Speech and Language Therapy Provision

Questions (602)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

602. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health when a replacement speech and language therapist will be found for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18387/19]

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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.

Medicinal Products Availability

Questions (603, 719, 722)

Clare Daly

Question:

603. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health the timeline for the availability of medication for multiple sclerosis named Ocrevus or alternatively ocrelizumab; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18392/19]

View answer

Clare Daly

Question:

719. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health his views in relation to the lengthy delays in access to new medicines experienced by sufferers of MS here in comparison with sufferers in other western European countries; and his plans to address the matter [18807/19]

View answer

Clare Daly

Question:

722. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health his plans to allow persons with multiple sclerosis access to new medicines available in other EU states; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18815/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 603, 719 and 722 together.

The HSE has statutory responsibility for medicine pricing and reimbursement decisions, in accordance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. The Act specifies the criteria for decisions on the reimbursement of medicines. The Minister for Health has no role in this statutory process.

In line with the 2013 Act, if a company would like a medicine to be reimbursed by the HSE pursuant to the community drugs schemes, the company must first submit an application to the HSE to have the new medicine added to the reimbursement list.

As outlined in the Framework Agreement on the Supply and Pricing of Medicines, and in line with the 2013 Act, the HSE will decide, within 180 days of receiving the application (or a longer period if further information is sought from the company), to either add the medicine to the reimbursement list or agree to reimburse it as a hospital medicine, or refuse to reimburse the medicine.

HSE decisions on which medicines are reimbursed by the taxpayer are made on objective, scientific and economic grounds, on the advice of the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE). The NCPE conducts health technology assessments (HTAs) for the HSE and makes recommendations on reimbursement to assist HSE decisions. The NCPE uses a decision framework to systematically assess whether a drug is cost-effective as a health intervention.

The HSE strives to reach a decision in as timely a manner as possible. However, because of the significant monies involved, it must ensure that the best price is achieved, as these commitments are often multi-million euro investments on an on-going basis. This can lead to a protracted deliberation process.

I wish to advise the Deputy that the NCPE completed a health technology assessment on 29 August 2018 for Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) for the treatment of adult patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (RMS). The NCPE recommended that Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) not be considered for reimbursement unless cost-effectiveness can be improved relative to existing treatments.

On 4 October 2018 the NCPE completed their assessment for Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) indicated for the treatment of adult patients with early primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) and did not recommend that Ocrelizumab be reimbursed for this indication.

I am advised by the HSE that there has been considerable engagement between the HSE and the manufacturer of Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) over the past number of months and commercial discussions are ongoing. The HSE is the statutory decision-making body for medicine reimbursement and it will make the final decision on whether Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) will be reimbursed, taking into consideration the statutory criteria contained in the 2013 Health Act.

Autism Support Services

Questions (604)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

604. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health when an autism therapist position will be allocated in County Donegal (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18394/19]

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.

Hospitals Patronage

Questions (605)

John Lahart

Question:

605. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Health the owner of St. Vincent's Private Hospital, Dublin; and the owner of St. Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin. [18397/19]

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 Funding

Questions (606)

John Lahart

Question:

606. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Health the funding and-or grants for building, plant or equipment provided to St. Vincent's University Hospital since 2010, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18398/19]

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.

Hospitals Funding

Questions (607)

John Lahart

Question:

607. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Health the funding and-or grants for building, plant or equipment provided to St. Vincent's Private Hospital since 2010, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18399/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

No capital payments are made from the Health Capital Vote to private hospitals including St Vincent's Private Hospital.

Hospital Facilities

Questions (608)

James Browne

Question:

608. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health if the HSE has taken a lease out on a building (details supplied); if so, the length of the lease; the commencement date of the lease; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18407/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Pharmacy Regulations

Questions (609)

Seamus Healy

Question:

609. Deputy Seamus Healy asked the Minister for Health if pharmacy qualified assistants will be entitled to continue to provide cover for pharmacists as heretofore in view of legislative proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18408/19]

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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.

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

On 8 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.

As the Rules submitted to me are currently subject to legal challenge, and I am a party to the proceedings, I will not be commenting further on the matter.

Home Care Packages Provision

Questions (610)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

610. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Health when an application for home support by a person (details supplied) will be assessed. [18409/19]

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.

Mental Health Services Provision

Questions (611)

Joan Burton

Question:

611. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Health the status of the implementation of the youth mental health pathfinder initiative; the roadmap and timeline to full implementation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18414/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The proposal to establish a cross-governmental youth mental health Pathfinder team with participation from the Department of Health, the Department of Education & Skills and the Department of Children & Youth Affairs has Civil Service Management Board and Ministerial approval.

The proposal is to formalise a new model for collaborative working within Government on a statutory footing by utilising section 12 of the Public Service Management Act 1997. This section of the 1997 Act has never been used before. Various administrative, budgetary, governance and legal arrangements need to be put in place to ensure a robust and workable model for Pathfinder.

The Department of Health has engaged extensively with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and as a result the participating Departments are considering a number of implementation options that address the above issues.

I am due to meet with Minister Donohoe and his officials on the 29th of this month, I hope to make substantial progress on the matter in the coming months.

Mental Health Services Provision

Questions (612)

Joan Burton

Question:

612. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Health his plans to address the delays in access and lack of resources in mental health services for children and young persons; his plans to implement in full the recommendations of the report of the task force on youth mental health; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18416/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The National Youth Mental Health Task Force was established in response to an undertaking in the Programme for Partnership Government 2016. It was asked to produce a series of action-focused recommendations to increase youth-specific mental health initiatives nationally. The Taskforce report was published in December 2017 and actions are to be delivered over a three-year time frame.

Since publication of the Taskforce report, a number of the recommendations have been incorporated into the service plans of lead agencies who are delivering on the actions assigned to them. The implementation of these recommendations has been on-going. Since the report was launched a number of priorities have been delivered including; the provision of additional on-line information and sign-posting tools and supports; development of a resilience-based national mental health promotion campaign; provision of multi-disciplinary mental health training; the introduction of perinatal mental health training to staff; the development of several on-line supports such as crisis text line and tele-counselling; and the introduction of a revised junior cycle curriculum in schools to include more mental health awareness.

There is a number of outstanding recommendations yet to be implemented and it is intended that these will be implemented within the three-year time frame.

Disability Support Services

Questions (613)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

613. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Health the future of a care facility (details supplied); if there are plans to close the facility; and the arrangements made for patients if closure is imminent [18427/19]

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

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (614)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

614. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Health when an appointment for cataract surgery will be allocated for a person (details supplied). [18429/19]

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.

Mental Health Services

Questions (615)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

615. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if an awareness campaign will be launched (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18432/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

A diagnosis of dementia creates a number of challenges for the person directly impacted by the condition, as well as their families and friends. Apart from the changes which are often necessary to enable the person with dementia to continue living well in their own area, the stigma surrounding dementia generates an additional challenge of isolation from the wider community.

While many of us know someone living with dementia, it is often poorly understood. 1 in 2 people in Ireland know someone who has been diagnosed with dementia, but only 1 in 4 say they have a good understanding of it and 2 in 5 know “little or nothing” about dementia.

To address this issue, Dementia: Understand Together, a national public awareness campaign, was created by the HSE to produce and deliver a range of information resources and materials for people with dementia and the wider general population. A multimedia advertising and public relations campaign has greatly increased the awareness of dementia. In addition, a comprehensive website has been created at www.understandtogether.ie to provide general information on dementia, education and resources available in each county.

The need to plan for the eventuality of further progression of the dementia is also considered on the Understand Together website. The "Legal and Financial" section emphasises the need for people with dementia to plan for their future, highlighting areas such as enduring power of attorney, driving, insurance and employment issues. Links are provided to the Alzheimer Society of Ireland website, which offers advice to people with dementia on how to plan their future financial, legal and healthcare needs. On this basis, a separate awareness campaign on wills and power of attorney is not considered necessary at this point.

Disability Support Services Provision

Questions (616)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

616. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health when specialist nurses will be made available to Parkinson's disease sufferers in County Kerry (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18433/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Services are provided by the Health Service Executive based on clinical need and eligibility. As the matter raised by the Deputy gives reference to a specific area I have referred the Deputy's question to the HSE for attention and direct reply.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (617)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

617. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Health the waiting times for women seeking gynaecological services for investigation of ovarian cysts at hospitals in Dublin 2, 4, 6 and 8; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18438/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital appointments 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 waiting times for inpatient/day case treatment and outpatient appointments. Under the Plan the HSE, in line with the National Service Plan, will aim to deliver 1.155 million elective inpatient and day case discharges, as well as 3.3 million outpatient appointments, of which approximately 1 million will be first appointments.

While the meeting of short-term targets is always welcome, more can be achieved and in this regard the HSE, Department of Health and NTPF, under the Access Plan, will work together with the objective of developing medium-long term improvement initiatives for patient access to hospital procedures. This will include moving care to more appropriate settings and providing care at the lowest level of complexity such as providing ophthalmology in the community; maximising the use of Advanced Nurse Practitioner led clinics. Issues relating to gynaecology waiting lists will be examined as part of this process.

The NTPF advise that the nature of outpatient waiting lists is such that they capture the numbers awaiting outpatient appointments by specialty, but cannot be used to determine medical diagnosis.

The NTPF further advise that they are unable to provide specific waiting times for inpatient/daycase "gynaecological services for investigation of ovarian cysts", as the question does not relate to a specific procedure used specifically to investigate ovarian cysts. However, the NTPF have provided my Department with data on Laparoscopy, which is a procedure which can be used for investigation of ovarian cysts. It should be noted that Laparoscopy can be used for a variety of medical investigations, and is not limited to the investigation of ovarian cysts alone.

The total number of patients waiting for Laparoscopy in hospitals in the D2, D4, D6, and D8 area is 16. This number can be broken down as follows:

St James Hospital – 14

Small Volume Hospitals – 2*

*To preserve patient confidentiality, where there are <5 patients waiting for a procedure, the number has been aggregated under 'Small Volume Hospitals'.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Applications

Questions (618)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

618. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Health if an application by a person (details supplied) for the fair deal scheme will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18443/19]

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 (619)

Mary Butler

Question:

619. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will receive an appointment for a procedure; if the matter will be expedited in view of the special circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18457/19]

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.

Care Services Provision

Questions (620)

James Browne

Question:

620. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health when a location (details supplied) in County Wexford will become operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18462/19]

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 Waiting Lists

Questions (621)

John McGuinness

Question:

621. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health if an appointment will be arranged for a person (details supplied); the timeframe for such treatment and the likelihood of the patient being scheduled for an early appointment; if there is a waiting list for this treatment; and if so, the action that can be taken to obtain the treatment elsewhere in view of the fact that the patient has a medical card but no means [18463/19]

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.

Tobacco Control Measures

Questions (622)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

622. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of retail outlets registered to sell tobacco with the National Register of Tobacco Retailers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18469/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this matter is an operational issue I have sent the question to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.

Patient Data

Questions (623)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

623. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the basis on which some hospitals are allowing an organisation (details supplied) to collect samples and data from patients attending clinics in order to build a database of genetic information on Irish persons. [18470/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy raises a service matter I have asked the HSE to consider and respond directly to the Deputy.

Ambulance Service Data

Questions (624)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

624. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of HSE ambulances in operation by year in tabular form. [18471/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Ambulance Service Data

Questions (625)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

625. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the amount spent on repairs to HSE ambulances in each of the years 2011 to 2018, in tabular form. [18472/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Capital Expenditure Programme

Questions (626, 627)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

626. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health if the capital plan for 2019 has been finalised; and if not, when it will be finalised. [18473/19]

View answer

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

627. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 319 of 26 February 2019, the status of same. [18474/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 626 and 627 together.

My Department and the Health Service Executive are currently engaged in a process to finalise the HSE Capital Plan for 2019. The HSE Capital Plan will propose the projects that can progress in 2019 and beyond having regard to the available capital funding, the number of large national capital projects currently underway, the cash-flow requirements attaching to each project and the relevant priority.

Once the HSE has finalised its Capital Plan for 2019, it will then be submitted to me for consideration.