Home Help Service Provision

Questions (1320)

Micheál Martin

Question:

1320. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health if he has received an update from the HSE on the provision of home help hours; if there are difficulties regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36626/19]

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.

Cannabis for Medicinal Use

Questions (1321)

Micheál Martin

Question:

1321. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health if there are further changes expected to the licensing of marijuana planned in the near future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36627/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy is aware, on 26th June I signed legislation which will allow for the operation of the Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP) on a pilot basis for five years. This new legislation means that commercial medical cannabis suppliers whose cannabis products meet the specified requirements set out in the legislation and which have been listed in Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs (Prescription and Control of Supply of Cannabis for Medical Use) Regulations will be able to supply these products to the Irish market. Once suitable medical cannabis products are made available by suppliers, the Access Programme will make it possible for a medical consultant to prescribe, in line with the published clinical guidance, a listed cannabis-based product for a patient under his or her care for the following medical conditions, where the patient has failed to respond to standard treatments:

· spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis;

· intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy;

· severe, refractory (treatment-resistant) epilepsy.

It should be noted that currently no medical cannabis products are available for use under the MCAP as it is expected that it will take some time for commercial suppliers to arrange to have their products made available on the Irish market.

The Medical Cannabis Access Programme is based on the recommendations of the HPRA's report “Cannabis for Medical Use-A Scientific Review”, and on the ‘Clinical Guidance on Cannabis for Medical Use’ which has been drawn up by an expert group of doctors, pharmacists, patient representatives and scientific experts, to support the Medical Cannabis Access Programme. The guidelines contain detailed information on the use of medical cannabis, including the clinical indications for which cannabis may be prescribed under the access programme. Currently there are no plans to extend the scope of the clinical indications under the pilot programme.

Up to date information relating to the Medical Cannabis Access Programme, which includes an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document, is available on the Department's website.

Pending full operation of the MCAP, and for medical indications not included in the MCAP, doctors may continue to utilise the Ministerial licensing route to prescribe medical cannabis for their patients, should they wish to do so. In line with the Chief Medical Officer's advice, the granting of a licence for cannabis for medical purposes must be premised on an appropriate application being submitted to the Department of Health, which is endorsed by a consultant who is responsible for the management of the patient and who is prepared to monitor the effects of the treatment over time.

Disability Services Funding

Questions (1322)

Micheál Martin

Question:

1322. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health if he has received briefing material or held meetings on the budgetary deficits in the disability sector; if the organisations have written to him to raise concerns in relation to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36628/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As Minister for Health, my primary concern is to ensure the continuity of appropriate person-centred disability services is maintained and delivered in an equitable manner consistent with the care and support needs of individuals.

Significant resources have been invested by the health sector in disability services over the past number of years. In 2019 alone, the Health Service Executive has allocated €1.9 billion to its Disability Services Programme.

My Department and the HSE have put significant effort and resources into assisting the disability sector to manage priority needs within the funding available. As the Deputy may be aware, voluntary organisations provide up to 75% of disability services on behalf of the HSE, through section 38 and section 39 service level agreements.

A number of service providers have written to my Department highlighting their individual challenges, which include deficits accrued over many years. These deficits belong to the individual organisations, while the HSE are working with the providers to ascertain the full extent of the liabilities.

The Deputy may recall specific concerns around Rehab, which received some attention earlier in the year. Minister McGrath and I have met with this organisation on a number of occasions. Rehab and the HSE have committed to working together intensively with a view to making substantive progress in reaching a solution to the issues, and the HSE remains committed to exploring further avenues to a resolution of the financial position of this and other organisations.

The Independent Review Group established to examine the role of voluntary organisations in publicly funded health and personal services published their Report earlier this year. I am continuing my examination of the recommendations of the Report in the context of strengthening the relationship between the State and the voluntary organisations in the best interests of service users.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (1323)

Mary Butler

Question:

1323. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health if an appointment will be expedited for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36631/19]

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.

Patient Data

Questions (1324)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

1324. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health the number of children admitted for alcohol and drug related illnesses in hospitals in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, including inpatient visits and to accident and emergency units; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36638/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (1325)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

1325. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health when treatment will be made available to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36646/19]

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.

Primary Care Strategy Roll-out

Questions (1326)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1326. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the status of the roll-out of the recommendations of the primary care eye services review group report; the amount of funding set aside for the recommendations; the amount drawn down to date; the recommendations accepted in full; and the recommendations that have not yet been implemented. [36665/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE published the Report of the Primary Care Eye Services Review Group in June 2017. The overall aim of the Review is to reorganise primary care eye services with an increased emphasis on maximising delivery of a comprehensive service at primary care level, thereby also releasing capacity in the acute sector to provide more complex services. As the issues raised are service matters they have been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

HSE Waiting Lists

Questions (1327)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1327. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if he will report on the operation of the common waiting list as required under the consultants’ contract; the manner in which this is implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36687/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

General Practitioner Contracts

Questions (1328)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1328. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the reason for the delay in implementing the Programme for a Partnership Government commitment to provide for salaried general practitioners in view of the severe shortage of same; when he plans to make this available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36689/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Programme for Government includes a commitment to mandating the HSE to employ GPs on a salaried basis where needed, and to put in place support structures and staff.

Any proposed model involving salaried GP positions would require careful consideration to ensure the required level of service could be provided for medical card and GP visit card holders.

The recently-concluded Agreement between the Department of Health, the HSE and the IMO regarding GP Contractual Reform and Service Development includes a recognition that a strategic review of the contractual terms for the GMS and other publicly-funded GP services is required to meet the challenges facing the health system and to put in place arrangements which will ensure a sustainable GP service as a core element of primary care, focused on facilitating integrated provision of care in the most appropriate settings. The review is scheduled to begin this year.

Health Reports

Questions (1329)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1329. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the reason for the six-month delay in publishing the de Buitléir report on the separation of public and private work in public hospitals; when his response to the report will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36691/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

While developing a single-tier public hospital system is one of the most important reforms envisaged in Sláintecare, it is clear that such a step is complex, would take time and would cost money.

The recommendations in the Report of the Independent Review Group raised a number of legal, financial, policy and operational implications that required further consideration. These included policy questions beyond the terms of reference of the Independent Review Group, for example the opportunities for broader Sláintecare reforms offered by the development of a single-tier public hospital system. My Department officials also held discussions with officials in other relevant Government Departments, including the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

I published the Report of the Independent Review Group on 26 August 2019 in order to stimulate public debate and as a basis for consulting with key stakeholders.

The Government has not yet made a decision in relation to the recommendations of the Independent Review Group. I intend to return to Government with proposals to respond to the recommendations in the Report, as soon as consideration with relevant Government Departments of the main issues has concluded.

Ultimately, any decisions on expenditure issues which have been raised by the recommendations in the Report, including remuneration issues, would have to be made in the context of the wider implementation of Sláintecare and of the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020.

Health Services Staff Training

Questions (1330)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1330. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the report from the Medical Council of 3 July 2019 on its annual national trainee experience survey (details supplied); if urgent attention will be given to addressing these findings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36692/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I received a copy of the Medical Council's "Your Training Counts" Report for 2017 from its Chief Executive on 28th June. While the Report highlights a number of issues that impact negatively on the training experiences of doctors and interns, including extended working hours and bullying, it also identifies a number of positive trends.

The Medical Council in publishing the Report noted that it informs dialogue and future collaboration between the individuals and organisations involved in medical education and training in Ireland with a view to continually improving the training experience. I welcome the Council's Reports and congratulate the Council for its proactive approach to identifying issues relating to the training experience and addressing them through constructive engagement with the Training Bodies and sites.

With regard to working hours, significant progress has been achieved in the past 5 years on achieving compliance with the provisions of the European Working Time Directive in relation to the maximum average working week of 48 hours and the granting of daily, weekly and fortnightly rest as provided for in the Directive. In relation to bullying, I am pleased that the Council is proactively addressing this issue. I am also aware that the HSE is currently focused on addressing bullying within its workforce, including the medical workforce in conjunction with the IMO.

I will be meeting with the President of the Council later this month, the 19th, to discuss the Report and related issues it has raised.

Hospital Waiting Lists Data

Questions (1331)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1331. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the child scoliosis waiting lists by hospital and length of time waiting in three-monthly intervals; the steps he is taking to deliver on his undertaking to clear the waiting lists; the timescale to which he is working; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36699/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I sincerely regret that children can experience a long waiting time for treatment for scoliosis, and I am conscious of the burden that this places on them and their families.

Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) published the update on the Scoliosis 10-Point Action Plan on 12th July 2019. This marks the second update to the plan, following an interim progress report which issued in October 2018. The plan, which was co-designed by clinicians and managers in paediatric orthopaedics and with the three scoliosis advocacy groups - Scoliosis Advocacy Network Group (SANG), Scoliosis Support and Awareness Ireland and Scoliosis Ireland - set out how the additional funding provided by the HSE is invested to support children and young people with scoliosis.

The July publication provides an update on the progress made to date up against the 10 action points and demonstrates the completion of four of the actions with a commitment to implementing the remaining six actions this year.

CHI advise that their priority for 2019 is to ensure that capacity is available to schedule patients that require surgery based on clinical priority. The addition of a new orthopaedic consultant post and the extension of theatre opening hours will continue to support the management of general orthopaedic waiting lists and enable consultants to better manage both spinal referral patients, and general orthopaedics, in order to reduce the number of patients waiting for a surgical procedure.

CHI further advise that as part of the Action Plan, additional Multidisciplinary Team staff appointments have been made across CHI increasing support to the service. In this regard, 88% of HSE funded posts, as per the 2019 National Service Plan, are in place, with the remaining posts at various stages of the recruitment process.

In terms of activity, across CHI a total of 418 scoliosis-related surgical procedures were performed in 2018, compared with 371 in 2017 and 224 in 2016. To date this year, CHI have carried out 251 such procedures.

My Department continues to closely monitor the progress of the Scoliosis 10-Point Action Plan through established Governance structures, including through fortnightly meetings where issues including performance, operational challenges, and future planning can be addressed.

In relation to the particular query raised in relation to the child scoliosis waiting list by hospital and length of time waiting in three monthly intervals, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy.

HSE Funding

Questions (1332)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1332. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health his plans to deliver on promised multi-annual funding for the HSE in order that it can plan for the delivery of services; the reason this has not been done to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36700/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Sláintecare Implementation Strategy commits to reforming the funding system to support new models of care and drive value to make better use of resources. My Department is examining the feasibility of introducing a multi-annual budgeting process including examination of international best practice in relation to the implementation of multi-annual budgeting in healthcare systems. This work will inform the interdepartmental working group which is due to meet later in the year.

Home Care Packages Data

Questions (1333)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1333. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the details of the HSE forecast of the level of demand for home care services in 2019; the actual level of services funded in the service plan; the way in which he plans to fund the significant level of unmet demand which exists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36701/19]

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.

National Maternity Hospital Status

Question No. 1335 answered with Question No. 829.

Questions (1334)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1334. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the reason for the delay in reaching agreement with the owners of St. Vincent's Healthcare Group for the location of the proposed new national maternity hospital at Elm Park; the details of progress made since he announced in December 2018 that agreement had been reached; and the timescale to which he is working in relation to same. [36702/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

My Department continues to engage with St Vincent’s Healthcare Group and the National Maternity Hospital to develop a legal framework to protect the State’s significant investment in the new hospital. The development of the framework is a complex task; however, the Deputy can be assured that we are continuing to make progress in that regard. It is anticipated that, following the finalisation of the legal framework, the project will go to tender in early 2020.

Question No. 1335 answered with Question No. 829.

Nursing Staff Recruitment

Questions (1336)

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

1336. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health if the commitment he gave that all graduating nurses and midwives in 2019 would be offered positions provided in locations in which there were approved vacant posts will be fulfilled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36713/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

HSE Staff Data

Questions (1337)

Alan Kelly

Question:

1337. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the number of healthcare assistants hired by the HSE by month and HSE location since January 2017. [36714/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Speech and Language Therapy Staff

Questions (1338)

Alan Kelly

Question:

1338. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the number of speech and language therapists hired by the HSE by month and HSE location since January 2017. [36715/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Occupational Therapy Staff

Questions (1339)

Alan Kelly

Question:

1339. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the number of occupational therapists hired by the HSE by month and HSE location since January 2017. [36716/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

HSE Staff Data

Questions (1340)

Alan Kelly

Question:

1340. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the number of physiotherapists hired by the HSE by month and HSE location since January 2017. [36717/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

HSE Staff Recruitment

Questions (1341)

Alan Kelly

Question:

1341. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the number of medicals being carried out for nursing-grade posts within the HSE in each month from January 2017, by each acute hospital. [36718/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

HSE Staff Recruitment

Questions (1342)

Alan Kelly

Question:

1342. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the number of medicals being carried out for administration posts within the HSE in each month from January 2017, by each acute hospital. [36719/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Nursing Staff Data

Questions (1343)

Alan Kelly

Question:

1343. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the nursing staff in the HSE by grade and percentage of the total amount that work in full or part-time positions. [36720/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Nursing Staff Recruitment

Questions (1344)

Niall Collins

Question:

1344. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health if a reply will issue to the matter raised in correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36722/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

With regards to offers of contracts in specific hospitals on graduation, my position has not changed.

Every graduate nurse and midwife should be offered a position in the Irish health service. This needs to be done in the context of the overall HSE recruitment budget. All hospitals are currently in the process of making every effort to retain graduates on this basis, and retaining graduate nurses through funded vacancies, service development posts, agency displacement and through anticipated rates of attrition.

Every effort is made to offer contracts within the existing service that a graduate is working within, and if not within the existing hospital, within their hospital group.

I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy with regards to your constituent specifically.