HSE Planning

Questions (240)

Alan Kelly

Question:

240. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health when the HSE capital plan for 2019 and 2020 will be published. [28400/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

My Department has been working with the Health Service Executive and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to develop a multi annual capital plan for the health services.

The Summer Economic Statement, published recently by the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, provides an expenditure reserve of up to €200m in 2020 to accommodate funding requirements for the new children's hospital and the National Broadband Plan.

This will allow my Department and the HSE to finalise a multi-annual Capital Plan.

The Health capital allocation in 2019 is now €642m for the construction and equipping of health facilities. This represents an increase of €224m on last year’s capital provision.

The HSE Capital Plan will determine the projects that can progress in 2019 and beyond having regard to the available capital funding, the number of large national capital projects currently underway, the cashflow requirements attaching to each project and the relevant priority.

Hospital Services

Questions (241)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

241. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health if assistance for travel to hospitals can be given to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28416/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Hospital Staff

Questions (242)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

242. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Health the steps he will take to address the shortage of doctors in St. Finbarr's Hospital, Cork to clear the backlog of patients awaiting procedures such as colonoscopy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28430/19]

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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

Assisted Human Reproduction Services Provision

Questions (243)

Catherine Martin

Question:

243. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Health his plans to enable persons seeking to undertake IVF treatment to defray some of the costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28434/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In October 2017, the Government approved the drafting of a Bill on assisted human reproduction (AHR) and associated areas of research, based on the published General Scheme of the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill. The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health is currently conducting a review of the General Scheme as part of the pre-legislative scrutiny process, which began in January of last year. The Joint Committee intends to report thereon before the summer recess and the recommendations in its report will be considered during the ongoing process of drafting this Bill in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General.

Interlinked with the legislation, officials in my Department, in conjunction with the HSE, are developing a model of care for infertility and an associated public fund for AHR. This work includes developing proposals on the allocation of the €1 million fund for use in relation to providing public AHR treatment which was announced in December 2018.

Accordingly, options in relation to the parameters of any potential public funding model, including what eligibility criteria may be included, are still under consideration, and an announcement will be forthcoming once the relevant decisions have been finalised.

It should be noted that while AHR treatment is not currently funded by the Irish Public Health Service there is some support available in that patients who access IVF treatment privately may claim tax relief on the costs involved under the tax relief for medical expenses scheme. In addition, a defined list of fertility medicines needed for fertility treatment is covered under the High Tech Arrangements administered by the HSE. Medicines covered by the High Tech Arrangements must be prescribed by a consultant/specialist and authorised for supply to the client’s nominated community pharmacy by the High Tech Hub managed by the Primary Care Reimbursement Service. The cost of the medicines is then covered, as appropriate, under the client’s eligibility, i.e., Medical Card or Drugs Payment Scheme.

Overall, the development of a model of care for infertility will help to ensure the provision of safe, effective and accessible services through the public health system as part of the full range of services available in obstetrics and gynaecology.

Healthcare Infrastructure Provision

Questions (244)

Joan Collins

Question:

244. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Health if the main contractor (details supplied) fully complied with the community nursing unit contract in relation to the €18 million community nursing unit on Tymon North Road, Tallaght, Dublin 24; and if he will provide the supporting evidence to ensure that the main contractor and its sub-contractors are fully compliant with all employment law as required by the contract at each interim payment made during the contract [28451/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Medicinal Products Availability

Questions (245)

Bobby Aylward

Question:

245. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health if he will consider the possibility of extending the availability of the flash glucose monitoring technology, FreeStyle Libre, to all persons with type 1 diabetes; if the possibility of requesting the HSE to undertake a review of the cost effectiveness of this technology and survey current users on the impact it has had on their daily life experience and social interactions will be investigated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28455/19]

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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.

Health Services Provision

Questions (246)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

246. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health the status of the work of the contraception working group in his Department; the finalised terms of reference; the timeline for completion of the work of the group; the consultation process; the stakeholders the group has engaged with to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28459/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Department’s Working Group commenced its work on 30 April and has since been engaged in consideration of the range of policy, regulatory and legislative issues arising in relation to improving access to contraception.

The following Terms of Reference have been adopted:

- To conduct a rapid review of national and international literature on contraception and associated issues;

- To specifically examine the extent to which cost is a barrier to accessing reliable methods of contraception in Ireland and to consider whether there are other factors influencing access to contraception that could be addressed;

- To examine mechanisms to address any access issues identified, including financial, legislative, regulatory and contractual issues, as well as any other relevant matters;

- To consult with relevant stakeholders; and

- To make recommendations to the Minister on the optimal policy options and next steps.

The Working Group will seek written submissions from stakeholders and other interested parties and is currently developing a consultation questionnaire which, pending final testing, should commence shortly. Details of stakeholder engagement will be available once the Group has completed its work.

It is intended that the group will report to the Minister at the end of September 2019.

Clinical Indemnity Scheme

Questions (247)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

247. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health if the case of a person (details supplied) will be reviewed. [28461/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The State Claims Agency 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 Clinical Indemnity Scheme (CIS) is the main scheme under which the State Claims Agency (SCA) manages all clinical negligence claims taken against healthcare enterprises, hospitals and clinical, nursing and allied healthcare practitioners covered by the scheme.

I have been informed by the SCA, that it is not managing this case. Where an individual wishes to make a claim for clinical malpractice or negligence, however, they or their solicitor should, in the first instance, submit a letter of claim to the State Claims Agency setting out the particulars of the case.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (248)

Eamon Scanlon

Question:

248. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health if posts (details supplied) are open for applications; when the recruitment window will close; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28462/19]

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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.

Orthodontic Services Provision

Questions (249)

Peter Burke

Question:

249. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health the status of orthodontic treatment for a person (details supplied). [28464/19]

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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.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (250)

Frank O'Rourke

Question:

250. Deputy Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Health when the HSE disability services in north County Kildare will follow-up in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28478/19]

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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.

Data Protection

Questions (251)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

251. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to difficulties posed to bereavement counsellors by GDPR in respect of precluding them from contacting family members of persons that have died in hospices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28488/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive (HSE) and other health service providers must ensure that all data is processed and controlled in line with the principles of the GDPR and relevant Irish legislation.

However, as the Data Protection Commission has highlighted, GDPR is not intended to stop or hamper the legitimate, lawful use and sharing of personal data. The GDPR is a ‘principles-based’ piece of legislation that sets out certain high-level rules, consisting of limitations and obligations, addressed to those who process personal data (data controllers). At the same time, it also gives individuals whose personal data are processed (data subjects) a range of rights to help them control how their personal data is used and ensure that these uses are both lawful and transparent.

Confusion can arise in some instances, primarily where data controllers do not fully understand the GDPR or have been given incorrect advice. In the circumstances identified by the Deputy, there is clearly a need to first analyse whether, in fact, there is a legal impediment under the GDPR to the activities in question. As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (252)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

252. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) is waiting for a hernia operation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28507/19]

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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.

Care of the Elderly Provision

Questions (253)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

253. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the number of home support package hours which had originally been budgeted for in 2018 and 2019 in County Donegal; the number of home support package hours which were provided, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28540/19]

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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 Help Service Provision

Questions (254)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

254. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) cannot obtain more than five home help hours allocated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28600/19]

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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.

General Practitioner Data

Questions (255)

Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

255. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Health the level of cover available to general practitioners in County Cork who may wish to take leave; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28609/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this question relates to a service matter, I have arranged for it to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Hare Coursing Regulation

Questions (256)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

256. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will consider replacing the use of live hares with drag hares at coursing events as a matter of urgency in view of the cruelty involved and the fact that mechanical drag hares are already used in greyhound racing events; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24076/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Coursing is regulated under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly by the Irish Coursing Club (ICC), subject to the general control of Bord na gCon.

The ICC is committed to maintaining high standards in the sport of coursing, and it actively promotes the protection and conservation of the Irish hare. The ICC has assured my Department that it has extensive systems and practices in place to underpin the welfare of hares and greyhounds involved in coursing and also that it goes to great lengths to ensure the highest standards of welfare are adhered to.

Coursing operates in a highly regulated environment coupled with a comprehensive set of rules directly applied by the ICC. It operates under a licence from the Minister of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, issued annually with a total of 26 conditions. These include a variety of measures, including a requirement that a qualified veterinarian attends at all coursing meetings to report on the health of the hares, a prohibition on the coursing of hares more than once in the same day, a prohibition on the coursing of sick or pregnant hares and a requirement that hares be released back into the wild during daylight hours.

The ICC undertakes a range of actions to address issues related to health and welfare. Coursing clubs are required to comply fully with directives, instructions and guidance notes issued by the ICC in all matters relating to the capture, keeping in captivity, tagging, marking, coursing and release of hares, and the muzzling of greyhounds.

A monitoring committee on coursing is in place, comprising officials from my Department, the ICC and the National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS), to monitor developments in coursing and in that regard the situation is kept under constant review to ensure that coursing is run in a well controlled and responsible manner in the interests of both hares and greyhounds.

The committee meets after each coursing season to review the outcome of all coursing meetings, having particular regard to hare and greyhound welfare.

I believe that it is critically important that those involved in coursing operate in accordance with the regulatory framework and that the welfare of both hares and greyhounds is at the forefront at all times. I have no plans at present to alter this arrangement.

Greyhound Industry

Questions (257)

Alan Kelly

Question:

257. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the date on which his officials or persons in his Department became aware of the report prepared by a company (details supplied) for the Irish Greyhound Board. [28327/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Bord na gCon is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. Bord na gCon is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

My Department was aware in 2017 that the interim CEO of Bord na gCon, who was in place at that time, had commissioned an in-depth business model analysis of the organisation. However, I understand that the Board had concerns regarding the reliability of the data that the report’s recommendations were based on, and as such, chose not to adopt it as policy and did not refer it to the Department for consideration.

The report was received by my Department on 24th May 2019.

Beef Industry

Questions (258)

Carol Nolan

Question:

258. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the conditions attached to the receipt of funding under the Brexit beef plan of the European Commission will be removed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28369/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I am keenly aware that the past few months have been very challenging for beef farmers in particular, following a difficult year for farm incomes in 2018 due to weather conditions. There was a prolonged and exceptional period of depressed prices lasting from autumn 2018 to spring 2019, with the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit, among other factors, contributing to this market disturbance.

The recent announcement by Commissioner Hogan of EU exceptional aid for the Irish beef sector is very welcome in this context. I have been making the case for some time for an exceptional aid package from the EU Commission for Irish beef farmers, at EU Council of Agriculture Minister meetings, and in direct consultation with the Commission.

The submission made by my Department to the EU Commission in request of the aid package is available on my Department’s website: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmingsectors/beef/

This exceptional aid has been granted by the European Commission on the basis that the Irish beef sector is heavily reliant on export markets, and is uniquely exposed to shifts in the UK market in particular. Additionally, Ireland’s extensive beef system with its comparatively long production cycle presents challenges in responding to market shifts. The Commission has also recognised that it is in the interests of the market stability of EU beef sector to avoid a situation where downward price pressure on Irish beef spills over to other Member States.

This temporary exceptional aid provision is given effect through a Commission Implementing Regulation. This regulation, the draft of which is available on the Commission's website, will be published soon.

Article 1.3 of the implementing regulation provides as follows:

The measures taken by Ireland shall be aimed at reducing production or restructuring the beef and veal sector and one or more of the following objectives:

(a) implementation of quality schemes in the beef and veal sector or projects aiming at promoting quality and value added;

(b) boosting market diversification;

(c) protecting and improving the farmers’ environmental, climate and economic sustainability.

Ireland must now notify the Commission, no later than 31 July 2019, of the measures to be taken in accordance with the Regulation. My Department is currently working on the detailed parameters of an exceptional aid scheme, in cooperation with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the European Commission.

Further details on the aid scheme will be announced in due course following the appropriate stakeholder consultation.

TAMS Administration

Questions (259)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

259. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the new paperwork is in place to export surplus power to the national grid in relation to TAMS 3 solar applications. [28379/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The suite of investments eligible for grant aid under TAMS II has recently been extended to include on-farm solar PV and battery storage facilities. The focus of TAMS II is on the provision of grant aid for on-farm investments and the electricity generated is intended for consumption on the farm enterprise.

Wider energy policy including issues regarding the export of power to the national grid are a matter for my colleague the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.