Hospitals Building Programme

Questions (952)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

952. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health the status of plans to build a new oncology treatment facility at Galway University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19657/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to you in relation to this matter.

Nursing Staff Data

Questions (953)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

953. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health the part-time and full-time nurse staffing levels at University Hospital Waterford compared to recommended sanctioned levels. [19668/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is an operational issue, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to you directly as soon as possible.

Nursing Staff Recruitment

Question No. 955 answered with Question No. 684.

Questions (954)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

954. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health his plans for recruitment of additional nurses at University Hospital Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19669/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is an operational issue, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to you directly as soon as possible.

Question No. 955 answered with Question No. 684.

Assisted Human Reproduction

Questions (956)

Micheál Martin

Question:

956. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health if LGBTQI+ couples will be able to access IVF through the €1 million fund announced in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19688/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

In October 2017, the Government approved the drafting of a Bill on assisted human reproduction (AHR) and associated areas of research, based on the published General Scheme of the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill. The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health is currently conducting a review of the General Scheme as part of the pre-legislative scrutiny process, which began in January of last year. The Joint Committee intends to report thereon before the summer recess and the recommendations in its report will be considered during the ongoing process of drafting this Bill in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General.

Interlinked with the legislation, officials in my Department, in conjunction with the HSE, are developing a model of care for infertility and an associated public fund for AHR. This work includes developing proposals on the allocation of a €1 million fund for use in relation to providing public AHR treatment which was announced in December 2018.

A key principle which will inform all relevant decisions in this respect is that, subject to certain conditions, access to funding for IVF or other AHR treatments will be available to people irrespective of gender, marital status or sexual orientation.

National Advocacy Service

Questions (957)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

957. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the status of the establishment of the national advocacy service for patients; when the service will commence; the budget for 2019; the proposed number of staff providing the service; the scope of health services in which advocates can assist patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19764/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

My department has commissioned the national independent Patient Advocacy Service. This service will provide a free, independent and confidential service to help those who wish to make a complaint about the health service or who have been involved in a patient safety incident and help them to reach resolution. It will foster a responsive, compassionate and supportive approach to assisting people when they are unhappy with their care.

The advocates engaged by the service will support the patient with an individual complaint by empowering the person to have their voice heard in the complaints process. They do not take sides and seek to ensure a process is fair and that the individual’s views, concerns and decisions are adequately addressed.

The service is expected to be available in the Autumn of 2019. Accredited training of patient safety complaints advocates commences this month. The service will be provided nationally for public acute hospital patients, extending to service users in the community by 2021. At its full complement, it is anticipated the service will engage up to 20 Advocates to provide the Patient Advocacy Service on a national basis.

The contract to operate the new service was awarded to the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities in December 2018 for a duration of 2.5 years. The budget for 2019 is €1.1 million.

Appointments to State Boards Data

Questions (958)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

958. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health if he has made State board appointments in the past three years in circumstances in which he has reappointed a person that has already served two full terms contrary to the advice in section 13.2 of the Guidelines on Appointments to State boards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19765/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The nomination and appointment process for boards of bodies under the aegis of my Department is set out in legislation. In line with Government Decision S180/20/10/1617 of 2014 and Guidelines set out by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform relating to the advertising for expressions of interest in vacancies on State Boards, my Department in conjunction with the Public Appointments Service currently advertises for board vacancies as they arise, where I, as Minister for Health, have nominating rights under relevant legislation. I also appoint members on the nomination of various bodies, again in accordance with the relevant legislation.

I have made 28 re-appointments of individuals who have already served two terms to 12 state boards during the past three years. As with all re-appointments, consultation takes place with the Chair of the Board regarding the re-appointment of members who have demonstrated through their performance on the state board their effectiveness and contribution which warrants their re-appointment.

While I am always mindful of the advice referred to by the Deputy, there are at times other factors including the need for unique and specialised knowledge in certain health fields, that mean that the re-appointment of a board member is the best course of action for that board and the organisation in question.

Healthcare Professionals

Questions (959)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

959. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health if there is a legislative provision in the Dentists Act 1985, the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005, the Pharmacy Act 2007, the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 and the Nurses and Midwifery Act 2011 or the Regulated Professions (Health and Social Care) (Amendment) Bill 2019 which would prohibit a registrant that is or has been subject to a sanction by the five health regulators from subsequently serving on the council and-or board and or its disciplinary committees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19766/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

There are no provisions in the Dentists Act 1985, the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005, the Pharmacy Act 2007, the Medical Practitioners Act 2007, the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011 or the Regulated Professions (Health and Social Care) (Amendment) Bill 2019 to explicitly prohibit a registrant that is or has been the subject of a sanction by any of the five health professional regulators from subsequently serving on the Council/Board or on a disciplinary committee of a health professional regulatory body.

HSE Staff Data

Questions (960)

James Lawless

Question:

960. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Health the number of posts vacant in the mid-Kildare network disability team; the number of posts the HSE is inviting applications for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19774/19]

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 Services Provision

Questions (961)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

961. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the locations in which persons in CHO area 9 can access hydrotherapy pool treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19775/19]

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (962)

Barry Cowen

Question:

962. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) can expect an appointment. [19781/19]

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.

Maternity Services Provision

Questions (963)

Micheál Martin

Question:

963. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health if he has received requests and proposals to increase the neonatal screening services provided here; his plans to consider doing so; if there is a group of experts reviewing same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19786/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I commonly receive requests from the public and healthcare professionals to consider the expansion of the national newborn bloodspot screening programme. All babies (between 3 and 5 days old) born in Ireland are currently screened for 8 rare but serious medical conditions as part of the programme.

These include:

- cystic fibrosis

- congenital hypothyroidism- phenylketonuria- classical galactosaemia- MCADD (medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency)- homocystinuria- maple syrup urine disease- glutaric aciduria type 1

The most recent expansion of the programme occurred on 03 December 2018 when screening for Medium Chain Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency (MCADD) and Glutaric Aciduria Type 1 (GA1) commenced.

As per recommendation 5 contained within the Scally Review (2018), a National Screening Committee will be established and become operational before the end of 2019. This is to strengthen the governance, transparency and oversight of any proposed new programmes or changes to existing programmes. Similar to the UK National Screening Committee, the Committee’s role will be to undertake an independent assessment of the evidence for screening for a particular condition against internationally accepted criteria and make recommendations accordingly.

Any future potential changes to the National Newborn Bloodspot Screening Programme will be incorporated as part of the Committee's work programme.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (964)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

964. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if a one-to-one occupational therapy appointment will be scheduled at the school of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19788/19]

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 Research Board

Questions (965)

John Curran

Question:

965. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health his plans to deal with the health crisis in view of new figures from the Health Research Board indicating the year on year rise in cocaine use, with 1,500 cases treated for cocaine use in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19808/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery; a health-led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017-2025’, sets out a whole-of-Government response to the problem of drug and alcohol use in Ireland. It aims to provide an integrated, public health approach to drug and alcohol use based on providing person-centred services that promote rehabilitation and recovery. I am fully committed to its implementation. The Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of services to individuals with substance misuse issues. I have therefore asked the executive to investigate the matter raised and to reply to the Deputy directly.

Primary Care Centres

Questions (966)

John Curran

Question:

966. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health if he is satisfied with the roll-out of primary care centres in mid-western areas of Dublin city since publishing the progress report on the primary care centres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19809/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is committed to enhancing and expanding capacity in the Primary Care sector so that we can provide services in local communities and allow people to be cared for in their own homes and communities for as long as possible.

As stated in the Progress Report on Primary Care Centres (PCCs), there are now 127 fully operational centres, up from 70 at the end of 2012. Just as importantly, there is a pipeline of PCCs in development, including nine more projects that are expected to become operational in 2019 with a further 11 to follow in 2020.

I understand that PCCs are being progressed for the Midwestern areas of Dublin City such as Clondalkin and Lucan. As the HSE has responsibility for the provision of these facilities, the Executive has been asked to reply directly to the Deputy to provide him with the latest information on these developments.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (967)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

967. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) must wait for another 18 months for an operation in view of the fact their condition was diagnosed over three years ago; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19815/19]

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.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Eligibility

Questions (968)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

968. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the correct procedure to be followed by an elderly person that potentially requires nursing home support but receives only a weekly pension and owns no property; the options available to them in such circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19824/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS), commonly referred to as Fair Deal, is a system of financial support for people who require long-term residential care. Participants contribute to the cost of their care according to their means while the State pays the balance of the cost. The Scheme aims to ensure that long-term residential care is accessible and affordable for everyone and that people are cared for in the most appropriate settings.

Participants in the Scheme contribute up to 80% of their assessable income and a maximum of 7.5% per annum of the value of assets held. Assets include property, land, monies held in a financial institution, shares, stocks, bonds, securities or other financial instruments, or monies lent to another person which are repayable; this list is not exhaustive.

In the first instance, where a person may require nursing home care, an application should be made for NHSS through the HSE and the person's local Nursing Homes Support Office; HSE Live is contactable on 041 6850 300.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (969)

Barry Cowen

Question:

969. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health the status of the case of a person (details supplied); and when they can expect an appointment at the Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore, County Offaly. [19846/19]

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.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

Questions (970)

Robert Troy

Question:

970. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health when the criteria for the fair deal scheme will change in terms of family businesses to exclude working family businesses as part of the deal. [19847/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The proposed policy change to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS), to cap contributions based on farm and business 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.

Hospital Waiting Lists Data

Questions (971)

James Lawless

Question:

971. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Health the waiting time for the orthopaedic surgery list at Tallaght hospital with particular reference to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19848/19]

View answer

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 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 treatment and outpatient appointments. The plan will place a strong focus on a number of high-volume procedures, including hip and knee replacements. 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 high-volume procedures.

As of the end of March 2019, there were 1,565 patients on the orthopaedic inpatient and daycase waiting list at Tallaght University Hospital. This represents a decrease of almost 20% on the same period last year when there were 1,943 patients waiting. A further breakdown of the waiting list is provided for Deputy in the attached filed.

In relation to the waiting time for the patient concerned, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Tallaght University Hospital

 0-3 Mths

 3-6 Mths

 6-9 Mths

 9-12 Mths

12-15 Mths

Orthopaedics

Latest

396

359

193

173

134

Last Year

436

427

321

231

141

YoY Var

-40

-68

-128

-58

-7

YoY Var %

-9.17%

-15.93%

-39.88%

-25.11%

-4.96%

table cont.

Tallaght University Hospital

15-18 Mths

18-24 Mths

24-36 Mths

36-48 Mths

48+ Mths

Grand Total

Orthopaedics

Latest

107

109

89

5

0

1565

Last Year

113

171

91

11

1

1943

YoY Var

-6

-62

-2

-6

-1

-378

YoY Var %

-5.31%

-36.26%

-2.20%

-54.55%

-100.00%

-19.45%

HSE Properties

Questions (972)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

972. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health if a site (details supplied) owned by the HSE will have improvement works carried out in view of the fact it is falling into a derelict state and is becoming unsightly. [19849/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Disability Services Funding

Questions (973)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

973. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 309 of 9 April 2019, when a response will issue. [19850/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Hospital Staff Recruitment

Questions (974)

Frank O'Rourke

Question:

974. Deputy Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Health if radiographer vacancies for DEXA scanning services at Naas General Hospital have now been filled further to a recent recruitment campaign; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19858/19]

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.

Hospital Staff Recruitment

Questions (975)

Frank O'Rourke

Question:

975. Deputy Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Health the steps taken to resolve the shortage of radiographers to conduct MRI scans at Naas General Hospital in view of the fact that the afternoon service appears to have been suspended with patients being transported via ambulance to privately outsourced clinics to have their MRI scans there; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19859/19]

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.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (976)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Question:

976. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health the number of persons with disabilities in receipt of home support hours in each LHO area at the end of April 2019 or the latest date available; the number of persons currently on the waiting list for same in each LHO area; and the number waiting zero to three, three to six, six to 12 and more than 12 months, respectively, in tabular form. [19860/19]

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.