Vaccination Programme

Questions (488)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

488. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health his plans to reconsider introducing a catch-up provision in the HPV vaccine programme for boys (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44446/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The immunisation programme in Ireland is based on the advice of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC). The committee's recommendations are based on the prevalence of the relevant disease in Ireland and international best practice in relation to immunisation. It makes recommendations on vaccination policy to my Department. NIAC continues to revise recommendations to allow for the introduction of new vaccines in Ireland and to keep abreast of changes in the patterns of disease. Therefore, the immunisation schedule will continue to be amended over time.

In 2009 the NIAC recommended HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination for all 12-13 year old girls to reduce their risk of developing cervical cancer when they are adults. In September 2010 the HPV vaccination programme was introduced for all girls in first year of secondary school. Gardasil is the vaccine used by the HSE in the School Immunisation Programme and is provided free of charge to girls in first year of secondary school.

During the 2019/20 school year, girls attending secondary school can still join the HPV girls only programme with appointments offered in HSE mop up clinics. It must be noted that vaccinated women and girls may still be at risk from other high risk types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer and will therefore need to continue to have regular cervical smear tests.

As you are aware, NIAC recommended that the HPV vaccine should also be given to boys. On foot of NIAC’s recommendation, my Department asked the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to undertake a health technology assessment (HTA) to establish the clinical and cost-effectiveness of extending the current immunisation programme to include boys in the first year of secondary school.

HIQA completed the HTA in December 2018, recommending that the HPV immunisation programme be extended to include boys. A policy decision was made to extend the HPV immunisation programme to include boys starting in September 2019 with the introduction of a 9-valent HPV vaccine. However, the HIQA report published in December 2018 did not recommend an HPV catch-up programme for older boys for several reasons:

- Vaccinating boys in the first year of secondary school provides the best possible protection against HPV infection;

- Boys are already benefitting from the indirect herd protection provided by the girls' HPVvaccination programme which started in 2010.

The ages at which vaccines are recommended in the immunisation schedule are chosen by NIAC in order to give each child the best possible protection against vaccine preventable diseases. As the HPV vaccine is preventative it is intended to be administered, if possible, before a person becomes sexually active, that is, before a person is first exposed to HPV infection. Therefore, the gender neutral HPV vaccination programme targets all girls and boys in first year of secondary school to provide maximum coverage. All vaccines administered through the School Immunisation Programme are provided free of charge.

My Department will continue to be guided by NIAC's recommendations on any emerging evidence on this issue in the future.

Psychological Assessments

Questions (489)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

489. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health if he will direct the HSE to carry out the tests and investigations necessary before the end of January 2020 in the case of a person (details supplied) in view of the fact that this will be necessary if a school is to make an application for a special needs assistant in February 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44465/19]

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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.

Speech and Language Therapy Provision

Questions (490)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

490. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if a speech and language appointment will be expedited for a person (details supplied); the status of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44472/19]

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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.

Health Services Funding

Questions (491)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

491. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health if an organisation (details supplied) will receive funding under Sláintecare in 2020. [44480/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

457 applications were made to the Sláintecare Integration Fund, and 122 projects were successful. I am advised that the organisation referred to was not awarded funding. Feedback on applications made to the Fund is available from the Sláintecare Programme Implementation Office.

Health Services Funding

Questions (492)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

492. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the projects which have received funding under Sláintecare to date. [44481/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Sláintecare Integration Fund provides €20 million to test and scale how services can best be delivered. The Integration Fund sought submissions with a focus on community care and integration of care across all health and social care settings. 477 projects applied for the Integration Fund and 122 projects from across the country were successful.

Details of the successful projects are available here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/ca8a1d-slaintecare-in-action/#integration-fund

Diabetes Strategy

Questions (493)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

493. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health if the diabetes education programme run by an organisation (details supplied) will be rolled out through the HSE as a nationwide diabetes education programme. [44482/19]

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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.

Diabetes Strategy

Questions (494)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

494. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health if the diabetes smart online programme run by an organisation (details supplied) will be rolled out through the HSE as a nationwide online diabetes programme. [44483/19]

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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.

Health Reports

Questions (495)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

495. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health when the report by the contraception working group will be published. [44484/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Report of the Working Group on Access to Contraception was published after the submission of her question on 29th October 2019 and is available for download from my Department's website.

Abortion Legislation

Questions (496)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

496. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health when a general scheme of a Bill will be prepared to legislate for safe access zones around health facilities which provide access to termination of pregnancies. [44485/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

It is my absolute intention that people can access termination of pregnancy services safely. I wish to assure women and healthcare staff that there is existing legislation in place to protect them and to protect patients.

My Department and An Garda Síochána have been closely monitoring the situation since termination of pregnancy services commenced in January this year, and I have met with the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána on this issue.

As the Deputy is aware, I also met with Oireachtas members to discuss safe access as a matter of priority. A targeted consultation of health service providers is under way, following which I will meet with a representative group of service providers from the HSE. I plan to meet with the Oireachtas members again to provide a further update.

The result of the referendum last year gave the Government a strong mandate to introduce termination of pregnancy services and it remains my priority that the legislation is fully implemented so that all women in Ireland can access these services quickly and easily, without bias or judgment.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (497)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Question:

497. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Health if an ASD service will be offered in County Roscommon in order that children in need of the service can avail of it close to home (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44486/19]

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 Appointments Status

Questions (498)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

498. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of an appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44487/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Home Help Service Provision

Questions (499)

Brian Stanley

Question:

499. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will be put on a priority list for adequate home help hours. [44502/19]

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.

Defibrillators Provision

Questions (500)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Question:

500. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Health if emergency funding is available through his Department or the HSE for communities to purchase or replace defibrillators in their respective areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44503/19]

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.

Prescriptions Charges

Questions (501)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

501. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 205 of 4 May 2017 and 777 of 6 September 2019, the consideration being given to the issue raised (details supplied); his views on whether urgent action is required to address the issue; the timeframe for recommendations to be made in relation to the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44505/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I am aware of the issue arising where a prescribed dosage requiring different medication strengths results in separate prescription charges. I am advised by the HSE that this is due to technical issues in relation to the pharmacy claiming process and that a solution will be considered in the context of IT developments in this area.

Dental Services

Questions (502)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

502. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health when free dental care for children under six years of age as announced in budget 2020 will come into effect; the application process in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44506/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The introduction of packages of oral healthcare for children under 6 years of age is a priority action of Smile agus Sláinte, the National Oral Health Policy. My Department is currently in the early stages of planning for its introduction in 2020. I will announce further details in due course.

General Practitioner Services

Questions (503)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

503. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health when free general practitioner care for children under eight years of age as announced in budget 2020 will come into effect; the application process in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44507/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Following the earlier introduction of free GP care for children aged under 6, Budget 2020 allows for the beginning of the phased introduction of free GP care for children aged from 6 to 12, with the introduction of free GP care for children aged 6 and 7 from autumn 2020.

Introduction of this measure is dependent on the drafting and enactment of legislation, and will be the subject of negotiation with the IMO, representing general practitioners.

The application process will involve granting GP visit card eligibility to all children aged 6 and 7 who do not already hold a medical card or GP visit card.

Ambulance Service Staff

Questions (504)

Noel Grealish

Question:

504. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Health the person or body that authorised the cessation of deductions from the salaries of ambulance staff for unions (details supplied) which was in place for a number of years; the reason the decision was made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44515/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (505)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

505. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied) in the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital, Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44518/19]

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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.

Primary Care Centres Provision

Questions (506)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

506. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Health the status of building projects (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44520/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Palliative Care for Children

Questions (507)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

507. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Health the palliative care available in County Tipperary for children and young adults under 18 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44523/19]

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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.