Hospital Staff Recruitment

Questions (654)

David Cullinane

Question:

654. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health the additional staff that will be recruited at University Hospital Waterford, UHW, to facilitate the opening of the new Dunmore wing at the hospital, by whole-time equivalent posts and by profession, that is, nursing, junior doctors, consultants, maintenance staff, clerical, administration, diagnostics and others; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12968/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is an operational issue, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to you directly as soon as possible.

Hospitals Funding

Questions (655)

David Cullinane

Question:

655. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health the additional funding which will be made available to University Hospital Waterford, UHW, to open and manage the 72 isolation beds that form part of the new Dunmore wing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12969/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is an operational issue, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to you directly as soon as possible.

Hospitals Funding

Questions (656)

David Cullinane

Question:

656. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health if University Hospital Waterford, UHW, has submitted a request for additional funding to staff and operate three floors and 72 beds in the new Dunmore suite at UHW. [12970/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is an operational issue, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to you directly as soon as possible.

Hospital Groups

Questions (657)

David Cullinane

Question:

657. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health the additional funding which will be provided to the community healthcare organisation, CHO, in the south east to manage the two floors providing palliative care in the new Dunmore wing at University Hospital Waterford, UHW. [12971/19]

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.

Hospitals Data

Questions (658)

David Cullinane

Question:

658. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health his plans to replace the mortuary at University Hospital Waterford, UHW; if a business case has been presented for same; the estimated cost; if it is a priority for UHW, the South/Southwest Hospital Group, his Department and the HSE; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12972/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is an operational issue, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to you directly as soon as possible.

Hospitals Data

Questions (659)

David Cullinane

Question:

659. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health if a business case has been submitted by University Hospital Waterford, UHW, for a new eye clinic; if this will provide Addison’s cataract treatment; the costs involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12973/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Hospitals Data

Questions (660)

David Cullinane

Question:

660. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health his plans to reconfigure orthopaedic services in the south east; his further plans to create a centre or excellence in orthopaedics at University Hospital Waterford, UHW; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12974/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is an operational issue, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to you directly as soon as possible.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (661)

Seán Fleming

Question:

661. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will receive a transfer to a local treatment centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12975/19]

View answer

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.

Health Services Staff Data

Questions (662)

Seán Fleming

Question:

662. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health the arrangements in place for the conversion of agency nurses to be employed directly by the HSE in hospitals and in the community setting; the difference in approach in relation to this agency conversion between the hospital settings and the community settings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13024/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Ambulance Service Data

Questions (663)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

663. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health the form the mediation settlement followed for the appointment of the National Ambulance Service director; the person who signed and ratified the settlement on 26 October 2017; the date on which the employee was issued with a contract of indefinite duration following a mediated settlement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13025/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Health Services Data

Questions (664)

Clare Daly

Question:

664. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the recent survey conducted by an organisation (details supplied) which showed a severe lack of services and large out of pocket costs for the 800,000 persons living with neurological conditions here; and the steps he will take to address the deficits in care and services for persons with these conditions [13048/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The overarching principle governing the planning and delivery of health services and supports for adults and children with identified conditions is that they should be integrated, as far as possible, with services and supports on a whole of population basis.

It is acknowledged that, in some areas, there are service deficits. However, the Government, together with the HSE and others is working to address such deficits, most notably through the Sláintecare reform programme. It is the Government's aim to ensure that all citizens can be offered the right care in the right place at the right time.

Care Services Provision

Questions (665)

Clare Daly

Question:

665. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the recent survey conducted by an organisation (details supplied) which showed the strain that family carers of persons with neurological conditions are subjected to including the fact that a third of family carers are providing care for more than ten hours a day; and the reason comprehensive supports are not available such that family carers do not pick up the slack for failings in the health service [13049/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Family carers provide a crucial and valuable support to their loved ones, ensuring that they can continue to live in their own homes and communities. Caring is a challenging role, and family carers require support to allow them to continue caring with confidence. The 2012 National Carers’ Strategy is a cross-departmental strategy that sets the strategic direction for future policies, services and supports provided by Government Departments and agencies for carers. Each relevant Department is responsible for the implementation of their actions and the Department of Health co-ordinates a progress report on overall implementation which is produced on a periodic basis over the lifetime of the Strategy and presented to the Cabinet Committee on Social Policy. The Strategy contains actions to implement four national goals encompassing a recognition of the value and contribution made by family carers, a need to support carers to manage their own health and well-being, providing adequate information, training, supports and services, and the empowering of carers to participate as fully as possible in economic and social life.

The Department of Health is currently engaging with other Departments with a view to developing a revised Action Plan for the further implementation of the Strategy. Meetings have been held between the Department of Health and a number of other departments and agencies to identify additional actions which can be carried out. A stakeholder consultation on the draft Department of Health/HSE health-related proposals was undertaken at the Annual Carers Forum organised by the Department of Employment and Social Protection last November. Publication of the refreshed action plan is anticipated to take place later this year.

The availability of homecare and supports for cared for people also have a positive impact on the lives of family carers. Homecare is an increasingly important part of the supports for enabling older people to remain in their own homes and communities for as long as possible and for facilitating their discharge from acute hospitals. Over 53,000 people will receive more than 18 million home support hours this year.

While the existing home support service is delivering crucial support to many people across the country, it needs to be improved to better meet the changing needs of our citizens. To do this, the Government has committed to the development of a new statutory scheme for home-support services to enable people with care needs to live at home for as long as possible. The scheme will introduce clear rules in relation to the services for which individuals are eligible and in relation to service-allocation. It will therefore be an important step in ensuring that the system operates in a consistent and fair manner. The introduction of a system of regulation for home-support will help to ensure public confidence in the services provided. The new scheme will also be designed to support family/unpaid carers and will complement and integrate effectively with other health and social-care services.

The Department is also progressing various work-streams in order to deliver on the goal of implementing the statutory scheme. On-going work includes research to inform the conceptualisation of the overarching aim, objectives, actions and outcomes of the statutory scheme and the compilation of the data required for a review of the management, operation and funding of existing services. Further consultation will take place as the new scheme is developed.

The development of a statutory scheme and system of regulation for adult home-support services is a complex undertaking. While to date important steps have been taken towards the development of the new scheme, a significant amount of additional work remains to be carried out before final decisions are taken on the form that it will take. This is required if the reforms are to be successful, affordable and sustainable. While the new home-support scheme is under development, the Department of Health and Health Service Executive (HSE) are continuing efforts to incrementally improve the existing home-support services. The commitment to the development of this scheme has been reaffirmed in the recently published Sláintecare Action Plan 2019.

Addressing the healthcare needs of family carers enables them to continue to provide care to their loved ones. Following the enactment of the necessary legislation, free GP care was extended to those in receipt of the Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Benefit on 1st September last year. The Department of Health has also secured funding through the Dormant Accounts fund to enable the HSE to pilot a Carer's Needs Assessment in one Community Healthcare Organisation. The HSE developed this tool with significant input from the Family Carer Reference Group, which represents a national network of over 200 carer groups across Ireland. The assessment will assist in identifying the needs of carers across all care groups and will track health and well-being outcomes for carers over time.

The Department of Health and the HSE are committed to ensuring that family carers receive as much support as possible to allow them to continue caring for their loved ones.

Medical Card Data

Questions (666)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

666. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health when a medical card will issue in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13054/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Medical Card Data

Questions (667)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

667. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health when a medical card will issue in the case of a person (details supplied); if a medical card will issue at an early date in view of the circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13057/19]

View answer

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.

Health Services Data

Questions (668)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

668. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health the number of home support hours for the 6,009 persons awaiting funding for new or additional home support services at the end of January 2019. [13066/19]

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.

Primary Care Centres Provision

Questions (669)

Joan Collins

Question:

669. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Health when a primary care centre (details supplied) will be approved. [13070/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.

Medical Conditions

Questions (670, 741, 879)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

670. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if fibromyalgia will be recognised as a disability (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13075/19]

View answer

Clare Daly

Question:

741. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health the steps he will take to ensure fibromyalgia is classified as a disability. [13333/19]

View answer

Lisa Chambers

Question:

879. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health his plans to classify fibromyalgia as a form of disability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13832/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 670, 741 and 879 together.

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome associated with wide-spread pain and fatigue. It is labelled a syndrome as fibromyalgia is a collection of signs, symptoms and medical problems that tend to occur together but are not related to a specific, identifiable cause. Fibromyalgia is not classified as a disability and there are currently no plans for the reclassification of fibromyalgia.

Cancer Services Provision

Questions (671)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

671. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 645 of 6 November 2018, the status of the familial risk assessment clinic for breast cancer at St. James’s Hospital; if resources have been granted in respect of same; if new mammography equipment has been installed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13076/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I am advised that the Familial Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Service at St James's Hospital has been restored. Resources have been provided to the hospital's breast services, including additional radiology and pathology support, funding for enabling works and for a third mammography machine which has been installed.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (672)

Jack Chambers

Question:

672. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Health his plans to raise the financial threshold in order that families have greater access to medical cards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13081/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive (HSE) issues income guidelines to assist in determining entitlement to medical cards / GP visit cards. Any revision to the income thresholds must have regard for Government policy, increases in the Consumer Price Index and other issues which may be relevant.

While there are no plans at present to revise the income thresholds for medical cards, it is vitally important that the medical card system is responsive and sensitive to people's needs. In that regard my Department keeps medical card issues, including existing thresholds under constant review. It should be noted that the gross medical card limits for the over 70's are reviewed annually in line with the Consumer Price Index.

The Deputy may be aware that Budget 2019 made provision for a 10% increase across all GP visit card thresholds. This measure will be implemented on 1st April 2019.

Medicinal Products

Questions (673)

Jack Chambers

Question:

673. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Health his plans to ensure the European Medicines Agency progresses its assessment of authorising a particular drug (details supplied) for persons under 18 years of age as quickly as possible; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13082/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Kalydeco is the brand name of the medicine ivacaftor which is used to treat certain forms of cystic fibrosis caused by specific mutations of the gene for a protein called ‘cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator’ (CFTR).

Kalydeco is authorised as a centrally authorised product by the European Medicines Agency on behalf of the European Commission. The marketing authorisation details the licensed indications for Kalydeco. It is currently licensed for patients under 18 years of age with certain forms of cystic fibrosis.

Kalydeco granules are licensed for the treatment of children with cystic fibrosis aged 12 months and older and weighing 7 kg to less than 25 kg who have one of nine mutations in the CFTR gene: G551D, G1244E, G1349D, G178R, G551S, S1251N, S1255P, S549N or S549R.

Kalydeco tablets are licensed to treat cystic fibrosis in patients aged 6 years and older, and weighing 25 kg or more, and who have one of the nine mutations in CFTR gene noted above. They are also licensed to treat patients with cystic fibrosis aged 18 years and above who have the R117H mutation in the CFTR gene and in a combination regimen with a medicine containing tezacaftor 100 mg/ivacaftor 150 mg for the treatment of patients with cystic fibrosis aged 12 years and older who have a F508del mutation in the CFTR gene.

As part of the marketing authorisation application process to place a medicine on the market, the applicant company must provide evidence that the medicine adheres to clear and predefined standards of quality, safety and efficacy, relevant to its proposed therapeutic use. This takes the form of a dossier including details of all the trials and studies undertaken of the active substance and the final pharmaceutical product, including preclinical studies, clinical trials and manufacturing and analysis data. The format of this dossier is set out in Directive 2001/83/EC and various EU guidelines.

A marketing authorisation (MA) is granted on the basis of a favourable benefit versus risk balance for specific therapeutic indication(s) having regard to the quality, safety and efficacy of the product for the proposed conditions of use. The final wording of the Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC) and Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) are approved based on the information submitted in this dossier. I, as Minister for Health, have no role or function in the marketing authorisation process. It would be inappropriate for me to attempt to intervene in the authorisation process or to try to influence the EMA.

Once an MA has been granted, any changes (e.g. new indications, updated safety information, pharmaceutical changes) require approval by the competent authority, in this case by the EMA on behalf of the European Commission, on foot of a formal application to vary the authorisation and the submission of relevant supporting data. In order to further update the SmPC the MAH would need to carry out further clinical trials to support this variation. It is up to the MAH to make an application to the EMA to vary the licensed indications for this medicine.