Health Services

Questions (334)

James Browne

Question:

334. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the development of the remuneration and reimbursement scheme; if the scheme will reopen to new applicants; if so, when the scheme will reopen; the number availing of the scheme by community healthcare organisation, CHO; if there is a waiting list for new applicants; if so, the number on the waiting list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21358/19]

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 (335)

Peter Fitzpatrick

Question:

335. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will receive a hospital appointment. [21363/19]

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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.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (336)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

336. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if a full medical card is still in date in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21366/19]

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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 direct reply to the Deputy.

Nursing Staff Remuneration

Questions (337)

Robert Troy

Question:

337. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the steps he is taking in conjunction with the HSE to increase levels of pay in the nursing sector; the steps being taken to increase the payscale for newly qualified nurses; and his views on whether current payscale rates are causing a large portion of graduates to seek employment overseas and thus denying hospitals here of highly trained personnel. [21367/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The recent Labour Court recommendations in relation to the nurses dispute and the new Enhanced Practice Nurse/Midwife contract will see the financial position of nurses and midwives improve and should help to both recruit and retain nurses in the public health service.   I welcome the fact that the the INMO membership voted 62% in favour of accepting these recommendations and the new contract.  

In relation to pay, the new Enhanced Practice Nurse and Midwife contract will deliver salary improvements for those that migrate to this new role range from between 2% - 11%.  The Enhanced Nurse / Midwife Practice salary scale ranges between €35,806 to €47,201.  The agreement will see improvements to a range of allowances, their extension to additional nurses and midwives, and a new allowance for those in medical surgical wards up to the maximum full year cost of €10m.  It also includes a commitment to increase the number of Advanced Nurse Practitioners to a minimum of 2% of the nursing workforce.

The HSE are currently working on a plan to deliver the implementation of the agreement.

Health Screening Programmes

Questions (338)

Micheál Martin

Question:

338. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health if he has received a report from an organisation (details supplied) on expanding the newborn screening process to include very rare diseases; if proposals are being examined in relation to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21374/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

My Office has received correspondence directing my attention to a petition to extend the newborn screening programme and which is hosted on the www.myuplift.ie website.

Currently all newborn babies (between 3 and 5 days old)  are offered newborn bloodspot screening (generally known as the ‘heel prick’) through their parents/guardians for eight very rare conditions that are treatable if detected early in life.

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 3rd 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.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (339)

Robert Troy

Question:

339. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 190 of 18 April 2019, if a date for optical surgery will be expedited for a person (details supplied). [21386/19]

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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.

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 Scheduled Care Access Plan is a key pillar of the project plan to deliver on the Ministerial and Department’s 2019 Priority to improve Acute Hospital Waiting Times. The governance and oversight structures to oversee NTPF and HSE performance in the delivery against the targets set out in the Plan has been expanded to include a Working Group whose remit is to develop initiatives aimed at improving access for patients to scheduled care in a number of high volume specialities including Ophthalmology.

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 Waiting Lists

Questions (340)

Robert Troy

Question:

340. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will be called for surgery in Cappagh hospital. [21393/19]

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 Waiting Lists

Questions (341)

Peter Fitzpatrick

Question:

341. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will receive surgery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21397/19]

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 Reports

Questions (342)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

342. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health the status of the working group report on the model of care for lymphoedema; the actions that will be carried out following same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21409/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The working group report detailing the proposed model of care for lymphoedema and lipoedema treatment in Ireland has been finalised and was published on the HSE website last month. The report is available at:

https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/publications/lymphoedema-model-of-care.pdf.

The HSE will initiate a 12-month 'proof of concept' programme in September this year.  This programme will consist of:

- an early detection service in the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin;

- a community demonstration site in Community Healthcare Organisation 8 (Laois/Offaly);

- the introduction of lymphoedema education into undergraduate programmes; and,

- eLearning modules in lymphoedema awareness for health care practitioners.

Medical Products Supply

Questions (343)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

343. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 823 of 26 March 2019, the position regarding the provision of a drug (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21411/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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 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). It 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 its assessment for Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) for the treatment of adult patients with early primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). It did not recommend that Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) be reimbursed for this indication.  

The HSE is the statutory decision-making body for medicine reimbursement. It will make the final decision on whether Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) will be reimbursed for each of these indications, taking into consideration the statutory criteria contained in the 2013 Health Act.

I am advised by the HSE that there has been considerable engagement with the manufacturer over the past number of months and that commercial discussions are ongoing. 

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Data

Questions (344)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

344. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health the number of persons awaiting placement under the fair deal scheme; the average waiting time; the number of persons awaiting placement by local health area, in tabular form; and the length of time waiting. [21422/19]

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.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Payments

Questions (345)

James Browne

Question:

345. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the reason pre-fair deal hospital patients must pay an additional €2 of their €5 pension increase to the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21423/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In March 2019, the Minister for Health, with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, made the Health (Residential Support Services Maintenance and Accommodation Contributions) (Amendment) Regulations 2019.

The 2019 Regulations adjusted the amount of the weekly maintenance and accommodation contribution required to be made, under the Health (Residential Support Services Maintenance and Accommodation Contributions) Regulations 2016, by all recipients of “residential support services” (as defined in section 67A(1) of the Health Act 1970).  These included a number of long-stay nursing home residents who have been in receipt of those nursing home services since prior to the commencement of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme ("Fair Deal") in October 2009.

The main effect of the 2019 amendments was to increase the contribution rates required to be paid by recipients of residential support services, based on each individual’s weekly income, by €2 per week opposite weekly income band increases of €5 per week. The net effect of the Regulations, intended to ensure equitable treatment of recipients, was that recipients of residential support services, particularly lower income recipients, whether or not in receipt of an income increase, retained an extra €3 per week for personal use from their social welfare or other income, with effect from 29 March 2019.

On foot of Budget 2019, across-the-board social welfare payment rate increases of €5 per week came into operation between 20 March 2019 and 29 March 2019 inclusive.  The rate increases provided for in the 2019 Regulations came into operation on 29 March 2019.

Ambulance Service Data

Questions (346)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

346. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 624 of 8 May 2019, the mileage on each ambulance by location, in tabular form. [21428/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

HSE Funding

Questions (347, 348)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

347. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the amount of funding the HSE requested for the drugs budget for 2019; and the amount of new funding requested by the HSE. [21429/19]

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Louise O'Reilly

Question:

348. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the amount of funding the HSE requested for the drugs budget for 2019 for new medicines. [21430/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 347 and 348 together.

The HSE did not request a separate drugs and medicines budget during the 2019 Estimates process. However, the National Service Plan 2019 includes a provision of €10m for new drugs enabled by an invest to save programme.

Community Care

Questions (349, 351)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

349. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the section of the HSE or his Department under which social prescribing falls. [21432/19]

View answer

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

351. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health if funding will be forthcoming to roll out social prescribing across the health service in view of the successes of social prescribing in counties Donegal, Waterford and Dublin 8. [21434/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 349 and 351 together.

At present there is no formal policy or plan for social prescribing in the Department of Health.  However, in close collaboration with the Research Services Unit of this Department, the HSE is working to strengthen the evidence base for social prescribing through those initiatives identified by the Deputy.

As part of the information sought comes under the remit of the HSE, this PQ has been referred for reply. We have asked the HSE to reply directly to Deputy. 

Community Care

Question No. 351 answered with Question No. 349.

Questions (350)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

350. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health if funding will be forthcoming to continue to support the Waterford social prescribing service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21433/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Funding of €36,220 for the Waterford Social Prescribing Service was provided to Waterford Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) through Round 2 (2018) of the Healthy Ireland Fund.  Arrangements for the third Round of the Healthy Ireland Fund are being finalised by my Department and are due to be communicated to the relevant agencies shortly.  Waterford LCDC will be invited to apply for the third Round of the Fund.

Question No. 351 answered with Question No. 349.

Cross-Border Health Services Provision

Questions (352)

Michael Moynihan

Question:

352. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health if an application for funding under the cross-Border directive for a person (details supplied) in County Cork will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21442/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Deputy will be aware that the HSE carries out, under the Cross Border Directive (CBD), the functions of the National Contact Point for Cross Border healthcare in Ireland, including reimbursement, and must establish the entitlement of the patient to reimbursement prior to making any reimbursement.  As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.