Questions Nos. 1 to 7, inclusive, answered orally.

Cabinet Committee Meetings

Questions Nos. 9 to 30, inclusive, resubmitted.

Questions (8)

Mary Lou McDonald


8. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach when Cabinet committee E, health, last met; and when it is scheduled to meet again. [25303/19]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

Cabinet Committee E last met on 22 November 2018. A date for the next meeting has not yet been scheduled.

In addition to the meetings of the full Cabinet and of Cabinet Committees, I often meet with Ministers on an individual basis to focus on particular issues. In this regard, I meet regularly with Minister Harris to discuss issues relating to our health service.

This year will see the highest ever level of health funding in the history of the State, in order to transform our health service to one that can meet the changing needs of the population and be resilient to challenges presented by changing demographics.

We have also committed close to €11 billion in capital investment over the next 10 years in the National Development Plan to provide the infrastructure required for expanded community and acute care.

While there is a need for increased investment in the health service, reform and productivity gains must happen in tandem. These gains are not always easily realised and requires a long-term strategic approach.

The Government is advancing a significant programme of reform to ensure meaningful and sustained improvement in the health service in the future.

The publication of the Sláintecare Action Plan for 2019, the first of what will be annual plans, sets out in a detailed and measurable way how the ambitious 10-year reform programme will be advanced this year. The first quarter progress report for this year is completed and all 28 deliverables are on track.

The guiding principle of Sláintecare is to provide the right care, in the right place, at the right to time. Recent Sláintecare advancements include:

- From 1 April this year reduced prescription charges, reduced drug payment scheme thresholds, and increased GP visit card income thresholds came into effect. This is a step forward in benefitting potentially hundreds of thousands of people when these three actions are taken together.

- On 11 June Government approved the general scheme of a bill to change how productive assets are treated under the Nursing Home Support Scheme which will positively affect families who have family farms and businesses but now require nursing home care. - An agreement has been reached with the Irish Medical Organisation on a major package of GP contractual reforms that will benefit patients and make general practice a more attractive career option for doctors.

- The HSE (Governance) Act 2019 was signed into law by the President earlier this month. The Act provides for a new HSE board to strengthen the management, governance and accountability of the HSE.

- Other developments include Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme. All of the new respite houses are now open and in operation.

Questions Nos. 9 to 30, inclusive, resubmitted.