Departmental Budgets

Questions (285)

Joan Burton

Question:

285. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Health the requirement for additional revenues in 2020 to meet demographic costs as outlined in the summer economic statement for his Department by sub-vote and scheme; the expected allocation his Department will require as submitted to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; the specific resources required to fund in terms of additional staffing requirements by type and grade or additional operational costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30283/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

My Department will shortly be engaging in dialogue with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Health Service Executive in relation to the 2020 Estimates, and this process will include an analysis of the potential impact of demographic change.

Until these discussions are concluded it would not be appropriate for me to comment on this matter.

Health Services Expenditure

Questions (286)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

286. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of extending access to the counselling in primary care service to all 16 to 25 year olds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30348/19]

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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.

Hospital Charges

Questions (287)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

287. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Health the status of the €100 fee for those seeking post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV (PEP) here through emergency departments; if the fee will be waived; when this will come into effect; if his Department has been consulted on this for legal advice by the HSE; if he will waive the fee for non-EU nationals accessing the service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30349/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health (Out-Patient Charges) Regulations 2013, provide that, subject to specified exemptions, a charge shall be made for out-patient services provided at an emergency department, or any other facility providing similar services, in respect of the first occasion the service is provided in relation to each episode of care.

The Regulations sets out a number of categories of persons who are exempt from this charge including: a person with full eligibility; a child up to the age of 6 weeks; a child in respect of prescribed diseases of a permanent or long term nature; a person who has a letter of referral from a registered general practitioner, and a person whose attendance results in admission as an in-patient.

There are currently no plans to revise the format of the charge or exempt further categories of persons from the charge.

Health Services Staff Recruitment

Questions (288)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

288. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Health the status of the recruitment of a clinical lead in sexual health; the length of time the position has been advertised since the announcement in October 2018; when the role will be filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30350/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter I have referred the Deputy's question to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to him .

Motorised Transport Grant

Questions (289)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

289. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Health the status of the health (transport support) Bill; the projected costs of reintroducing a mobility allowance and motorised transport scheme to new applicants in 2020; the status of work in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30351/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Deputy will be familiar with the background to the closure of both the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant schemes in 2013.  

With regard to the proposals for a new Health (Transport Support) Bill, the Deputy may be aware that my colleague, the Minister for Health and I, brought a Memorandum to Government on proposals for a new Transport Support Payment Scheme.  Following consideration of the matter, it was decided to withdraw the Memorandum from the Cabinet Agenda at that time.  I intend to revert to Government in due course with revised proposals to reflect the discussions at that Cabinet meeting and further discussions between myself and Minister Harris, on the best way to progress the Transport Scheme.

As to the Deputy's question regarding projected costs of a new Transport Support scheme, the clear instruction from Government is that eligibility criteria for a new scheme must focus on those with the greatest need who have the least resources available to them.   In order to make the eligibility criteria for the scheme very broad, opening up newer categories of eligibility, the effects of which are difficult to estimate, would carry major budgetary implications.  Competing demands within the disability budget and elsewhere must be considered. 

As of January this year, 3,790 persons who were in receipt of the Mobility Allowance at the time that the scheme closed, have continued to receive the monthly payment at a cost of just under €9 million per annum, in line with the Government decision.  I can assure the Deputy of our efforts to find a solution which is fair, financially affordable and legally sound.

It is important to note that the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers scheme, operated by the Revenue Commissioners, remains in place.  This scheme provides VRT and VAT relief, an exemption from road tax and a fuel grant to drivers and passengers with a disability, who qualify under the relevant criteria set out in governing regulations made by the Minister for Finance. Specifically adapted vehicles driven by persons with a disability are also exempt from payment of tolls on national roads and toll bridges. Transport Infrastructure Ireland has responsibility for this particular scheme.

There are improvements in access to a range of transport support schemes available to persons with disabilities in the State and on-going work is being carried out by Government Departments, agencies and transport providers to further improve access to public transport services. Under the National Disability Inclusion Strategy, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has responsibility for the continued development of accessibility and availability of public transport for people with a disability.

Health Services Staff Data

Questions (290)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

290. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Health the full-time equivalent number of staff positions in the health services whose role is to process payments in relation to private health insurance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30352/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Health Insurance Data

Questions (291, 292)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

291. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Health the amount recovered in a full year from private health insurers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30353/19]

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Brendan Howlin

Question:

292. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Health the amount recovered in a full year from private health insurers as a percentage of the amount owed by private insurers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30354/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 291 and 292 together.

As this is a matter for the Health Service Executive, I have asked them to respond to you directly.

Home Help Service Expenditure

Questions (293)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

293. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Health the estimated full year cost of providing an additional 2.2 million hours of home help; the estimated cost of providing 8,000 extra homecare packages; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30355/19]

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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 Expenditure

Questions (294)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

294. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of meeting the outstanding demand for homecare packages and home help hours; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30356/19]

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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.

HSE Agency Staff Expenditure

Questions (295)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

295. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Health the spend to date and projected full year spend by the HSE on agency staff by position and grade; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30357/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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