Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Questions (36)

Richard Boyd Barrett


36. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach when Cabinet committee E (Health) last met. [12374/19]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

Cabinet Committee E last met on 22 November 2018. A date for the next meeting is being scheduled.

In addition to the meetings of the full Cabinet and of Cabinet Committees, I often meet with Ministers on an individual basis to focus on particular issues. In this regard, I meet regularly with Minister Harris to discuss issues relating to our health service.

The Government’s continuing commitment to improve access to health and social services for the people of Ireland through investment across community and hospital services is reflected in the significant increases in Health investment in recent years. This year will see the highest ever level of health funding in the history of the State.

Recent significant developments include:

The publication of the Sláintecare Action Plan for 2019, the first of what will be annual plans, sets out in a detailed and measurable way how the ambitious 10-year reform programme will be advanced this year.

Minister Harris recently launched the €20 million Sláintecare Integration Fund for new models of health and social care, which will help share and scale examples of best practice, and encourage innovations in the shift of care to the community.

Last week, an agreement was reached with the Irish Medical Organisation on a major package of GP contractual reforms that will benefit patients and make general practice a more attractive career option for doctors.

On 1 April, primary care enhancements announced in Budget 2019 for reduced prescription charges and reduced drug payment scheme and increased GP visit card income thresholds came into effect. This is a step forward in benefitting potentially hundreds of thousands of people when these three actions are taken together.

A new HSE board is being established to strengthen the management, governance and accountability of the HSE. Appointments to the Board have been made on an administrative basis after the positions were advertised through the State Board process operated by the Public Appointments Service.

Following an open competition by the Public Appointments Service, Mr Paul Reid was appointed the new Director General of the HSE last week and is expected to begin the position on 14 May.

Significant progress has been made since the Cabinet Committee last met.

Questions Nos. 37 to 59, inclusive, resubmitted.
Questions Nos. 60 to 68, inclusive, answered orally.