Hospital Waiting Lists Data

Questions (202)

James Browne

Question:

202. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the number of persons awaiting an audiology appointment in County Wexford; the number of persons waiting more than 12, 18, 24, 30 and 36 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14410/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Trade Union Recognition

Questions (203)

Michael McGrath

Question:

203. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health the steps he is taking to resolve the industrial relations dispute involving some staff in the National Ambulance Service who are members of an organisation (details supplied) and who are seeking union recognition from the HSE; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14420/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As you are aware, a branch of the Psychiatric Nurses Association called the National Ambulance Service Representative Association (NASRA) has been engaged in industrial action. The Psychiatric Nurses Association state that their industrial action is in connection with two substantive issues. The first is the automated deduction of union subscriptions. The second is the refusal by the HSE to engage in negotiations with the PNA or to recognise the PNA as representing ambulance personnel.

To be clear, NASRA, which is affiliated with the PNA, is a group which is not recognised by the HSE and, therefore, does not have negotiating rights. The PNA does not have negotiating rights for ambulance personnel.

It should be noted that the HSE deducts subscriptions at source for those ambulance staff that are members of a number of unions. These are SIPTU, FORSA and UNITE. The deduction of subscriptions is not a legal right but rather a concession granted to recognised unions.

While it is regrettable that the PNA has taken this industrial action, it is not possible to negotiate with a union which is not recognised as having negotiating rights for ambulance grades. Officials from the Department have met with representatives of the HSE and the management of National Ambulance Service to explore possible options. However, this is a complex, challenging situation.

Industrial relations policy has had a long standing objective of avoiding fragmentation in worker representation in public sector employments, and the trade union movement generally, so as to facilitate the orderly conduct of bargaining and other aspects of industrial relations.

Dental Services Provision

Questions (204)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

204. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health if a child (details supplied) will be called for specific treatment at an early date. [14425/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (205)

Alan Kelly

Question:

205. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health his plans to review the income limits for a medical card application (details supplied). [14427/19]

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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. Under the Health (Alteration of Criteria for Eligibility) (No. 2) Act 2013, when a person attains the age of 70, the medical card income limits are €500 gross income per week for a single person and €900 gross income per week for a couple. In addition, from August 2015, all persons aged 70 or older qualify for a GP Visit Card, regardless of income.

It is important to note that if a person's sole income is derived from a social welfare payment, even where this is more than the current means threshold, they will be awarded a medical card.

The Deputy may also 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.

National Cervical Screening Programme

Questions (206)

Michael Moynihan

Question:

206. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health the action being taken to reduce the waiting times for smear test results; if additional testing facilities have been utilised to ensure results are returned to women as soon as possible; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14428/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In May 2018, I asked CervicalCheck to make the necessary arrangements to provide that any woman who had had a CervicalCheck smear test, and whose GP considered that she should have a further test as part of her reassurance, to access such a further test without charge. This decision was made in good faith to address the considerable fears of the many anxious women in Ireland, following issues which had emerged in relation to the CervicalCheck screening programme.

During 2018, there was a significant increase in the volume of women presenting for smear tests. This included women who have availed of the out of cycle tests, but also a greater number of women presenting for scheduled screening. This increased level of engagement with the programme is welcome. However, the increased demand has undoubtedly put pressure on lab capacity and turnaround times.

The HSE has been working closely with labs to manage this issue and to improve turnaround times for smear tests. In addition, the HSE is working intensively to put in place additional capacity, through extensive searches internationally.

The HSE advises that the CervicalCheck Programme has recently agreed with laboratories to prioritise those slides which originate from women who attended colposcopy, as this cohort of women are considered to have the most serious need.

The HSE also advises that the natural history of cervical cancer would indicate that the disease would normally develop over a period of 10 to 15 years. Due to this very fact, it is important that any woman of screening age attends for cervical screening each and every time she is invited to participate. The HSE has advised that in this context, a delay in the return of cervical screening results, whilst undesirable, is not necessarily dangerous and poses a very low risk to women.

Health Services Provision

Questions (207)

Denis Naughten

Question:

207. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health his plans for a dispensary (details supplied) in County Roscommon in view of the retirement of the general practitioner; his further plans for the provision of community primary care services in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14431/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Hospital Waiting Lists Data

Questions (208)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

208. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the waiting lists for neurology treatments by CHO area in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14443/19]

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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.

In terms of the information requested by the Deputy, as of the end of February 2019 there were 290 patients on the Inpatient and Daycase (IPDC) waiting list. Of these 44% (128 patients) were waiting less than 3 months, while 61% were waiting less than 6 months. Neurology IPDC waiting lists are held across all six hospital groups, however due to the small volume of patients waiting within specific time bands a full breakdown of those waiting by individual hospital and time band cannot be provided as it can render individual patients identifiable. Neurology IPDC waiting lists are currently held at the following hospitals

Beaumont Hospital

Cork University Hospital

Mater Misericordiae University Hospital

St. James Hospital

St. Vincent's University Hospital

CHI at Crumlin

Galway University Hospital

Sligo University Hospital

The attached table outlines the current waiting list by time band. To maintain patient anonymity, the numbers waiting are only broken down by time bands in instances where there are greater than 10 patients.

IPDC Neurology Waiting List by Hospital

Latest

Column Labels

Row Labels

Grand Total

0-3 Mths

3-6 Mths

6-9 Mths

9-12 Mths

12-15 Mths

15-18 Mths

18-24 Mths

24-36 Mths

Beaumont Hospital

42

22

12

Cork University Hospital

19

Mater Misericordiae University Hospital

41

20

St. Vincent's University Hospital

13

Tallaght University Hospital

36

26

Galway University Hospitals

54

29

Sligo University Hospital

77

26

15

Other

8

Grand Total

290

128

50

26

20

14

10

16

26

HSE Staff Data

Questions (209)

John McGuinness

Question:

209. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 1794 of 24 July 2018, the number of staff attached to a centre (details supplied) that have accepted redeployment; the number that have asked for redundancy; the number of staff on full-time pay without specific duties while they wait for a decision on redeployment or redundancy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14448/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (210)

Eamon Scanlon

Question:

210. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health the entitlement of a person to access a product (details supplied) under the medical card scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14454/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Hospital Procedures

Questions (211)

Robert Troy

Question:

211. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if an appointment will be expedited for a person (details supplied). [14457/19]

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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.

Hospital Procedures

Questions (212)

Robert Troy

Question:

212. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if an appointment will be expedited for a person (details supplied). [14461/19]

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 (213)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

213. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health the steps he will take regarding the case of persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14469/19]

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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 an individual case, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Pharmacy Regulations

Questions (214)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

214. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Health if permission to introduce new regulations proposed to change the conditions of work for pharmaceutical assistants by an organisation (details supplied) will be refused; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14470/19]

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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.

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.