. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health if a decision (details supplied) will be reversed [9993/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Medicines play a vital role in improving the health of Irish patients. Securing access to existing and new and innovative medicines is a key objective of the  health service. However, the challenge is to do this in a safe and  sustainable manner. Treatment must be appropriate and proportionate and clinical decision-making, such as prescribing, should be based on both patient needs and sound medical evidence.

Lidocaine 5% medicated plasters are licensed for the localised relief of post-shingles pain in adults. This is the only licensed use for the patch in Ireland. It has been reimbursed in the community drugs schemes since 2010.

When the plasters were first introduced, the budget impact was low, because of the specific indication for which they are licensed. It was therefore a cause of clinical concern that, from 2012 on, usage increased significantly, to the point where, as a nation, we were using more plasters than the entire UK National Health Service, with ten times our population.

When a treatment is intended for a small group of patients, and evidence suggests that it is being used for many times that number, it is important and appropriate for clinicians to review its use. In 2016, the HSE Medicines Management Programme reviewed the use of the plasters. The review estimated that only 5-10% of prescribing had been for the licensed indication.

Following the clinical review, and in the interest of ensuring appropriate patient care, the HSE introduced a new reimbursement approval system for the patches from 1 September 2017. This process supports their appropriate use, ensuring that post-shingles patients continue to receive this treatment.

Under the new arrangements, all patients receiving lidocaine plasters for the licensed indication, shingles, were automatically approved on the HSE system. All of these patients continue to receive the treatment under the community schemes.

Non-shingles patients were given a three month grace period, in which their GP could move them to other treatments or apply for continued reimbursement.  However, from 1 December 2017, non-shingles patients were no longer automatically reimbursed under the community drugs schemes.

In order for non-shingles patients to receive the patch through the community schemes, their GP must apply online for continued reimbursement approval.  If an application is refused, the GP may appeal, making a clinical case for the patient.  The HSE advises that the turnaround time for applications is three working days and for appeals it is five days.

As of 16 February, approximately 1,500 post-shingles patients have been approved, and the plaster is being provided to those patients in the normal manner.

Another 4784 non-shingles patients were registered by their GP, and 14% of these patients, 670 people, have been approved.  In addition, 284 online appeals have been made, including patients who were never registered, and over 65% of these patients have been approved.

Over 2300 patients are now approved for the plaster in the drug schemes, with more than 850, over one third, approved for use other than post-shingles pain, based on the clinical case made by the GP.

It is clear that this new process supports appropriate use and prescribing and both post-shingles patients and other appropriate cases can continue to be treated with lidocaine plasters.

The introduction of the new approval system was flagged in August 2017, when details of the proposed changes were circulated by the HSE to prescribers and pharmacies. This advice has been re-issued in the last week, and information for patients and practitioners is on the HSE Medicines Management Programme website.

(http://hse.ie/eng/about/Who/clinical/natclinprog/medicinemanagementprogramme/yourmedicines/lidocaine-plaster/lidocaine-medicated-plaster.html ).

This decision is a matter for the HSE. However, I fully support the objectives of the HSE Medicines Management Programme.

Primary Care Centres Data

Questions (498)

John Curran

Question:

498. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health the number and location of primary care centres opened in each year from 2012, in tabular form; the centres directly funded and which were PPP respectively; if approval was granted for new primary care centres that have not yet opened; the location of these centres; the timeframe for each to become operational for each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10000/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The aim of primary care policy is to provide services in local communities so that people can be maintained in their own homes and communities for as long as possible.  The services and resources available within the primary care setting have the potential to prevent the development of conditions which might later require hospitalisation. They can also facilitate earlier hospital discharge. 

The development of Primary Care Centres to accommodate Primary Care Teams and, where possible, GPs in one location is an important enabler of more integrated primary care service delivery.

As the HSE has responsibility for the provision, along with the maintenance and operation of Primary Care Centres and other Primary Care facilities, the Executive has also been asked to reply directly to the Deputy in this matter.

Parking Charges

Questions (499)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

499. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the reason for the high cost of car parking charges at a hospital (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10011/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.

Nursing Staff Recruitment

Questions (500)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

500. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health if more advanced nurse practitioners will be appointed to the emergency department of Letterkenny University Hospital in view of the pressure the staff in that department are constantly under [10013/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The need to increase the numbers of consultants, doctors, nurses, and midwives in the public health service is a priority for this Government. The Government has allocated an additional €646 million in current expenditure to Health in Budget 2018, including funds for an additional 1,800 front line staff.

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.

Hospital Overcrowding

Questions (501)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

501. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health when the financial allocation applied for and required will be released to Letterkenny University Hospital to enable it to re-open its 19 bed short stay ward to assist with the overcrowding crisis at the hospital. [10014/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Tackling overcrowding is a key commitment of this Government and this year, as part of Budget 2018, an extra €30m was made available to respond to winter pressures in 2017, with a further €40m being provided in 2018. This funding is aimed at reducing overcrowding in our hospitals through the provision of extra capacity, such as increased bed capacity, and additional supports including social care measures aimed at assisting patients to return home or to an appropriate community setting after a stay in hospital.

Notwithstanding this investment, I acknowledge that there continues to be an unacceptable number of patients waiting on trolleys throughout the system and I can assure the Deputy that this issue remains a priority for me and my Department.

In relation to the specific question asked regarding the opening of a new short stay ward in Letterkenny, as this is a service matter I have referred it to the HSE for a direct response.

Hospital Beds Data

Questions (502, 503, 504, 505, 506, 507)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

502. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of beds at Buncrana nursing unit, County Donegal in each of the years 2007 to 2017 and to date in 2018 [10015/18]

View answer

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

503. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of beds at Carndonagh community hospital, County Donegal in each of the years 2007 to 2017 and to date in 2018. [10016/18]

View answer

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

504. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of beds at Ramelton nursing unit, County Donegal in each of the years 2007 to 2017 and to date in 2018 [10017/18]

View answer

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

505. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of nursing staff at Buncrana nursing unit, County Donegal in each of the years 2007 to 2017 and to date in 2018. [10018/18]

View answer

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

506. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of nursing staff at Carndonagh community hospital, County Donegal in each of the years 2007 to 2017 and to date in 2018. [10019/18]

View answer

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

507. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of nursing staff at Ramelton nursing unit, County Donegal in each of the years 2007 to 2017 and to date in 2018. [10020/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 502 to 507, inclusive, together.

As these are service matters I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.