HSE Staff Data

Questions (384)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

384. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health the number of category C consultants in each of the years 2017, 2018 and 2019, in tabular form. [27548/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Medical Card Administration

Questions (385)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

385. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health his views on the need to increase medical card income thresholds for lower income families with children to ensure prompt treatment for the medical needs of all those children in view of the fact that these income limits have not been reviewed in almost 15 years and in the context of budget 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27565/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Medical card provision is primarily based on financial assessment. In accordance with the provisions of the Health Act 1970 (as amended), eligibility for a medical card is determined by the Health Service Executive (HSE). The HSE issues income guidelines to assist in determining entitlement to medical and 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 considerate to people's needs and circumstances. In that regard my Department keeps medical card issues, including existing thresholds under constant review. Any new policy measures regarding income thresholds for either medical cards or GP visit cards to be incorporated into the forthcoming Budget will be considered by Government as part of the 2020 Estimates process.

A number of measures have been introduced in recent years to improve access to free GP care and other health services. Since July 2015, all children under 18 years of age with a diagnosis of cancer are awarded a medical card. This card is valid for a period of 5 years. Since July 2017, all children under the age of 16 for whom a Domiciliary Care Allowance is paid also has automatic eligibility for a medical card.

Children aged under 6 years and individuals over 70 and those in receipt of a Carer's Allowance or Carer's Benefit are now automatically eligible for a GP visit card. Most recently in April of this year, a 10% increase was applied across all GP Visit Card income thresholds enabling more people to access free GP care.

In context of the above, it is important to note that approximately 42.8% of the population now have access to free GP care. In addition, if a person's sole income is derived from a social welfare payment, even where this payment is in excess of the current income thresholds, the person will be awarded a medical card.

Psychological Services

Questions (386)

James Browne

Question:

386. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the establishment of assistant psychologists; the details of assistant psychologists and the location of the posting of each as of 23 June 2019, in tabular form; the key performance indicators for assistant psychologists; his plans to retain the persons employed in the posts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27571/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (387)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

387. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) who has been urgently referred to an orthopaedic consultant will be issued with an appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27576/19]

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 Appointments Status

Questions (388)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

388. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of a MRI appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27577/19]

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 Provision

Questions (389)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

389. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health his views on the case of a person (details supplied) who applied for an optical examination with the HSE; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27578/19]

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.

Disability Services Data

Questions (390)

Michael Harty

Question:

390. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Health the number of respite hours provided for adults with an intellectual disability in County Clare in each of the years 2008 to 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27580/19]

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 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 Data

Questions (391)

Michael Harty

Question:

391. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Health the number of respite hours provided for children with an intellectual disability in County Clare in each of the years 2008 to 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27581/19]

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 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 Data

Questions (392)

Michael Harty

Question:

392. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Health the number of respite hours provided for adolescents with an intellectual disability in County Clare in each of the years 2008 to 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27582/19]

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 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 Data

Questions (393)

Michael Harty

Question:

393. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on the waiting list for residential care for adults with an intellectual disability in County Clare in each of the years 2008 to 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27583/19]

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 Data

Questions (394)

Michael Harty

Question:

394. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Health the number of adults with intellectual disabilities in residential care in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27584/19]

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 (395)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

395. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of a cataract operation for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27585/19]

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.

Cancer Screening Programmes

Questions (396)

Seán Haughey

Question:

396. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Health if he will issue a meaningful apology to the women affected by the recent cervical cancer screening controversy in which abnormalities were undetected in routine smear tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27598/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

It is estimated that regular cervical screening can prevent 75% of cervical cancer cases. However cervical screening will not prevent all cases of cervical cancer. In the cases of 1,482 women who had been screened and were later given a diagnosis of cervical cancer, CervicalCheck carried out an audit of their previous cervical screening tests. The objective of audit and quality review at CervicalCheck was to facilitate continued improvement and ongoing learning within the programme. The audit found that 221 of these women could have been provided with a different result.

In August 2015, a decision was taken by the HSE, in line with international best practice, to provide information on the outcome of the audit for onward communication to patients but the intention to disclose this information was not followed through and many of the women concerned were not informed about the results of the audit. 

Consideration is being given to an appropriate form of apology, and this will be discussed with the 221+ before any final decision is made. I have met and spoken with many of the women involved, including at a meeting in January 2019, at which I apologised for how women and families were treated, as well as thanking them for sharing their views and experiences. The National Cancer Screening Service wrote last year to each woman affected, or their next of kin, apologising for the failures in relation to disclosure and setting out the actions being taken by the HSE to address the issues identified. The former Director General of the HSE, and the former head of Cervical Check have also apologised personally to individual women when the opportunity has arisen. Last year, Cervical Check placed advertisements with national media outlets apologising for how standards fell short in relation to this issue.

It is also very important to note the actions taken by the State to address the issues identified in the Scoping Inquiry led by Dr Scally. Government has accepted in full the recommendations of the Scoping Inquiry and work is ongoing to implement these in full. In relation to the women concerned I am pleased that the Ex-Gratia Scheme has made its first payments in relation to the non-disclosure of audit results, and I understand that the panel will meet again shortly to consider further payments.

Cancer Screening Programmes

Questions (397)

Seán Haughey

Question:

397. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Health the reason the State is appealing the recent High Court ruling in respect of a case (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27599/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The State Claims Agency (SCA) has a statutory remit to manage personal injury claims, including claims in respect of clinical negligence, on behalf of Delegated State Authorities (DSA’s) including the Health Service Executive.

The particular case is being managed by the State Claims Agency on behalf of the HSE.

The High Court found that the HSE was entitled to an indemnity from the two laboratories in respect of the Court’s finding that their examination of the two smear test results had been negligent . The HSE is appealing the Court’s findings against it that it had a primary and vicarious liability, findings which the HSE believes has far-reaching implications for the State well beyond the particular case.

Given the importance of screening, and other diagnostic testing in general, the HSE will also appeal the Court’s finding of the Absolute Confidence test which has caused considerable disquiet amongst screening and other medical practitioners. However, the Taoiseach and I have confirmed the award to Ms Morrissey will not be affected by the outcome of the appeal.

Respite Care Services

Questions (398)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

398. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health if the HSE has conducted an audit of respite provision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27604/19]

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

Hospitals Data

Questions (399)

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

399. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health the number of persons presenting to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, with alcohol and drug misuse related issues from 2016 to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27612/19]

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.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Administration

Questions (400)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

400. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Health in the case of rental income derived from a person's principal private residence in the context of a fair deal review, if that is rental income net of costs and expenses or gross rental income. [27622/19]

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 nursing home 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, such as their pension and a maximum of 7.5% per annum of the value of assets held, such as their principal private residence or cash assets. The first €36,000 of an individual’s assets is not counted at all in the financial assessment. The capital value of an individual’s principal private residence is only included in the financial assessment for the first three years of their time in care. This is known as the three year cap. No participant will pay more than the actual cost of care.

Under NHSS rental income is considered income for the purpose of the financial assessment, and is assessed at 80% less any allowable deductions. These deductions include income tax and levies where required by law, however do not include costs associated with the renting of the property such as letting agent fees.

Pharmacy Regulations

Questions (401)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

401. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the proposed draft Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (temporary absence of pharmacist from pharmacy) rules 2018; if he has considered concerns raised by an association (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27623/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the Pharmacy Act 2007, my role in relation to the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland PSI (Temporary Absence of Pharmacist from Pharmacy) Rules is limited to their consideration once submitted to me for my consent.

In this case, the Rules in question are currently subject to legal challenge. As a result, they are not currently under consideration.

I am not in a position to comment any further due to the legal challenge.

General Practitioner Services

Questions (402)

Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

402. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Health the number of practices likely to benefit in view of the recent announcement of €2 million per annum investment to support general practitioner practices in areas of high deprivation; the areas of high deprivation that will benefit from this funding in tabular form; the way in which the areas of high deprivation are being quantified; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27624/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I am pleased that we have recently been able to conclude an agreement with the Irish Medical Organisation on a major package of GP contractual reforms which will benefit patients and make general practice a more attractive career option for doctors.

The outcome of the talks process is a comprehensive service development and reform agreement in return for significant phased increases in funding for general practice services provided by GPs to medical card and GP visit card patients.

As part of the deal, it has been agreed that the GP rural practice allowance will be increased in 2020 and that targeted funding of €2 million will be set aside to provide additional support to practices in deprived urban areas. The full details in relation to how the latter arrangements will operate, including the most appropriate basis on which to determine the extent of deprivation as it relates to the provision of GP services, will be developed by the HSE in consultation with my Department over the coming months.

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Questions (403)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

403. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health if survey findings by an organisation (details supplied) are considered as part of the HSE review; if the FreeStyle Libre device will be made available to all persons with type 1 diabetes; if he will consider the views of persons self-funding its use when making his final decision on this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27626/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

Questions (404)

Seán Haughey

Question:

404. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Health when an appointment at CAMHS will be made for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27633/19]

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.

Treatment Abroad Scheme

Questions (405)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

405. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 303 of 18 June 2019, if assistance is available for a treatment abroad that is not available here and is only available in a private hospital abroad; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27639/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly on the specific query raised in Parliamentary Question No 303 and a reply is due by 2 July, 2019.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (406)

Noel Grealish

Question:

406. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Health the reason there is a four to five year wait to see a pain specialist in County Galway; if extra resources will be allocated to reduce waiting times; if persons waiting for more than one year can be seen under the National Treatment Purchase Fund; his views on whether the waiting time is acceptable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27648/19]

View answer

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. Many areas in our health service currently lack sufficient capacity to meet the ever-increasing demand for services and the needs of patients, resulting in unacceptably long waiting times for hospital appointments and procedures.

In this regard, the Government is committed to improving waiting times for scheduled care in acute hospitals. The joint Department of Health/HSE/National Treatment Purchase Fund (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.

A key element of the Plan is the stabilisation of the Outpatient Waiting List. Under the Plan the HSE, in line with the National Service Plan, will aim to deliver 3.3 million outpatient appointments, of which approximately 1 million will be first appointments. For its part the NTPF will aim to deliver 40,000 first Outpatient appointments.

The Access Plan sets out the activity levels for the NTPF, who will supply additionality to HSE activity, in order to reduce waiting times experienced by patients for a hospital appointment, operation or procedure.

The Access Plan ensures an appropriate balance between high volume activities and offering treatment to complex long waiting patients. The NTPF is working with public hospitals to seek NTPF-funded solutions for very long waiting patients, either in the private sector or in public hospitals where there is available capacity.

In addition, my Department is working with the HSE and NTPF, under the Access Plan, with the objective of developing medium-long term improvement initiatives for patient access to hospital procedures. This will include moving care to more appropriate settings and providing care at the lowest level of complexity such as providing ophthalmology in the community; maximising the use of Advanced Nurse Practitioner led clinics; and physiotherapists to manage orthopaedic clinics.

The HSE has advised that the Galway University Hospital chronic pain service is a tertiary referral service and is delivered across both University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park University Hospital. The service consists of 6 clinics per month, where new and review patients are seen, and patients may also have trigger point injections performed at these clinics. All appointments are followed up by the Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioner (RANP) to avoid routine review clinic appointments.

In addition, there are 2 interventional pain management sessions carried out in the Surgical Day ward per week (8 per month). One session (6 patients) is radiology guided procedures and 1 session (6 patients) is non-radiology guided. This list consists of 12 patients per week and in-patients may also be added.

There are also scheduled interventional pain lists (6 per month) in Merlin Park. Four sessions are radiology guided and 2 sessions are non-radiology guided. These lists consist of 6 patients per session. In total 14 intervention sessions a month are carried out between UHG and MP.

The Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioner offers a telephone follow up service for all patients following intervention to avoid repeat Outpatient Department appointments for routine follow ups. A number of in-patients are reviewed on a consultation basis also. The pain clinic has the support of 6 psychology sessions a month. Group sessions are conducted 3 times a year.

The HSE advise that all patients are called in order of clinical priority and/or in chronological order and additional clinics to support the waiting lists are currently being discussed.