Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (391)

John Brady

Question:

391. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Health the supports provided for children diagnosed with autism in Bray, County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21642/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. 

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

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Questions (392)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

392. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) will be assisted in securing an appliance. [21644/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Paediatric Services

Questions (393)

James Browne

Question:

393. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the loco parentis rule within paediatric homecare packages; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21645/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

Questions (394)

Seán Fleming

Question:

394. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the proposed changes to the fair deal scheme taking into account the position of farming assets held by persons who are under the scheme; the timeline for the report to be published and implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21650/19]

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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 focus on matters relating to Brexit, including planning and preparing in a legal and legislative context, unfortunately delayed progress, however, the General Scheme of a Bill has now been drafted and we are currently at a very advanced stage of the internal quality control process.  I therefore expect to bring the Heads of Bill to Government shortly. The changes to the Scheme will come into effect in 2019 subject to the legislative process.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (395)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

395. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if the decision to disallow an application for a medical card will be reviewed in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21652/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (396)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

396. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health if a child (details supplied) can be admitted for surgery. [21660/19]

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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.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (397)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

397. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health the position regarding medical intervention in respect of a child (details supplied) in County Cork. [21663/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to you directly as soon as possible.

Hospital Services

Questions (398)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

398. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if matters regarding University Hospital Kerry will be addressed (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21684/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

My Department and I have sought to be kept informed of the issues that have arisen in 2017 at the University Hospital Kerry Radiology Department on a regular basis.

Once the issue in UHK was identified, a comprehensive Look-Back Review was conducted, and the report of this process provides assurance that the issues have been examined appropriately from a clinical perspective. The final report was released in December 2018, which noted that the review included over 46,000 scans and 26,000 patients. The report notes that over 400 patients were recalled for additional examination. The HSE have confirmed that the Look-back Review was conducted in line with the HSE National Policy.

My Department has been reassured by the South/South West Hospital Group that all patients have received or are receiving the care they need. I have been assured by the HSE that open disclosure has taken place with all affected patients and their families.  

The report made a total of 11 recommendations. The HSE and S/SWHG have also provided assurance that the hospital and hospital group recommendations are at an advanced stage of implementation. The HSE has also advised that the national recommendations are being considered and progressed by the Faculty of Radiologists, RCSI. This includes a recommendation regarding an acceptable volume of work for an individual radiologist. My department continues to be informed of the progress of the implementation of the recommendations made in the Report.

I once again wish to express my heartfelt sympathies to the patients and their families. My department and I accept that this has been a distressing time for those involved. My priority remains ensuring their confidentiality is respected and their care needs are addressed.

Respite Care Services Data

Questions (399)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

399. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the number of tenders received for the provision of respite services at a centre (details supplied) with respect to the most recent competition for the procurement of the services; the name of the organisation in the case of each tender submission received; the respite hours each organisation is willing to provide per week; if submissions stipulated a willingness to provide weekend cover; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21699/19]

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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.

The Programme for Partnership Government states that the Government wishes to provide more accessible respite care to facilitate full support for people with a disability.

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.

Information and Communications Technology

Questions (400)

Jack Chambers

Question:

400. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Health if software (details supplied) is being used by the HSE; if not, the reason therefore; the cost breakdown for the software; if new software has been or will be acquired; his plans regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21734/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Health Services Staff Data

Questions (401)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

401. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of staff working in the health service in each of the years 2008 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by occupation. [21744/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Health Services Staff Training

Questions (402)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

402. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the reason student nurses are now being calculated as one full whole-time equivalent nurse in view of the fact that previously they were calculated as a 0.5 whole-time equivalent nurse (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21745/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Obesity Strategy

Questions (403)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

403. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the details of the development of an annual bulletin or scorecard to evaluate progress in the national obesity plan further to a debate in Dáil Éireann (details supplied); when the framework will be finalised; when the qualitative assessment of progress in implementing the national obesity policy and action plan will be compiled and published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21746/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

A Healthy Weight for Ireland’, the Government’s Obesity Policy and Action Plan (OPAP), was launched in September 2016 under the auspices of the Healthy Ireland agenda.

The OPAP covers a ten year period up to 2025 and aims to reverse obesity trends, prevent health complications and reduce the overall burden for individuals, families, the health system, and the wider society and economy. Indeed it must be emphasised that every sector of our society has a role in reducing the burden of obesity and the OPAP clearly acknowledges this.

The OPAP policy prescribed 'Ten Steps Forward' that would be taken to prevent overweight and obesity. A new Obesity Policy Implementation Oversight Group (OPIOG) was established in October 2017 and a progress report on each recommendation in the OPAP is currently being finalised under the aegis of the OPIOG. It is expected that this progress report will be published in the coming weeks.

In relation to the annual bulletin or scorecard to evaluate the progress made with implementing the OPAP, my Department has requested the Health Research Board Centre for Diet and Research at University College Cork to develop a framework for this.  It is expected that this framework will be finalised before the summer, which will then allow for a qualitative and robust assessment of progress with implementing the OPAP to be compiled and published later in the year, and on an annual basis thereafter.

Hospital Services

Questions (404)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

404. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health if he or Ministers of State at his Department have visited University Hospital Kerry in view of the developing situation for patients who have had their scans missed or misread there; and if not, his plans to visit the hospital. [21747/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I have sought to be kept informed of the issues that have arisen at the University Hospital Kerry Radiology Department on a regular basis.  

I wish to once again express my heartfelt sympathies to the patients and their families. I have been assured open disclosure has taken place with all of the affected patients and their families. My absolute priority remains ensuring their confidentiality is respected and their care needs are addressed.  

In this respect I have been reassured by the South/South West Hospital Group that all patients have received or are receiving the care they need.

In relation to visiting the hospital, in December, I was pleased to meet with Deputies from Kerry to discuss University Hospital Kerry (UHK) and other healthcare services in the area. At the meeting, I accepted an invitation to visit the hospital and some local health projects, and I hope to be in a position to do this in the coming months.

Hospital Overcrowding

Questions (405)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

405. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the measures he is taking to increase capacity in view of the continuous overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick; and if additional capacity in Ennis Hospital and surrounding hospitals will be utilised to reduce pressure on the hospital. [21748/19]

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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.

Limerick was identified as one of the 9 sites requiring additional investment, focus and support as part of this year's Winter Plan. Managing the increasing demand for health services requires a full system, patient focused response. Recognising this, in the Winter Plan, the HSE sought to maximise the use of existing resources across hospital groups and CHOs and to target additional investment at both hospital and community services and supports.

Since 2017, an additional 25 beds have opened in Limerick, including 8 as part of this year's Winter Plan.

A capital budget of €19.5 million has been approved for the provision of a modular 60-bed inpatient ward block at UHL, with funding of €10 million allocated in 2019. Enabling works commenced in March 2019, and the HSE advise that the main works are expected to start at the end of May 2019.

In addition, the National Development Plan includes a 96-bed replacement ward block in Limerick and capital funding was provided in 2018 to progress the design phase of this project.

The HSE have advised that the review of the Winter Plan currently underway 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.

UL Hospitals Group has undergone significant reorganisation in recent years to deliver healthcare reform.  There is an increased focus on the smaller hospitals managing routine or planned care locally and providing step down, in-patient care to alleviate the pressure on UHL.   

With regard to the operational actions at hospital and Group level to maximise the use of bed capacity across the Group, I have asked the HSE to reply directly to you on this matter.

Dental Services Provision

Questions (406)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

406. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of a dental procedure for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21749/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (407)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

407. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Health if he will reverse the reduction in the income threshold for persons over 70 years of age applying for the medical card, which came into effect from 1 January 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21750/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive (HSE) issues income guidelines to assist in determining entitlement to medical cards / GP visit cards. Any revision to the income thresholds must have regard for Government policy, increases in the Consumer Price Index and other issues which may be relevant. 

While there are no plans at present to revise the income thresholds for medical cards, it is vitally important that the medical card system is responsive and sensitive to people's needs. In that regard my Department keeps medical card issues, including existing thresholds under constant review.  The gross medical card limits for the over 70's, which are currently €500 gross income per week for a single person and €900 gross income per week for a couple, are reviewed annually in line with the Consumer Price Index. It is important to note that if a persons 's sole income is derived from a social welfare payment, even where this payment is in excess of the current income thresholds, the persons will be awarded a medical card.

In addition, the Deputy may be aware, that from August 2015 all persons aged 70 or over qualify for a GP visit card, regardless of income.

Medicinal Products Availability

Questions (408, 452)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

408. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health if the HSE Leadership Team met on 14 May 2019 to consider additional information submitted by the manufacturer of the drug Spinraza; and when the team will make a final decision on the reimbursement of the drug based on this information. [21754/19]

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Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

452. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Health the outcome of the HSE Leadership Team meeting on 14 May 2019 with respect to the issue of Spinraza; and when the drug will be made available to those that need it. [22020/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 408 and 452 together.

Under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, the HSE has statutory responsibility for the pricing and reimbursement of the community drug schemes; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Questions (409)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

409. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Health if a medical device (details supplied) is covered under the drug reimbursement scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21756/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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