Mental Health Policy

Questions (200)

Tom Neville

Question:

200. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Health the status of the implementation by the HSE of a dual diagnosis strategy for patients with addiction and underlying mental health challenges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22300/19]

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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 as soon as possible.

Ambulance Service Staff

Questions (201)

Robert Troy

Question:

201. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the number of acting and permanent promotions and post upgrades within the national ambulance service for administration, clerical and officer posts (details supplied) from January 2014 to date. [22303/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Ambulance Service Staff

Questions (202)

Robert Troy

Question:

202. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the number of internal or external job advertisements and interviews conducted for acting and permanent promotions and post upgrades within the national ambulance service for administration, clerical and officer posts (details supplied) from January 2014 to date. [22304/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Hospital Appointments Delays

Questions (203)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

203. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Health the reason a hospital appointment has been cancelled three times in the past in the case of a person (details supplied); when the appointment will be granted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22305/19]

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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.

Respite Care Services

Questions (204)

Pat Deering

Question:

204. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health when the respite house that was recently refurbished in Tullow, County Carlow, will be available for use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22309/19]

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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.

Health Services

Questions (205)

James Browne

Question:

205. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health if the HSE will consider upgrading mobile phones used by therapists who facilitate a DBT group at a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22310/19]

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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 as soon as possible.

Home Care Packages Provision

Questions (206)

Robert Troy

Question:

206. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if hours will be allocated as part of a homecare package application to persons (details supplied). [22311/19]

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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 as soon as possible.

Home Care Packages Provision

Questions (207)

Robert Troy

Question:

207. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if hours will be allocated as part of a homecare package application to persons (details supplied). [22312/19]

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 (208)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

208. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will undergo an urgent medical procedure in respect of the removal of a cataract at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22327/19]

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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.

Respite Care Services

Questions (209)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

209. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health if matters raised in correspondence regarding respite care from a person (details supplied) will be responded to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22328/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I understand that a response for the correspondence referred to was issued on 20/05/19.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (210)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

210. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if documentation will be reviewed in relation to the proposed move of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22329/19]

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.

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 an individual case, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

Questions (211)

James Browne

Question:

211. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the appointment of registered general nurses to CAMHS for phlebotomy services, particularly in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22335/19]

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.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (212)

Peter Burke

Question:

212. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health the reason Lyme disease diagnostic tests are not covered by the medical card as in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22340/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Irish Public Health System provides for two categories of eligibility for persons ordinarily resident in the country, i.e. full eligibility (medical cardholders) and limited eligibility (all others). Full eligibility is determined mainly by reference to income limits. Determination of an individual's eligibility status is the responsibility of the Health Service Executive. Persons with full eligibility are entitled to a range of services including general practitioner services, prescribed drugs and medicines, all in-patient public hospital services in public wards (including consultant services), all out-patient public hospital services (including consultant services), dental, ophthalmic and aural services and appliances and a maternity and infant care service. Other services such as allied health professional services may be available to medical card holders. These services are provided free of charge except for prescribed drugs and medicines, which are subject to a €2 charge per prescribed item (maximum of €20 month per month per individual/family).

In relation to blood tests, 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 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.

As testing and treatment for Lyme borelliosis is widely available in all major hospitals in Ireland there is no need for people to travel to other EU Member States for diagnosis or treatment.

Hospital Services

Questions (213)

Robert Troy

Question:

213. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if there will be a reconfiguration of hospital groupings as part of the ongoing review; when the review will be published; and if the Regional Hospital Mullingar will be put into another grouping. [22343/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The report of the cross-party Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare, Sláintecare, identifies four core building blocks that underpin a well-functioning health system. The first of these building blocks is a clear governance and accountability framework. As part of its recommendations in this area, the Committee called for the establishment of a HSE Board, the HSE to become a more strategic and patient-focused ‘national centre’ carrying out national level functions, and the establishment of regional bodies with responsibility for the planning and delivery of integrated care at a regional level.

The report further recommends that these new regional bodies should be established through the geographic alignment of current administrative regional structures. As the Deputy will be aware, 9 Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs) and 7 Hospital Groups are in place on an administrative basis to plan and deliver community and acute care services respectively. While significant progress has been made by these structures, there is broad consensus that having separate and un-aligned structures for acute and community care impedes the development of a more integrated health service as envisaged under the Sláintecare programme.

In this regard, the Sláintecare report recommended that “further analysis and consultation should be undertaken to identify how alignment can best be achieved with minimal disruption to key structures including at community healthcare network level”.

The Government’s Sláintecare Implementation Strategy published in August 2018 and the 2019 Sláintecare Action Plan published in March 2019 commit to the development of a new system of health structures and governance as called for in the Sláintecare report. The Strategy and the Action Plan set out a number of actions to deliver on this commitment. This includes determining the optimal approach for aligning current CHO and Hospital Group structures to provide the geographical basis for the proposed new regional bodies.

As a first step, my Department undertook a public consultation regarding the geographical alignment of CHOs and Hospital Groups in 2018. In addition, my Department has carried out further detailed analysis work to determine the optimal geographical alignment of CHOs and Hospital Groups which can be achieved with minimal disruption, and which will ultimately be the geographical areas of the proposed new regional integrated care organisations. My Department is finalising proposals in this regard, and I hope to bring these proposals to Government shortly.

Hospitals Funding

Questions (214)

Robert Troy

Question:

214. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the annual budget allocated to the Regional Hospital Mullingar for the past seven years in tabular form. [22344/19]

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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.

Hospitals Capital Programme

Questions (215)

Robert Troy

Question:

215. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the amount provided to the Regional Hospital Mullingar under capital works in tabular form. [22345/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Primary Care Centres

Questions (216)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

216. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health if he will report on the current service for primary care mental health services in Raheny, Donaghmede, Edenmore and Kilbarrack, Dublin; if referrals have been suspended until later in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22350/19]

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.

Medicinal Products Availability

Questions (217, 225)

Clare Daly

Question:

217. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health when spinraza treatment will be rolled out to persons with spinal muscular atrophy in view of the suffering and deterioration in their health and quality of life in the absence of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22353/19]

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Brendan Griffin

Question:

225. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health his views in relation to spinraza (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22402/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 217 and 225 together.

As the Deputies are aware, the Oireachtas put in place a strong legal framework, in the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, to give full statutory powers to the HSE to assess and make decisions on reimbursement of medicines, taking account of a range of objective factors and expert opinion as appropriate.

I fully recognise that this debilitating and progressive condition places enormous strain on SMA sufferers and their families and carers, and I can understand their wish to have access to potentially beneficial drug treatments.

However, because of the significant monies involved, the HSE must ensure that the best price is achieved for all medicines, as these commitments are often multi-million euro investments on an on-going basis. This can lead to a protracted deliberation process, where suppliers commence the negotiation process with a pricing proposal that does not reflect affordability or the evaluation of clinical effectiveness.

In the case of nusinersen (Spinraza), following detailed consideration of an application for reimbursement and lengthy engagement with the company, the HSE decided that it was unable to reimburse nusinersen. The HSE concluded that the evidence for clinical effectiveness was still quite limited and that the price proposed by the manufacturer was not a cost-effective use of resources.

On 21 February 2019, the HSE wrote to the manufacturer involved and informed them of the proposal to refuse reimbursement at the current price offering. Under the requirements of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, the company had 28 days to respond or make representations to the HSE’s proposed decision.

I am advised by the HSE that the manufacturer submitted additional information and that the matter remains under consideration by the HSE.