Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (339)

Barry Cowen

Question:

339. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health the status of the case of a person (details supplied); and when they can expect an appointment at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Dublin. [51660/18]

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.

Treatment Benefit Scheme Eligibility

Questions (340)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

340. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Health if the treatment abroad scheme is available for transvaginal mesh survivors; if not, his views on whether it should be available in view of the fact that the cost of having private surgery in the UK is significant and the HSE is perceived to be ill-equipped to deal with complications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51663/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Report, entitled The Use of Uro-gynaecological Mesh in Surgical Procedures, has now been presented to me and was published on the 21 November 2018 on the Department of Health website.

A number of important system actions to address the safety and effectiveness of mesh implant use have been progressed in advance of completion of the report.

In addition, a Synthetic Mesh Devices Advisory Group has been convened by the National Women and Infant Health Programme, which includes three patient representatives, and representatives of stakeholder organisations, to advise on and progress all the recommendations. I am informed that a work programme for the development of appropriate patient information resources and consent materials, the clarification and development of treatment pathways and appropriate referral services for women suffering from mesh-related complications including access to specialist diagnostic facilities such as translabial scanning is being progressed.  The work being progressed by the HSE will include identifying the appropriate specialist clinical expertise and facilities required at hospital group level and nationally to provide comprehensive aftercare services. The HSE will also examine the need to look at sourcing services from abroad to address any immediate shortfalls identified, either through utilisation of the treatment abroad scheme or by commissioning services from abroad.

The Department has written to the HSE to request that it prepare a detailed Implementation Plan for the complete set of recommendations set out in the CMO’s Report, working in conjunction with other stakeholders.

Emergency Departments

Questions (341)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

341. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Health his plans for the emergency department of Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan. [51667/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Our Lady’s Hospital Navan is part of the Ireland East Hospital Group. Every hospital in that Group, large and small, has a vital role to play within the Group, with smaller hospitals managing routine, urgent or planned care locally and more complex care managed in the larger hospitals.

Currently, the Hospital Group is engaged in a programme of redesign work to further integrate and enhance the role of Navan Hospital within the Group and to ensure that it will provide more services safely and appropriately. It is intended that the Hospital Group will continue to engage closely with all interested parties to ensure that the needs of patients, staff and the local and wider community are addressed.

There are no immediate plans to change Emergency Department services at Navan. Proposed changes to any Emergency Department services will only take place in the context of overall service reorganisation in the Hospital Group and will be undertaken in a planned and orderly manner.

Home Help Service Provision

Questions (342)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

342. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health if home help hours previously provided to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal will be reinstated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51669/18]

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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.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (343)

Martin Heydon

Question:

343. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Health the status of the case of a person (details supplied) in respect of charges for blood tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51680/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the terms of the current GMS contract, GPs are required to provide eligible patients with ''all proper and necessary treatment of a kind usually undertaken by a general practitioner and not requiring special skill or experience of a degree or kind which general practitioners cannot reasonably be expected to possess." There is no provision under the GMS GP contract for persons who hold a medical card or GP visit card to be charged for routine phlebotomy services provided by their GP which are required to either assist in the diagnosis of illness or the treatment of a condition.

The HSE has advised GPs that where a blood test forms part of the investigation or necessary treatment of a patient’s symptoms or conditions, this should be free of charge for patients who hold a medical card or GP visit card. Notwithstanding this, I am aware that some GPs are charging GMS patients for phlebotomy services in some circumstances.

This is a matter of concern for me as it has long been the position, under successive Governments, that no user charges should apply to GP services provided to GMS and GP visit card patients. If a patient who holds a medical card or GP visit card believes he or she has been incorrectly charged for routine phlebotomy services by his or her GP, then that patient should report the matter to their HSE Local Health Office.

In relation to the complaint submitted to the HSE by the person concerned, I have arranged for this question to be referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (344)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

344. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the reason the pneumococcal vaccine when administered by pharmacists is not reimbursed for eligible patients in the same way as the flu vaccination; when such reimbursement arrangements will be put in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51681/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Programme for a Partnership Government has a commitment to expand the role of community pharmacies in managing the health of public patients.  Any service expansion should address unmet public health needs, improve access to existing public health services or provide better value for money or patient outcomes if delivered through pharmacies, and such decisions should be evidence-based.

Among the areas under consideration is the expansion of pharmacy-provided vaccination for public patients, in order to make such treatment as accessible as possible.

Currently, influenza vaccinations are available in pharmacies for medical card and at-risk patients, as well as privately.  The seasonal influenza vaccine is recommended for the following at risk groups:

persons who are 65 years of age and over;

pregnant women;

persons who have a long-term health condition;

persons who work in healthcare;

carers;

persons living in a nursing home or other long-term care facility; and

persons in regular contact with pigs, poultry or water fowl.

Pharmacies also provide pneumococcal and shingles vaccinations on a private basis.

The recommendations for the seasonal influenza and the pneumococcal vaccination programmes differ in the recommended groups and the number of doses required. There are no plans to provide reimbursement for the administration of pneumococcal vaccine when administered by pharmacists.

Health Services Reports

Questions (345)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

345. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the reason the publication of the findings of the 2016 pilot for a minor ailments scheme was delayed; the timeframe for delivery of the proposals; if consideration will be given to running an extended pilot to facilitate the collection of additional data; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51682/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In 2016 the HSE ran a three-month feasibility study, across four centres, on a pharmacy-delivered minor ailment service in an Irish healthcare context.

While the study successfully tested operational and administrative procedures, the patient take-up was small (121 consultations) and no meaningful clinical or outcome data emerged. If this is to be progressed, more extensive trialling, with defined outcome measurement, would be required in order to assess whether a publicly funded minor ailments service represents an effective health intervention for medical card patients.

The report has been submitted to my department and is being examined by my officials.

Any expansion of services should address unmet public health needs, improve access to existing public health services delivered elsewhere or provide better value for money or patient outcomes if delivered through pharmacy. Expansion of publicly funded pharmacy services will be considered in the context of available resources, the potential for health gain and Government priorities for the health service.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Administration

Questions (346)

Shane Cassells

Question:

346. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Health when the three-year cap on the fair deal scheme will be extended to owners of farms and businesses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51683/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The proposed policy change to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS), to cap contributions from farm assets at 3 years where a family successor commits to working the productive asset, has been approved by Government. My Department is working on the development of draft Heads of Bill while considering a number of complex ancillary policy and operational matters which may need to be addressed in the proposed legislation.

It is intended that this proposed policy change, the 3 year cap, will be extended to eligible existing participants in long-term residential care so that they are not disadvantaged, but that there would be no retrospective recoupment of contributions for those who have paid contributions over and above the three-year period.

A draft General Scheme of a Bill is currently with legal advisers for advice and legal quality control review. Subject to legal advice, I expect to bring the bill to Government soon.

The changes to the Scheme will come into effect in 2019 subject to the legislative process.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (347)

John Brassil

Question:

347. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health if the application process for second-level students transitioning to adult services will be reviewed; if the application process and decision-making timeline can be reviewed at the start of each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51689/18]

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.

Speech and Language Therapy Staff

Questions (348)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

348. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the reason there is a delay in receiving appointments in CHO 8; the status of an appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51700/18]

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (349)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

349. 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. [51702/18]

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.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (350)

Seán Fleming

Question:

350. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health when the psychological assessment in respect of assessment of needs under the Disability Act 2005 will be completed in respect of persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51708/18]

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.

Autism Support Services

Questions (351)

John Brassil

Question:

351. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the location in which a school can apply for autism-specific services for students transitioning from second-level to adult day services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51715/18]

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.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (352)

John Brassil

Question:

352. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health his plans to develop more adult day services for persons (details supplied) transitioning out of a school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51718/18]

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.

Disabilities Assessments

Questions (353)

Seán Fleming

Question:

353. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health if private assessments are accepted which are required as part of the process of the assessment of needs under the Disability Act 2005 in circumstances in which his Department has a backlog in obtaining these psychological assessments both nationwide and in each region throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51733/18]

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.

Cannabis for Medicinal Use

Questions (354)

Robert Troy

Question:

354. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the status of legislation to legalise certain cannabis-based products for the treatment of specific medical issues. [51738/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Medical Cannabis Access Programme aims to facilitate access to certain cannabis products which have not been authorised as medicines by a statutory Medicines Competent Authority. As such, they are not subject to the same rigorous safety, quality and efficacy standards that are in place for medicines, nor are the producers subject to the same responsibilities as the marketing authorisation holders for authorised medicines. Whilst efficacy and safety data are not available for these products, it is crucially important to be assured, as far as possible, of the quality of these products, as advised by the HPRA. However, the barrier to full operation is the availability of suitable product.

Availability of cannabis products that are of an appropriate quality standard and are affordable to patients is clearly critical in establishing the access programme. Department of Health officials are working intensively on this issue to ensure a supply of appropriate medical cannabis products to meet the needs of Irish patients. However, the Department of Health has no control in relation to business decisions taken by commercial product manufacturers and has no powers to compel such companies to supply their products to Irish market.

An Expert Group has drawn up clinical guidance for healthcare professionals treating patients through the Access Programme. These guidelines are available on the Department’s website. The guidelines contain detailed information on medical cannabis, including clinical guidance on the use of medical cannabis and guidance on which cannabis products are appropriate for medical use.

Three Statutory Instruments (S.I.) made under the Misuse of Drugs Acts are required to underpin the establishment of the Access Programme. Department officials are working on this legislation, which will be finalised when medical cannabis products become available.

Pending full operation of the Access Programme, doctors may continue to utilise the Ministerial licensing route to prescribe medical cannabis for their patients.  Licences have now been granted in respect of thirteen individual patients. Until suitable medical cannabis products are made available in Ireland, prescribers and their patients are sourcing the prescribed product from a pharmacy in The Netherlands, on foot of their medical prescription.

Disabilities Assessments

Questions (355)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Question:

355. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health the number of children waiting for assessment by early intervention teams in each LHO area in CHO 4; and the number waiting zero to three, three to six, six to nine, nine to 12, 12 to 18, 18 to 24 and more than 24 months, respectively. [51760/18]

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.

Disabilities Assessments

Question No. 357 answered with Question No. 327.

Questions (356)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

356. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Health the number of children waiting for assessment by early intervention teams in each LHO area in CHO 6; and the number waiting zero to three, three to six, six to nine, nine to 12, 12 to 18, 18 to 24 and more than 24 months, respectively. [51761/18]

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. 357 answered with Question No. 327.