Patient Data

Questions (381)

Alan Kelly

Question:

381. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the number of patients being treated for cataracts in public and private hospitals by year and hospital in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019. [16305/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I am conscious that waiting times are often unacceptably long and of the burden that this places on patients and their families. In this regard I am committed to improving waiting times for hospital appointments and procedures.

Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures carried out in the Ophthalmology specialty and is one of the targeted high-volume procedures of the Scheduled Care Access Plan for both 2018 and 2019. 

Waiting List figures published by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) for the end of February show the total number of patients waiting for a cataract procedure fell from 10,024 in July 2017 to under 6,300, a reduction of almost 38%.

The numbers waiting more than 3 months halved in the same period, down from 8,000 to just under 4,000, while those waiting more than 9 months fell from 4,371 to 536, a reduction of 88%.

Last year also saw the establishment of a dedicated Cataract Centre at Nenagh Hospital. This is a stand-alone high-volume consultant-led cataract theatre facility which, at full capacity, will provide a 5-day service and is expected to deliver approximately 2,000 cataract procedures in 2019.

Budget 2019 announced that the Government had further increased investment in tackling waiting lists, with funding to the 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 in March and sets out measures to improve care for patients waiting for scheduled care in 2019 by reducing waiting times for inpatient, day case and outpatient appointments. The plan places a strong focus on ten high-volume procedures, including cataracts. 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.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Patient Data

Questions (382)

Alan Kelly

Question:

382. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the number of patients being treated in Croom Hospital in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019. [16309/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Health Services Provision

Questions (383)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

383. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Health the rheumatology services available for persons in County Wexford; if he is satisfied that there is adequate community rheumatology cover to deal with the demand in the county; his views on whether there is a threat to the rheumatology services being provided for the county at Waterford Regional Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16310/19]

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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.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (384)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

384. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health the charges that persons with disabilities attending HSE care or rehab centres in counties Cavan and Monaghan will cover; if this includes insurance; the rationale for such a charge in view of the fact that it is an additional expense on vulnerable persons and families. [16326/19]

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

HSE Waiting Lists

Questions (385)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

385. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Health the number of children diagnosed with autism and other behavioural conditions such as ADHD and so on in HSE community organisation 7 area who are on waiting lists for the early bird programme (details supplied), speech and language therapy, psychology and occupational therapy; the average length of time these children will be waiting on lists for the services in the area; the number of children on the waiting list for a diagnosis assessment in the area; and the length of time they have been waiting. [16374/19]

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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 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 Applications

Questions (386)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

386. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health when a medical card will issue on discretionary grounds to a child (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16382/19]

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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.

Ambulance Service Staff

Questions (387, 388, 389)

Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

387. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Health the number of ambulance staff that have been suspended over the past year; the number on suspension; and the length of time each suspension has lasted. [16418/19]

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Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

388. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Health the length of time it took to investigate and conclude each ambulance staff suspension in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16419/19]

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Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

389. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Health the procedure in place to bring to conclusion ambulance staff suspensions; if there are agreed timelines for these procedures; if so, if they are being met; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16420/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 387 to 389, inclusive, together.

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

Cannabis for Medicinal Use

Questions (390)

Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

390. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Health when the compassionate access programme for medicinal cannabis will be available; if it is planned to accommodate persons currently using licences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16421/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Good progress is being made in establishing the Cannabis for Medical Use Access Programme:

1. clinical guidelines have been drawn up and published,

2. secondary legislation is being drafted to underpin the Programme,

3. cannabis products for use under the Programme, once reviewed for suitable for medical use, will be published on an ‘approved list’

Background

The Health Products Regulatory Authority’s (HPRA) report ‘Cannabis for Medical Use – A Scientific Review’ recommended that if access to cannabis is to be permitted for medical purposes, it's use should only be initiated as part of a structured process of formal on-going clinical evaluation, in a limited number of clearly defined medical conditions, which have failed to respond to all other previous treatments, and where there is at least modest evidence that cannabis may be effective.

All such patients should be under the direct supervision of an appropriately trained and experienced medical consultant. The specified medical conditions (medical indications) are:

- Spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis;

- Intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy;

- Severe, refractory (treatment-resistant) epilepsy.

The purpose of the Access Programme is to facilitate access to cannabis-based products or preparations that are of a standardised quality and which meet an acceptable level of quality assurance during the manufacturing process.

Quality Standards for medical cannabis products

The Programme aims to facilitate access to certain ‘acceptable’ cannabis products which have not been authorised as medicines by a statutory Medicines Competent Authority. Such products 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. Therefore, 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 standards of these products. 

Access to Medical Cannabis products

Availability of cannabis products that are of an appropriate quality standard and are affordable to patients is critical in establishing the access programme. The Department is aware of only two countries, Canada and the Netherlands, who currently permit commercial export of cannabis products which meet acceptable quality control standards, beyond their borders. The Netherlands permits exports of cannabis dried herb products only, It does not permit commercial export of oil-based cannabis formulations. Canada permits commercial export of all formulations of cannabis products for medical use. 

Department officials are working intensively on finding solutions to the supply of appropriate products for Irish patients and maintain regular contact with their counterparts in Denmark and Canada.

Ministerial Licence Access Route

Pending full operation of the Access Programme, doctors may continue to utilise the Ministerial licencing route to prescribe medical cannabis for their patients. It is intended that the Ministerial licence application scheme will continue to operate in parallel with the Cannabis for Medical Use Access Programme, after the programme becomes operational, for exceptional cases only where there is an unmet clinical need.

While both the Access Programme and the Ministerial licence route might run in parallel initially, it is possible that some of the patients currently using the Ministerial licence route might, where that is possible, be subsumed into the Access Programme, should their treating clinician decide to change their current prescribed cannabis medication to a product that will be provided under the Access Programme. It may not be possible for all the current Ministerial licence holders to transfer immediately; however this will be based on a clinical decision.

Department of Health Website

The Department of Health website contains detailed information on medical cannabis, including clinical guidance on the use of medical cannabis. It is updated in the event of new developments on the issue.

Patient Data

Questions (391)

Alan Kelly

Question:

391. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the number of patients being treated in Croom Hospital in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019. [16422/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

National Maternity Strategy Funding

Questions (392)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

392. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the reason the earlier ring-fenced funding for new developments in the National Maternity Strategy has stalled in the 2019 HSE national service plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16429/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Implementation of the National Maternity Strategy is continuing, led by the HSE National Women and Infants Health Programme (NWIHP).  The Strategy represents a significant development in the delivery of national maternity policy that will fundamentally change how maternity care is delivered in this country. 

In 2016, the year the Strategy was launched, development funding of €3m was provided for maternity services.  This was followed by increased funding of €6.8m in 2017.  In 2018, €4.15m development funding was allocated to the NWIHP to progress the Strategy.  Funding of €3.1m is being made available to the NWIHP in 2019 to continue services introduced in 2018, along with an additional €1m funding to further progress the Strategy. 

Funding allocated to-date for the Strategy’s implementation, has helped to improve the quality and safety of our maternity services through the recruitment of additional midwives, consultants, theatre staff, ultrasonographers and quality and safety managers, by increasing access to routine anomaly scanning and through the continued roll-out of the Maternal and Newborn Clinical Management System. My Department will continue to work with the NWIHP in 2019 to support ongoing implementation of the Strategy.

Home Help Service Provision

Questions (393)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

393. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health if consideration will be given to providing home help hours to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16438/19]

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (394)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

394. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of an appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16441/19]

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (395)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

395. 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. [16443/19]

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (396)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

396. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Donegal will receive an appointment from Letterkenny University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16446/19]

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (397)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

397. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) in County Donegal will be considered for an earlier appointment from Letterkenny University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16447/19]

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.

Hospital Appointments Delays

Questions (398)

John Brassil

Question:

398. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health if the delay in the allocation of an appointment for a person (details supplied) will be investigated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16464/19]

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.