Hospital Services

Questions (448)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

448. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Health the plans in place to enhance multiple sclerosis services at University Hospital Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44260/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Palliative Care for Children

Questions (449)

Alan Kelly

Question:

449. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health if there are palliative care beds for children in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44263/19]

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.

HSE Staff Recruitment

Questions (450)

Dara Calleary

Question:

450. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health the recruitment plans of the HSE in 2020, particularly for healthcare assistants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44284/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Nursing Staff Data

Questions (451)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

451. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Health the number of public health nursing positions being left unfilled in Limerick due to the HSE not releasing the successful and appointed nurses from other roles in order to fill the vacancies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44285/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Abortion Legislation

Questions (452, 453)

Micheál Martin

Question:

452. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health if he is satisfied that sections 9,11 and 13 of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 are being adhered to in full in all maternity hospitals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44287/19]

View answer

Micheál Martin

Question:

453. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to breaches of section 20 notifications under the Health (Regulation of Pregnancy) Act 2018 in maternity hospitals here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44288/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 452 and 453 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, section 9 of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 sets out the provisions for termination of pregnancy in cases where there is a risk to the life or health of a pregnant woman, while section 11 sets out the provisions where there is a condition present which is likely to lead to the death of the foetus either before or within 28 days of birth. Section 13 of the Act deals with applications for review of a medical opinion, and provides that where a medical practitioner has not given an opinion or has not given an opinion which would certify a procedure being carried out under section 9 or 11, he/she must inform the pregnant woman in writing that she or a person acting on her behalf may apply for a review of this decision.

Section 23 of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 sets out the offences under the legislation. The investigation or prosecution of offences under the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 are criminal matters for An Garda Síochána and, if prosecution is warranted, the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Minister for Health has no role in the investigation or prosecution of offences under the Act.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (454)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

454. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44300/19]

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.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (455)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

455. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health when the new income thresholds for the over 70s medical card will come into force; the application process in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44304/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As announced in Budget 2020, medical card gross income limits for those over 70 will be increased to €550 per week for a single person aged over 70 (currently €500 per week) and to €1050 for a couple aged over 70 (currently €900 per week), and will apply from July 2020.

Determination of an individual's eligibility status is the responsibility of the Health Service Executive (HSE) and is made in accordance with the Health Act 1970 (as amended). Applications can be submitted to the HSE either by post or online at https://www2.hse.ie/services/medical-cards/medical-card-for-over-70s.html.

Hospital Services

Questions (456)

Alan Kelly

Question:

456. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the walk-in chest x-ray service and its recent cessation at University Hospital Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44305/19]

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 Waiting Lists

Questions (457)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

457. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if an urgent appointment with the surgical team will be scheduled in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44315/19]

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.

Ambulance Service

Questions (458)

Paul Murphy

Question:

458. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Health the reason the HSE has spent €7 million on private ambulance services in the first eight months of 2019; and the expected expenditure on private ambulance services for 2019. [44333/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

General Practitioner Services Provision

Questions (459)

Declan Breathnach

Question:

459. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to a shortage of general practitioner availability in mid-County Louth; when a review of the contractual terms for the GMS and other publicly funded general practitioner services will be complete; the measures which will be put in place to attract general practitioners to rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44334/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is aware of workforce issues facing general practice, including the influence of demographic factors, and has implemented a number of measures to improve recruitment and retention in general practice.

These include changes to the entry provisions to the GMS scheme to accommodate more flexible/shared GMS/GP contracts, and to the retirement provisions for GPs under the GMS scheme, allowing GPs to hold GMS contracts until their 72nd birthday. Enhanced supports for rural GP practices have also been introduced. There has also been a huge expansion in the number of training places on GP training programmes in recent years; up from 120 places in 2009 to 192 filled in 2019.

In addition, the recent Agreement on GP contractual reforms will benefit patients and GPs. In return for cooperation with a range of service developments and reforms, the Government will increase investment in general practice by approximately 40% (€210 million) over the next four years. This will see significant increases in capitation fees for GPs who participate in the reform programme and the introduction of new fees and subsidies for additional services such as the chronic disease programme.

There will be increased support for GPs working in rural practices and for those in disadvantaged urban areas. Improvements in the maternity and paternity leave arrangements have also been agreed, in recognition of the need to ensure that general practice is compatible with doctors’ family friendly commitments. I am confident that these measures help make general practice more sustainable and a more attractive career option for doctors.

There is also a need, in the Government’s view, for a longer-term strategic review of how general practice should operate within the health service, well into the future. Therefore, during the lifetime of this Agreement my Department will lead a strategic review of general practice with a view to developing a new contractual framework which best supports patients and encourages innovation in primary care. This will be a wide-ranging task and it will, I hope, enable further innovative measures to be developed for the benefit of citizens and of course for GPs.

In relation to GP availability in mid-County Louth, as this is a service issue I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy in relation to this matter.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (460)

Eamon Scanlon

Question:

460. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health if travel passes are accepted on LocalLink transport services for persons attending HSE day services; his views on whether it is acceptable for persons with disabilities to pay €4 daily for transport in counties Sligo and Leitrim when the free travel pass is accepted on all LocalLink services in County Donegal (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44335/19]

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.

Primary Care Centres Data

Questions (461)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

461. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health when the primary health centre for Navan, County Meath will open; the towns still waiting for a primary healthcare centre to be provided; and the estimated dates for the opening of the centres. [44339/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As the HSE has responsibility for the provision and operation of Primary Care Centres and other Primary Care facilities, the Executive has been asked to reply directly to the Deputy.

Medicinal Products

Questions (462)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

462. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) cannot obtain the repatha injection they have been receiving since 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44340/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this refers to an individual case, I have referred this matter to the HSE for their attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Pharmacy Services

Questions (463)

John Brassil

Question:

463. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health his plans to extend the services available at community pharmacies with specific reference to a minor ailment scheme, new medicine service and the expansion of the free contraceptive scheme to be accessed via pharmacies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44341/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I value the role pharmacists play in the Irish health service. As you are aware, the Programme for a Partnership Government and the Sláintecare implementation strategy contain commitments to expanding the role of community pharmacy in managing patient health in the community.

Work has been done in recent years on wider healthcare roles for pharmacies, including the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland’s Future Pharmacy report, on the expansion of professional pharmacy practice. It is clear from this and other work that there is potential to increase the range of both private and publicly funded health services delivered through community pharmacy. Important new services, such as influenza vaccination and emergency contraception, have already been introduced.

To be funded by the taxpayer, new public health services in community pharmacy, as elsewhere, should improve health outcomes and provide value for money and benefits for patients. Any new or transferred services should be based on sound evidence, with matching improvements in governance and administration.

I have discussed these and other issues with the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU). My officials will be engaging with the IPU on new fee regulations before the end of the year and the intention is to broaden the discussions to contractual and service arrangements during 2020.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (464)

Joe Carey

Question:

464. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Health when a procedure will take place for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44343/19]

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.

HSE Staff Remuneration

Questions (465)

Joan Burton

Question:

465. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Health the status of salaries in the public health service (details supplied) in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44345/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Ambulance Service Data

Questions (466)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

466. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health the number of ambulances in operation nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44347/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (467)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

467. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) has to wait 18 months for an operation in view of the fact their condition was diagnosed over three years ago; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44348/19]

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.