Orthodontic Services Provision

Questions (1170)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

1170. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health if an appointment for orthodontic services will be prioritised for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36055/19]

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.

Patient Transfers

Questions (1171)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

1171. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) can be transferred between hospitals to gain access to treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36056/19]

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.

Hospital Facilities

Questions (1172, 1204)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

1172. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the status of plans for the development of a new endoscopy unit at Naas hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36057/19]

View answer

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

1204. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the reason for the delays in the planned expansion of Naas General Hospital; the further reason an extension was required for planning permission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36275/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1172 and 1204 together.

The Health Service Executive recently published its Capital Plan for 2019-2021 outlining 250 projects to be progressed over the three-year period.

The Capital Plan includes a number of projects at Naas General Hospital, including the development of new units for endoscopy, day procedures, physical medicine and oncology, for which planning permission has been granted.

The Capital Plan also includes a new acute mental health unit, for which the design team been appointed and the design is being progressed with a view to making an application for planning permission in the first half of 2020.

It is important to note that all proposals must progress through a number of approval stages, in line with the Public Spending Code. The final decision to proceed with the construction of a project cannot be made until the tender process has been completed and the costings reviewed to ensure that the proposal delivers value for money and remains affordable, and that sufficient funding is available to fund the project to completion, including equipping and commissioning costs.

The delivery of capital projects is a dynamic process and is subject to the successful completion of the various approval stages, which can impact on the timeline for delivery. In some instances, this can necessitate an extension of the planning permission, as in the case of Naas General Hospital.

The HSE actively manages the capital programme in order to ensure it has flexibility to progress as many projects as possible within the available funding, particularly in the event of any project not progressing as anticipated.

Cancer Screening Programmes

Questions (1173)

Robert Troy

Question:

1173. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the reason for the six-month wait for the prostate-specific membrane antigen prostate scan to diagnose PROTRACT cancer; the reason for the high cost of the scan, that is, €1,850; and his views on whether such a service should be discounted or subsidised to make it more affordable. [36059/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service delivery matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.

Hospital Staff Recruitment

Question No. 1175 answered with Question No. 887.

Questions (1174)

Robert Troy

Question:

1174. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the status of the recruitment of a dermatologist in the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar. [36060/19]

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.

Question No. 1175 answered with Question No. 887.

Disability Support Services Provision

Questions (1176)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

1176. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the status of respite care, occupational therapy, home support and speech and language therapy appointments in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36072/19]

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.

Home Help Service Provision

Questions (1177)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

1177. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if home help will be sanctioned in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36078/19]

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (1178)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

1178. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if an appointment will be scheduled for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36080/19]

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.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Questions (1179)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1179. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if he will address a matter regarding the provision of a drug to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36081/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE has statutory responsibility for medicine pricing and reimbursement decisions, in accordance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. As Minister for Health I do not have any statutory power or function in relation to the reimbursement of medicines. The Act specifies the criteria for decisions on the reimbursement of medicines.

In line with the 2013 Act, if a company would like a medicine to be reimbursed by the HSE they must first submit an application to have it added to the reimbursement list.

HSE decisions on which medicines are reimbursed by the taxpayer are made on objective, scientific and economic grounds, on the advice of the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE).

The NCPE conducts health technology assessments (HTAs) for the HSE and makes recommendations on reimbursement to assist HSE decisions. The NCPE uses a decision framework to systematically assess the additional benefit of the applicant medicine compared to existing treatments available and the additional cost compared to the cost of existing treatments in their recommendation.

On behalf of the people of Ireland, the HSE strives to reach a decision in as timely a manner as possible. However, because of the significant monies involved, it must ensure that the best price is achieved, as these commitments are often multi-million euro investments on an on-going basis. Where a manufacturer has failed to meet the requirements as set out in the 2013 Health Act, it can lead to a negotiation process. The purpose of those negotiations is to assist the applicant manufacturer in meeting the statutory requirements in as swift a timeframe as possible.

The HSE commissioned a HTA on Pembrolizumab as monotherapy for the adjuvant treatment of adults with Stage III melanoma and lymph node involvement in December 2018. The NCPE received the HTA submission from the manufacturer on 16 July 2019.

I am advised that the assessment is currently in process.

Pension Provisions

Questions (1180)

John Brassil

Question:

1180. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health if an outstanding pension and arrears payment to be made to a person (details supplied) will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36100/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Disability Support Services Provision

Questions (1181)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

1181. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health if a care plan put in place in recent weeks will be examined for a person (details supplied) in view of the fact that areas of the plan have not been put in place. [36101/19]

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 Services

Questions (1182)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

1182. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the timeline of the implementation of the formal pathway between hospitals (details supplied); when the agreement will be formalised; if a date for commencement of the service in County Cavan has been chosen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36113/19]

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.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (1183)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1183. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 894 of 26 March 2019, to which no reply was received, when a reply will issue regarding waiting times for early intervention teams; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36126/19]

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.

HSE Properties

Questions (1184)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1184. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 844 of 26 March 2019, to which no reply was received from Beaumont Hospital, when a reply will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36127/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I understand the Health Service Executive is continuing to pursue this matter with Beaumont Hospital and I have asked them to respond directly to you.

Pension Provisions

Questions (1185)

Niall Collins

Question:

1185. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the person or body a person (details supplied) should contact regarding the person's HSE pension; if same can be accessed before retirement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36134/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Departmental Internships

Questions (1186)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

1186. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health the number of unpaid internships issued and-or granted to persons to work in his Department over the past five years to 28 August 2019; the number of persons who took up unpaid internship roles in that timeframe; if his Department continues to offer unpaid internships; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36150/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

In the 5 years to 28 August 2019 my Department did not issue or grant unpaid internships and does not intend to do so in the future.

My Department participates in a small number of formal internship or work experience schemes, such as the "Job Shadow Day" initiative by the Irish Association of Supported Employment, under which we host a person with a disability for one day every year.

The Department is also participating in the "Willing, Able and Mentoring" Programme, for graduates with a disability. This is a paid, six month internship and a graduate will shortly begin work in an area of the Department directly relevant to their particular qualifications, to assist the individual in gaining valuable work experience in their own specialised field.

Hospital Beds Closures

Questions (1187)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1187. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health when short-term beds in West Kerry Community Hospital will be brought back into use (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36157/19]

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.

Drug and Alcohol Task Forces

Questions (1188)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

1188. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health if he will prioritise and outline the measures he will take to address the significant drug-related activity that has escalated in Drogheda, County Louth and its surrounding areas in view of the murder that took place on 27 August 2019 in Clogherhead, County Louth; the action he will take to address the perceived complete lack of drug outreach workers in Drogheda; if he has assessed or progressed matters relating to funding a Mulvey-type report to assess and plan appropriately to manage the drugs crisis in view of the recent drug-related criminality; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36158/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Various state agencies, led by the local authority and involving An Garda Síochána, HSE, Probation Services, Tusla, Education and Training Boards, and the North East Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force, are working together to address drug-related activity in Drogheda.

The introduction of measures to address drug related criminal activity primarily comes within the remit of An Garda Síochána and the Minister for Justice and Equality.

The remit of the Department of Health and the HSE is to reduce harm and support recovery from drug use, in line with the public health approach set out in the national drug strategy.

The HSE has appointed a senior counsellor with the priority of developing and supporting counselling services in Drogheda. The HSE also intends to recruit an additional outreach worker in Drogheda to enhance its existing service. I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly with on update on this post.

In March 2019, I announced additional funding of €1 million for implementation of the National Drugs Strategy. This funding, which will be provided on a recurring, multi-annual basis, will address the priorities set down in the Strategy. CHOs and drug and alcohol tasks forces were invited to submit proposals under this funding. These proposals are currently being assessed.

I visited the North East earlier this year to hear about drug related issues in the area and the impact they have on families. The issues are multi-faceted and require an inter-agency response. I'm confident that the HSE and the North East Drug and Alcohol Task Force are contributing to this response from a public health perspective.

Psychological Assessments

Questions (1189)

Seán Fleming

Question:

1189. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will be assessed by a psychologist; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36160/19]

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.

Cancer Screening Programmes

Questions (1190, 1191, 1197)

Bríd Smith

Question:

1190. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Health if persons who are newly diagnosed with cervical cancer must pay for their own independent reviews, especially in circumstances in which all previous smears were normal before the cancer diagnosis. [36171/19]

View answer

Bríd Smith

Question:

1191. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Health the reason patients who were diagnosed or will be diagnosed in the coming months as having cervical cancer will not be able to avail of the HSE cancer audit to review their smears in order to avoid a financial burden on cancer patients who wish to have their smears reviewed. [36172/19]

View answer

Bríd Smith

Question:

1197. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Health if women diagnosed with cervical cancer that were not included in the previous review process can request a review of their screening history; if so, if the HSE will fund and support such a review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36214/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1190, 1191 and 1197 together.

Since 2010, as part of quality assurance measures, CervicalCheck reviewed the screening history of every woman notified to it as having a diagnosis of cervical cancer, who had previously been screened by the programme. The objective of audit and quality review at CervicalCheck was to facilitate continued improvement and ongoing learning within the programme. Following the issues which arose in relation to the non-disclosure of audit findings, a decision was taken to pause the audit. The Scoping Inquiry led by Dr Gabriel Scally made a number of recommendations, one of which was that “Audit should continue to be an important component of cervical screening as this complies with all good clinical practice. Common, robust and externally validated approaches to the design, conduct, evaluation and oversight of audits should be developed across the screening services.” (Recommendation 26).

As set out in the approved plan for the implementation of Dr Scally's recommendations, in order to address and implement this recommendation, the HSE established an Expert Group within the National Screening Service (NSS) to review the clinical audit processes for interval cancers across all screening programmes. This work is ongoing and is expected to be complete by the end of this year, following which recommendations will be implemented.

While the audit process carried out by CervicalCheck is paused, any person may seek their slides from a laboratory for independent review should they wish to do so.

It is important to emphasise that Dr Scally found no evidence to suggest deficiencies in screening quality in any laboratory. Cervical screening does not prevent all cases of cervical cancer and, unfortunately, some women will still develop cervical cancer despite regular screening. If 1,000 women are screened, about 20 women will have abnormal cervical cells. About 15 women will have these cells detected through screening. About five women will not have these cells detected through screening and may develop cervical cancer.

Protected Disclosures

Questions (1192)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

1192. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health the safeguards in place to protect the identity of persons who make a protected disclosure in instances in which the protected disclosures are shared with external consultants; if the person who made the protected disclosure is notified in advance; if his or her consent is required in order to share the disclosure with external consultants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36203/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Section 16 (1) of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 provides that a person to whom a protected disclosure is made, and any person to whom a protected disclosure is referred in the performance of that person’s duties, shall not disclose to another person any information that might identify the person by whom the protected disclosure was made.

This does not apply however, where:

(a) the person to whom the protected disclosure was made or referred shows that he or she took all reasonable steps to avoid so disclosing any such information,

(b) the person to whom the protected disclosure was made or referred reasonably believes that the person by whom the protected disclosure was made does not object to the disclosure of any such information,

(c) the person to whom the protected disclosure was made or referred reasonably believes that disclosing any such information is necessary for—

(i) the effective investigation of the relevant wrongdoing concerned,

(ii) the prevention of serious risk to the security of the State, public health, public safety or the environment, or

(iii) the prevention of crime or prosecution of a criminal offence,

or

(d) the disclosure is otherwise necessary in the public interest or is required by law.

Notwithstanding this, the Department of Public Expenditure’s Guidance recommends that the discloser should be afforded the opportunity to give his/her consent to the information provided in the disclosure being shared with a third party.

My Department’s Policy and Procedures provides that where action is to be taken following a disclosure, except in exceptional cases, the disclosure recipient should contact the discloser and, where possible, gain the informed consent of the discloser, prior to any action being taken that could identify the discloser.

Where it is decided that it is necessary to disclose information that may or will disclose the identity of the discloser, the discloser should be informed of this decision, except in exceptional cases. The discloser may request a review of this decision and a review should be carried out, where practicable.

Health Services Provision

Questions (1193)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

1193. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if a special bed will be assigned in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36204/19]

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.

Home Care Packages Provision

Questions (1194)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

1194. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if a home care package for a person (details supplied) will be expedited; if recent correspondence to the person from the HSE will be noted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36210/19]

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.