Health Services

Questions (907)

John McGuinness

Question:

907. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health his plans to establish an independent investigation into the complaints made by a person (details supplied); if a reply will issue in detail to correspondence including a report provided to him by a person; if there was a Garda investigation into the use of cannabis and-or marijuana at the facility; if so, his views on the outcome of the investigation; the steps he will take to ensure that those who visit the facility are not treated in the same manner as experienced by the person; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14032/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Department of Health has been made aware of this case and a report has been requested by Department officials from the HSE. 

This is a serious allegation and both the Department and the HSE will work together to resolve this matter. Once the report is received by the Department, a determination as to the next course of action will be made.

Pharmacy Regulations

Questions (908)

John McGuinness

Question:

908. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health his plans to progress the proposed changes to the work practices of pharmaceutical assistants; if he has engaged with organisations (details supplied) on their proposals and concerns; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14033/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Pharmacy Act 2007 established the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) and the functions of the Society are set out in the Act. The functions of the PSI are carried out on its behalf by the Council of the Society.

Section 30 of the Pharmacy Act 2007 provides for an exception to the general provision in the Act which requires the sale and supply of medicines at a pharmacy to be conducted under the personal supervision of a registered pharmacist, and specifies that no offence is committed where a registered pharmaceutical assistant “acts on behalf of a registered pharmacist during the temporary absence of the registered pharmacist”.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (Temporary Absence of Pharmacist from Pharmacy) Rules 2019 were developed by the PSI in accordance with Section 30 of the Pharmacy Act 2007, which also permits the Council to make rules as to:

1: What may or may not be done by a registered pharmaceutical assistant when acting on behalf of a registered pharmacist; and

2: What constitutes the temporary absence of a registered pharmacist.

On 6 December, the Council of the PSI approved a revised draft of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (Temporary Absence of Pharmacist from Pharmacy) Rules 2018 for issuance for public consultation. This public consultation commenced on 13 December 2018 and ran until 11 January 2019, affording any interested party the opportunity to make representations on the matter directly to the PSI.

At its meeting on 14 February 2019, the Council of the PSI approved the draft Rules, subject to certain amendments made on foot of the Council’s consideration of the results of the latest public consultation.

On 08 March 2019, the PSI submitted the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (Temporary Absence of Pharmacist from Pharmacy) Rules 2019 to me for my consent, in accordance with the requirements of the Pharmacy Act 2007. These were accompanied by a lengthy submission detailing the PSI’s rationale for the drafting of the Rules.

In April 2017, officials from my Department met with representatives of the Pharmaceutical Assistants' Association (PAA) to discuss the association’s concerns regarding the PSI’s development of draft Rules governing the practice of registered pharmaceutical assistants during the temporary absence of a pharmacist.

Throughout the course of this process my Department has received correspondence from and on behalf of registered pharmaceutical assistants outlining their concerns with regard to the drafting of these Rules.

Under the Pharmacy Act 2007, my role in relation to this process is limited to the consideration of any such Rules once submitted for my consent and in doing so I will give careful consideration to the Rules as submitted by the PSI and to the concerns raised by or on behalf of registered pharmaceutical assistants.

Hospital Consultant Contracts

Questions (909)

Catherine Martin

Question:

909. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Health the number of surgeons active here that are suitably qualified to perform the complex surgery often required to treat endometriosis. [14036/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Data Protection

Questions (910)

Catherine Martin

Question:

910. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Health the reason appointments to the consent declaration committee are behind schedule; the steps he is taking to nominate a committee chair; when this nomination will take place; and when committee members will be nominated. [14037/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Research Consent Declaration Committee was provided for in the Health Research Regulations made under the Data Protection Act 2018.  The purpose of those Regulations is to bring much needed clarity, consistency and certainty to the processing of personal data for health research purposes and to promote health research through greater public support.

I am happy to advise the Deputy that the Consent Declaration Committee provided for in those Regulations has been appointed and was publicly announced on 22 March. 

Consistent with its role, the Committee contains a diverse mix of persons from different backgrounds, including members of the public, patients and carers.  The Chairperson is Brigid McManus former Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills.  The Committee will have its first meeting on 27 March. 

The secretariat to the Committee has also been appointed and the Committee's website is www.hrcdc.ie where a full list of Committee members and biographies can be found.

Health Research Board Funding

Questions (911)

Catherine Martin

Question:

911. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Health if he will strengthen research capacity here in women's health allowing his Department or related agencies such as the Health Research Board to apply for funding for researchers working in women's health in view of Ireland's 72% success rate in a fund (details supplied). [14038/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

There are no plans at present, but the Department of Health, particularly through the Health Research Board, is constantly appraising priorities and opportunities to apply for EU funding including but not limited to the Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND.

The Health Research Board has an annual budget of approximately forty million euro which is open to investigators working in any area of health research including women's health.  

Long-Term Illness Scheme Coverage

Questions (912)

Catherine Martin

Question:

912. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Health the reason frontotemporal dementia is not on the long-term illness scheme; his plans to review the illnesses that qualify for the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14042/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The LTI Scheme was established under Section 59(3) of the Health Act 1970 (as amended). The conditions covered by the LTI are: acute leukaemia; mental handicap; cerebral palsy; mental illness (in a person under 16); cystic fibrosis; multiple sclerosis; diabetes insipidus; muscular dystrophies; diabetes mellitus; parkinsonism; epilepsy; phenylketonuria; haemophilia; spina bifida; hydrocephalus; and conditions arising from the use of thalidomide. Under the LTI Scheme, patients receive drugs, medicines, and medical and surgical appliances directly related to the treatment of their illness, free of charge.

There are no plans to extend the list of conditions covered by the Scheme at this time. However, I wish to inform the Deputy that it is proposed that the LTI Scheme would be included as part of a review of the basis for existing hospital and medication charges, to be carried out under commitments given in the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy.

Drug Treatment Programmes

Questions (913)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

913. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the number of patients awaiting methadone treatment in an area (details supplied); the number of patients on treatment but awaiting transfer for treatment closer to their home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14044/19]

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.

Occupational Therapy Staff

Questions (914)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

914. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Health the action being taken to address the fact that latest figures indicate there are currently 1,429 children and young persons waiting more than two years for an appointment with an occupational therapist in County Wexford; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there has been a 40% reduction in staffing in the county in the past year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14052/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

HIQA Investigations

Questions (915)

Clare Daly

Question:

915. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health if HIQA has undertaken investigations specifically into the management of CPE in Limerick University Hospital; and if not, if it plans to do so. [14054/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) is an independent authority established to drive high-quality and safe care for health and social care services in Ireland. HIQA operates under the Health Act 2007, which sets out the functions which the Authority is to carry out. HIQA has responsibility for setting standards for healthcare services, and monitoring compliance with health care sector standards.  

HIQA typically undertakes both announced and unannounced inspection of healthcare facilities in order to ascertain the degree of adherence to expected standards. A report of the inspection visit is subsequently published on HIQA’s website.

As part of the National Public Health Emergency on CPE, in February 2018, the Department of Health wrote to HIQA. The Department noted that HIQA had begun to consider CPE in monitoring programme. It also welcomed that HIQA had engaged in monitoring the compliance with CPE national guidance (produced by the CPE Expert Group) when carrying out inspections in acute public hospitals against their National Standards for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare-associated Infections in Acute Healthcare Services (2017). This work continues.

Medical Card Administration

Questions (916)

Eamon Scanlon

Question:

916. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health if an emergency call-out ambulance is covered by the medical card; the instances in which a person would be charged a fee of €100 for an ambulance from their home to a public hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14056/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service issue I have asked the HSE to reply to you directly.  

Orthodontic Services Data

Questions (917)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

917. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health the number of persons waiting for orthopaedic surgery in each of the CHO areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14064/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital operations and procedures is a key priority for Government. Budget 2019 announced that the Government has further increased investment in tackling waiting lists, with funding to the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) increasing from €55 million in 2018 to €75 million in 2019.

The joint Department of Health/HSE/NTPF Scheduled Care Access Plan 2019 was published recently and sets out measures to improve care for patients waiting for scheduled care in 2019 by reducing wait times for inpatient/day case treatment and outpatient appointments. The plan will place a strong focus on a number of high-volume procedures, including hip and knee replacements. When combined with HSE activity, it is projected that the NTPF will be in a position to offer treatment to all clinically suitable patients waiting more than 6 months for one of these procedures.

Waiting list figures for February 2019 show that considerable improvement has been witnessed in the number of patients waiting for hip and knee replacements. As a result of increased activity and the ongoing collaboration between the HSE and the NTPF, the number of patients waiting for a hip/knee replacement has fallen from 3,400  in July 2017 to 2,800 at the end of February 2019 equating to an improvement of 17%. Those waiting over 9 months for one of these procedures has fallen from over 1,000 in July 2017 to 367 in February 2019, a reduction of 64%.

The following .documents provide Inpatient/Daycase waiting list data for Orthopaedics by hospital and by hospital group.

IPDC Orthopaedics Waiting List by Hospital

Row Labels

 0-3 Mths

 3-6 Mths

 6-9 Mths

 9-12 Mths

12-15 Mths

15-18 Mths

18-24 Mths

24-36 Mths

36-48 Mths

48+ Mths

Grand Total

Beaumont Hospital

68

75

28

27

1

0

0

0

199

Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital

633

595

184

57

8

3

4

2

0

1486

Cork University Hospital

6

1

1

0

0

8

Croom Orthopaedic Hospital

104

40

8

152

Lourdes Orthopaedic Hospital Kilcreene

172

69

7

0

0

248

Louth County Hospital

0

0

0

Mater Misericordiae University Hospital

32

16

12

18

7

3

16

11

12

4

131

Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore

216

258

183

95

56

59

91

75

2

1035

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda

0

0

0

Our Lady's Hospital Navan

296

189

113

38

10

2

648

South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital

212

144

63

39

24

19

21

4

526

St. James's Hospital

131

110

85

44

32

16

42

35

0

495

St. Vincent's University Hospital

23

9

5

0

0

0

37

University Hospital Waterford

63

54

18

8

7

3

3

1

157

Tallaght University Hospital

358

318

222

168

144

94

110

96

3

1513

Letterkenny University Hospital

197

159

56

22

7

6

9

6

0

462

Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown

28

20

4

0

52

CHI at Crumlin

116

103

32

34

21

22

37

36

5

0

406

Galway University Hospitals

378

327

212

147

66

61

63

16

5

1

1276

Sligo University Hospital

159

73

40

13

10

5

3

303

CHI at Temple St

95

99

60

40

25

20

20

10

1

370

University Hospital Kerry

67

52

18

10

0

147

Mayo University Hospital

422

343

214

130

100

49

15

13

5

1291

St. Michael's Hospital

7

0

0

0

0

0

7

Grand Total

3783

3054

1565

890

518

362

434

305

33

5

10949

IPDC Orthopaedics Waiting List by Hospital Group

Row Labels

 0-3 Mths

 3-6 Mths

 6-9 Mths

 9-12 Mths

12-15 Mths

15-18 Mths

18-24 Mths

24-36 Mths

36-48 Mths

48+ Mths

Grand Total

Dublin Midlands Hospital Group

705

686

490

307

232

169

243

206

5

3043

Ireland East Hospital Group

991

809

314

113

25

8

20

13

12

4

2309

RCSI  Hospitals Group

96

95

32

27

1

0

0

0

251

Saolta University Health Care Group

1156

902

522

312

183

121

90

35

10

1

3332

South/South West Hospital Group

520

320

107

57

31

22

24

5

1086

University of Limerick Hospital Group

104

40

8

152

Children's Health Ireland

211

202

92

74

46

42

57

46

6

0

776

Grand Total

3783

3054

1565

890

518

362

434

305

33

5

10949

Mental Health Commission Reports

Questions (918)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

918. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 73 of 13 March 2019, the training the staff in St. Luke's Hospital were provided with in regard to the rules governing the use of seclusion from 2011 to date; if such training has only recently commenced; the provider of the training; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14065/19]

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.

Nursing Education

Questions (919, 920, 921)

Micheál Martin

Question:

919. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health the reason the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland changed the minimum entry requirements for degree programmes in nursing and midwifery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14068/19]

View answer

Micheál Martin

Question:

920. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health the reason there are changes in the nurses rules 2018 that state that the minimum entry requirements can only be met in a maximum of two leaving certificate sittings (details supplied); the rationale in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14069/19]

View answer

Micheál Martin

Question:

921. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health his views on whether the 2018 rule change regarding applicants for nursing and midwifery courses is causing inequity for nursing applicants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14070/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 919 to 921, inclusive, together.

As  these questions refer to operational matters, they has been referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Healthcare Infrastructure Provision

Questions (922)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

922. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the status of works to redevelop and upgrade nursing homes (details supplied) in County Donegal; the timeline for the completion of the works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14073/19]

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.

Health Services Charges

Questions (923)

Robert Troy

Question:

923. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the possible reimbursement routes for a person (details supplied) who has had emergency surgery carried out privately in view of the lengthy waiting list for a public procedure in the circumstances. [14086/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

There is no statutory scheme for the reimbursement, by the public health system, of the cost incurred by an individual for private healthcare carried out in Ireland.

Should the individual concerned hold private health insurance cover, they may wish to contact their insurer to discuss possible terms of reimbursement for the procedure.  

The Government is committed to improving waiting times for hospital appointments and procedures. The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) authorises public hospitals to offer outsourced treatment to clinically suitable long waiting patients who are on an inpatient/day case waiting list for surgery, having been referred on to such a list following clinical assessment by a consultant/specialist at an outpatient clinic.  NTPF authorisations are made in respect of the longest waiting patients first.

Occupational Therapy Data

Questions (924)

James Browne

Question:

924. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the number of children awaiting an occupational therapy appointment in County Wexford in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14089/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Medical Aids and Appliances Applications

Questions (925)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

925. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will receive a hearing aid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14101/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for reply to the Deputy.

Services for People with Disabilities

Question No. 927 answered with Question No. 794.

Questions (926)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

926. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Health the number of adults and school leavers in County Meath on a waiting list for training services. [14104/19]

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. 927 answered with Question No. 794.