Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (144)

John Curran

Question:

144. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health if he will review upwards the income thresholds for the medical card, general practitioner card, over 70s medical card and the over 70s general practitioner card in view of increases in wages and the minimum wage in particular and increases in the rate of social welfare payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48747/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Budget 2019 provided for increases in a number of social welfare payments which are intended to come into effect in March 2019. It would be the Government's intention that people's ability to qualify for a medical card would not be adversely affected by this increase. I have asked the HSE to monitor the situation and to advise me if it considers that changes in the rates of social welfare payments may affect people's ability to qualify for a medical card.

Although increases in income may have an impact on a person's eligibility for a medical card it should be noted that the medical card assessment process does take into account certain allowable expenses such as mortgage costs, travel-to-work costs and childcare costs, which may also vary over time. Furthermore, if a person's sole income is derived from a social welfare payment, even where this is more than the current means threshold, he/she will be awarded a medical card.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (145)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

145. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health if there was an underspend in the 2017 social inclusion budget for counties Louth and Meath; if so, the amount; the groups the underspend was distributed to; if there was a set criteria for which these moneys were allocated; if so, the criteria; the members of the HSE that make the final decision on these funds; if the local drug task force and its professional experience has a contribution or role in forming the distribution of overspends for vital services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48750/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Prescriptions Data

Questions (146)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

146. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health when there was a review of the continued prescriptions for medication for a person (details supplied). [48757/18]

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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.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (147)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

147. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a number of legal cases have been taken against the HSE for failing to commence assessments of needs within the statutory time period; the steps being taken to ensure that assessments of needs take place within the statutory three month time period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48766/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. 

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (148)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

148. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the number of children waiting for an assessment of need; the average waiting time a child must wait for the HSE to commence this assessment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48767/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. 

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (149)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

149. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of an appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48768/18]

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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 in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since 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.

Patient Safety

Questions (150)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

150. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a patient with tuberculosis was not isolated while at University Hospital Galway; and if disclosures of this incident have been made to him. [48774/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (151, 152)

Brendan Smith

Question:

151. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 227 of 25 October 2018, if the additional funding will be provided in the 2019 Estimates for the necessary provision of services (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48775/18]

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Brendan Smith

Question:

152. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health if a health facility (details supplied) provides placements only for persons in counties Cavan and Monaghan; if persons from outside this catchment area are facilitated in this centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48776/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 151 and 152 together.

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

The Programme for Partnership Government states that the Government wishes to provide more accessible respite care to facilitate full support for people with a disability.

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (153)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

153. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48778/18]

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, since 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.

Hospital Charges

Questions (154, 156)

James Browne

Question:

154. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the care of a person (details supplied); the reason the costs of the care were given to the family; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48782/18]

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James Browne

Question:

156. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health his views on whether it is acceptable for the HSE to write to a person (details supplied) receiving care in Beaumont Hospital detailing the amount spent on a relative’s care; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48784/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 154 and 156 together.

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

Services for People with Disabilities

Question No. 156 answered with Question No. 154.

Questions (155)

James Browne

Question:

155. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the costs related to the care of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48783/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. 

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Question No. 156 answered with Question No. 154.

Respite Care Services

Questions (157)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

157. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health the details of the newly agreed respite contract for persons with disabilities in north County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48802/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

The Programme for Partnership Government states that the Government wishes to provide more accessible respite care to facilitate full support for people with a disability.

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Cancer Screening Programmes

Questions (158)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

158. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Health if the figure of 221 women being adversely affected by the CervicalCheck issues is accurate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48806/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

This question relates to operational issues, and accordingly I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy.

However, the Deputy might note that, as advised at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health recently, the HSE will shortly commence a validation exercise to ensure data held by the National Screening Service in relation to the 221 women affected by the CervicalCheck audit is fully up to date. This will, for example, help with planning support needs for patients.

It should be noted that this piece of work is not an audit but, rather, aims to ensure the information already held is updated appropriately.

Cancer Screening Programmes

Questions (159, 163, 164)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

159. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the steps he is taking further to a report (details supplied); the extent of the review of cases proposed; the person or persons that will carry out this review; the length of time covered by the review; and when he expects the review to be completed. [48815/18]

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Róisín Shortall

Question:

163. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the number of persons that have been informed of a change to their test results with regard to a report (details supplied); and if there is a helpline for persons that may have concerns in this regard. [48819/18]

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Róisín Shortall

Question:

164. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the number of persons that have been informed of a change in their test result by those that were misinformed owing to a clerical error and those whose results were changed as a result of subsequent more advanced retesting of their original samples with regard to a report (details supplied), respectively. [48820/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 159, 163 and 164 together.

In relation to the issue which has been raised by the Deputy, I would note that officials of my Department have been in contact with the Health Service Executive (HSE). The HSE in turn have advised that in late October 2018, an error was discovered in correctly communicating a genetic test result by the Department of Clinical Genetics at Our Lady's Children’s Hospital Crumlin (OLCHC) following an enquiry by an oncologist for a patient with recurring cancer who had a genetic test, known as a BRCA test, in 2009. Crumlin Hospital are currently reviewing this incident as a matter of the utmost priority.

This error has been reported as an incident and is being managed in accordance with the HSE Incident and Risk Management policy, including in commencing an incident review process of this transcription error in correctly communicating the test result in a letter to the referring clinician. Direct contact has been made with the patient involved in this incident, with an offer made for an Open Disclosure meeting to take place at the discretion of the patient.

As a precaution, OLCHC has also instigated a review of the communication of all BRCA test results since 2006, firstly prioritising the 335 positive BRCA results processed by the Department of Clinical Genetics. This review of the correct communication of the positive BRCA test is currently underway and is expected to be completed in the forthcoming days. The hospital will then review the correct communication of the negative BRCA tests.

For the sake of clarity, I would also like to stress to the House that there is no concern regarding the accuracy of the BRCA test itself. The error which has occurred  relates to the correct communication of the test result.

A dedicated contact helpline has been set up  at OLCHC to assist patients with concerns. It is in operation from Monday to Friday, 9:00am-5:30pm. Patients wishing to contact the helpline should phone (01) 4096219.

Cancer Screening Programmes

Questions (160)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

160. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if guidelines exist in the HSE regarding the auditing of the issuance of test and or screening results for human error; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48816/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter I have asked the HSE to reply directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Services

Questions (161)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

161. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the steps that were taken to address the issues raised in a review (details supplied) of the National Centre for Medical Genetics; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48817/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Donnai-Newman Report on the Review of Genetics Services in Ireland (2014) was commissioned by the HSE to recommend improvements in the governance, management and future development of the genetic services. The report made several recommendations, the vast majority of which focused on the internal team working and clinical governance issues at Our Lady’s Children's Hospital Crumlin. The report resulted in 56 actions to be undertaken by the HSE and Crumlin Hospital. The HSE has confirmed that 31 of these actions have been implemented and 16 are currently being implemented.  

An external multi professional team, led by an experienced NHS UK Health Manager, has been assisting the Department of Clinical Genetics at Crumlin to deliver an improved service for patients and clinical service users. There continues to be investments in the recruitment of extra staff resources and the purchase of new equipment to assist with the implementation of improvements to the service.

A key recommendation of the Donnai-Newman Report was that a Steering Group should be set up to develop a National Genetic and Genomic Medicine Network that reflects best international practice. This Steering Group was established by the HSE in early 2015. Their report  included recommending the appointment of a National Director of the National Genetic and Genomic Medicine Network and a Clinical Laboratory Director. The HSE National Service Plan 2018 includes a commitment to commence development of the National Genetics and Genomic Network. These key posts, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, will inform the development of the national strategic direction for genetic and genomic medicine services, including genetic services.

Hospital Services

Questions Nos. 163 and 164 answered with Question No. 159.

Questions (162)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

162. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the reason the genetics department in Our Lady's Children’s Hospital, Crumlin is located in the hospital in view of the fact it provides a national service to adults; the governance structure which applies to this department; and his plans to establish this as a stand alone unit within the HSE. [48818/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The service for medical genetics in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, established in late 1994, provides services for patients and families in Irelandaffected by, or at risk of, a genetic disorder. The service is under the governance of Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin.  It is recognised that there have been rapid and progressive developments in genetics and genomic medicine in recent years and that it is an area of medicine that will continue to rapidly develop.

In 2014, a review of the laboratory and clinical genetic services at Crumlin was commissioned by the HSE. The report made recommendations relating to the genetic services at Crumlin and also recommended that investment should be made in developing a contemporary solution for clinical and laboratory genetics & genomics for the country.

Following on from that  report  a Steering Group was  established by the HSE in  2015 to develop a plan for the genetics & genomics national network. Recommendations included the appointment of a National Director of National Genetic and Genomic Medicine Network and a Clinical Laboratory Director. The HSE National Service Plan 2018 includes a commitment to commence development of the National Genetics and Genomic Network. These key posts, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, will inform the development of the national strategic direction for genetic and genomic medicine services, including genetic services.

Questions Nos. 163 and 164 answered with Question No. 159.