Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

Questions (802)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

802. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Health the efforts being made by the HSE to resolve the delays with children accessing the CAMHS service in County Sligo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19116/19]

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.

HSE Staff Recruitment

Questions (803, 804, 806)

Eugene Murphy

Question:

803. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Health the details of the HSE recruitment embargo that has been put in place; and if the moratorium will be lifted in June 2019 as stated. [19119/19]

View answer

Eugene Murphy

Question:

804. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Health if successful applicants that have been affected by the HSE recruitment embargo and have been advised that they cannot take an accepted position will be employed by the HSE once the moratorium has been lifted. [19120/19]

View answer

Eugene Murphy

Question:

806. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that following the announcement of the HSE recruitment embargo persons that were in the recruitment process and had consequently officially notified their current employers are now unemployed as a result and will have to rely on payments from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. [19122/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 803, 804 and 806 together.

Officials from my Department have been engaging intensively with the HSE in reaching agreement on a Pay and Numbers Strategy for 2019. The key focus in developing the strategy is to ensure that affordable and appropriate recruitment decisions are made by the HSE as they need to operate within their allocated budget considering the National Service Plan approved for 2019. Where individual Hospital Groups or CHOs have not demonstrated their ability to do this, the HSE has decided to introduce interim control measures in these locations, for a consolidation period of three months to the end of June, until it receives clarity on their plans and financial performance for Quarter 1 of 2019. On receipt and acceptance of balanced plans, these additional controls can be reviewed and removed where appropriate.

As your query refers to a specific location, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on the matter.

HSE Staff Recruitment

Question No. 806 answered with Question No. 803.

Questions (805)

Eugene Murphy

Question:

805. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) who was near the end of the recruitment process with the HSE and has now been advised that they cannot proceed due to the HSE recruitment embargo will be employed with the HSE once the moratorium has been lifted. [19121/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Officials from my Department have been engaging intensively with the HSE in reaching agreement on a Pay and Numbers Strategy for 2019. The key focus in developing the strategy is to ensure that affordable and appropriate recruitment decisions are made by the HSE as they need to operate within their allocated budget considering the National Service Plan approved for 2019. Where individual Hospital Groups or CHOs have not demonstrated their ability to do this, the HSE has decided to introduce interim control measures in these locations, for a consolidation period of three months to the end of June, until it receives clarity on their plans and financial performance for Quarter 1 of 2019. On receipt and acceptance of balanced plans, these additional controls can be reviewed and removed where appropriate.

As your query refers to a specific location, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on the matter.

Question No. 806 answered with Question No. 803.

General Medical Services Scheme

Questions (807)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

807. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Health the reason medical card holders must pay €15 per sample when getting bloods taken; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this cost is leading to financial hardship for some persons with illnesses that require many blood samples per month; his plans to change this in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19129/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the terms of the current GMS contract, GPs are required to provide eligible patients with ''all proper and necessary treatment of a kind usually undertaken by a general practitioner and not requiring special skill or experience of a degree or kind which general practitioners cannot reasonably be expected to possess." There is no provision under the GMS GP contract for persons who hold a medical card or GP visit card to be charged for routine phlebotomy services provided by their GP which are required to either assist in the diagnosis of illness or the treatment of a condition.

The HSE has advised GPs that where a blood test forms part of the investigation or necessary treatment of a patient’s symptoms or conditions, this should be free of charge for patients who hold a medical card or GP visit card. Notwithstanding this, I am aware that some GPs are charging GMS patients for phlebotomy services in some circumstances.

This is a matter of concern for me as it has long been the position, under successive Governments, that no user charges should apply to GP services provided to GMS and GP visit card patients. If a patient who holds a medical card or GP visit card believes he or she has been incorrectly charged for routine phlebotomy services by his or her GP, then that patient should report the matter to their HSE Local Health Office.

Maternity Services Provision

Questions (808)

Michael McGrath

Question:

808. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health the number of women on the gynaecology outpatient waiting list (details supplied) at Cork University Maternity Hospital in tabular form; the number awaiting surgery at the hospital; the number of surgeries completed each year since 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19143/19]

View answer

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 and maximising the use of Advanced Nurse Practitioner led clinics. Issues relating to benign gynaecology waiting lists will be examined as part of this process.

Waiting list figures provided to my Department by the NTPF indicate that at the end of March 2019 there were 421 patients on the Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) IPDC waiting list. Of these, 60% are waiting 6 months or less and 74% are waiting 9 months or less.

CUMH continues to work on reducing the inpatient and outpatient waiting list with a focused plan to reduce long waiters. With the support of South/South-West Hospital Group and the NTPF, CUMH have worked to offer treatment to long waiting patients, and have arranged additional outpatient clinics. The benefit of these initiatives can be witnessed in the waiting list numbers.

The CUMH outpatient waiting list for March 2019 recorded a 50% reduction in the numbers waiting for an appointment compared to the same period last year. More specifically, at the end of March 2019 there were 1,854 patients waiting for an appointment. Of these, 79% were waiting 6 months or less and 90% were waiting 9 months or less.

The specific breakdown in waiting list figures requested by the Deputy is provided in the tables below.

In relation to the number of surgeries completed each year since 2007, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Cork University Maternity Hospital Gynaecology Outpatient Waiting List

0-6 mths

6-12 mths

12-18 mths

18-24 mths

24+ mths

Total

1464

347

28

12

3

1854

Cork University Maternity Hospital Gynaecology IPDC Waiting List

0-6 mths

6-12 mths

12-18 mths

18-24 mths

24+ mths

Total

251

104

31

23

12

421

Health Care Infrastructure Provision

Questions (809)

Michael McGrath

Question:

809. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the opening of the second gynaecology operating theatre at Cork University Maternity Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19144/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Hospital Facilities

Questions (810)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

810. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health further to parliamentary question No. 1309 of 20 June 2017, the status of plans for the redevelopment of this facility; the timeframe for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19145/19]

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

HSE Properties

Questions (811)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

811. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health his plans for the disposal or regeneration of a site (details supplied) in Dublin 8; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19147/19]

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.

Drug Treatment Programmes Funding

Questions (812, 813)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

812. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the annual budget of a centre (details suppled); the breakdown of expenditure under the budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19154/19]

View answer

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

813. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the annual budget of a centre (details supplied) in each of the years 2014 to 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19155/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 812 and 813 together.

The centre referred to by the Deputy is funded directly by the HSE. I have therefore asked the Executive to collate the information requested by the Deputy and to reply directly to him.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (814)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

814. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) is waiting for a MRI to diagnose the level of pituitary edema; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19156/19]

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.

Neuro-Rehabilitation Policy

Questions (815)

James Browne

Question:

815. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the development of neurorehabilitation supports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19168/19]

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.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

Questions (816)

Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

816. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Health when legislation to give effect to the proposed changes in the fair deal scheme outlined in the media in February 2018 will come before the Houses of the Oireachtas; the full extent of these changes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19179/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The proposed policy change to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS), to cap contributions based on farm assets at 3 years where a family successor commits to working the productive asset, has been approved by Government. My Department is working on the development of draft Heads of Bill while considering a number of complex ancillary policy and operational matters which may need to be addressed in the proposed legislation.

It is intended that this proposed policy change, the 3 year cap, will be extended to eligible existing participants in long term residential care so that they are not disadvantaged, but that there would be no retrospective recoupment of contributions for those who have paid contributions over and above the 3 year period.

The General Scheme of a Bill has been drafted and we are currently working closely with legal advisers on advice and legal quality control. The focus on matters relating to Brexit, including planning and preparing in a legal and legislative context, has unfortunately had an impact on progressing the Heads of Bill. However, subject to legal advice, I expect to bring the Heads of Bill to Government this month. The changes to the Scheme will come into effect in 2019 subject to the legislative process.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Payments

Questions (817)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

817. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health when the nursing home subvention scheme for a person (details supplied) will be put into payment; the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19181/19]

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.

Occupational Therapy Waiting Lists

Questions (818)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

818. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) is waiting for occupational therapy and physiotherapy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19184/19]

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.

Disability Support Services Provision

Questions (819)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

819. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health the number of times per year since 2008 that funding has been applied for to provide a residential placement for a person (details supplied) who has been waiting since 2008 for this allocation of residential care; the number of applications for funding refused; the dates and if applications for part-time residential care were requested; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19189/19]

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.

Health Strategies

Questions (820)

Mick Wallace

Question:

820. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of implementing the National Strategy and Policy for the Provision of Neuro-Rehabilitation Services in Ireland; if he will dedicate the required funding to the strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19192/19]

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 Waiting Lists

Questions (821)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

821. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will have cataract surgery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19197/19]

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.

Health Services

Questions (822)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

822. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Health if he has considered designating services in Nenagh, County Tipperary, and Ennis, County Clare to alleviate the pressures in University Hospital Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19200/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

General Practitioner Services

Questions (823)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

823. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Health if there is a shortage of general practitioners in Limerick city or the greater Limerick, Clare and Tipperary area that is leading to the constant overcrowding in University Hospital Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19201/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I wish to acknowledge the distress overcrowded Emergency Departments cause to patients, their families and frontline staff working in very challenging working conditions in hospitals throughout the country.

The hospital system is currently operating at close to full capacity. The Emergency Department in University Hospital Limerick is one of the busiest in the country, with the number of patients attending growing year on year.

The HSE are currently undertaking a review of performance across all Hospital Groups and Community Health Organisations over the winter period. The HSE advise that this process will include an independent expert review of clinical, analytical and management capability in University Hospital Limerick and CHO Mid West and the other 8 individual focus sites and their relevant CHOs.

In relation to the question about GP services in Limerick, Clare and Tipperary, as this is a service matter, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (824)

Robert Troy

Question:

824. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if the HSE will provide transport services for a person (details supplied). [19202/19]

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.

General Practitioner Services

Questions (825)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

825. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the reason a general practitioner visit card was only awarded in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19214/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly.

Cannabis for Medicinal Use

Questions (826, 827)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

826. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health his plans to update the medicinal cannabis access programme to make it easier for pharmacies to import medicinal cannabis for medicinal cannabis prescription holders in order that they can access their prescribed medicine here. [19217/19]

View answer

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

827. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health his plans to update the medicinal cannabis access programme to allow for pharmacies to import medicinal cannabis produced by a company (details supplied) for prescription holders in order that they can access their prescribed medicine here. [19218/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 826 and 827 together.

Under existing legislation it is open to Irish registered pharmacists to apply for a Ministerial licence to import, possess and supply cannabis-based products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for a named patient who has been prescribed such products for medical purposes by an Irish registered medical practitioner who has been authorised to do so by Ministerial licence under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

The main elements of an application submitted under the Misuse of Drugs legislation for a licence for THC-based cannabis for medicinal use must include:

- Evidence that the cannabis product has been prescribed by an Irish registered medical practitioner who has been authorised to do so by Ministerial licence under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

- Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland registration details for the licence applicant, including professional registration number and pharmacy premises registration details.

- Details of the cannabis product which it is proposed to import and supply to the patient.

- Details of the named patient to whom the cannabis product is to be supplied. Please include details of the patients representative/guardian, where applicable.

- The source of the cannabis product.

- Details of the distributor of the cannabis product.

However, those patients who have been prescribed a Bedrocan cannabis-based oil product must travel to The Hague to obtain them because under Netherlands government policy, Bedrocan cannabis oil products are not permitted to be commercially exported from the Netherlands.

The Medical Cannabis Access Programme is not yet operational. In the meantime it remains open to a medical practitioner wishing to prescribe cannabis for medical purposes for an individual patient under their care, to apply to the Minister for Health for a licence, under Section 14 of The Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 to 2016 and the Regulations made thereunder.