Information and Communications Technology

Questions (608)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

608. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health the person or body responsible for the provision of Wi-Fi at HSE facilities, in particular in step-down facilities and district hospitals. [44908/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Office of the Chief Information Officer (OoCIO) is the HSE office responsible for the delivery of technology to support my Departments eHealth Strategy for Ireland and the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy. Contact details are as follows:

Ph: 01 635 2732 email: questions@ehealthireland.iehttps://www.hse.ie/eng/about/who/oocio/.

Disability Support Services Provision

Questions (609)

Frank O'Rourke

Question:

609. Deputy Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Health if home support hours will be increased for a person (details supplied) in view of the fact that the provision of four hours per week is inadequate for the person's needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44910/19]

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.

Hospitals Building Programme

Questions (610)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

610. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health the company contracted to provide the 40-bed modular unit for South Tipperary General Hospital; the fees paid to date for the delivery of the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44911/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.

Hospital Consultant Data

Questions (611)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

611. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health if concerns that approximately 133 public consultant posts are being filled by doctors who are not on the specialist register will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44913/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

My Department, in conjunction with the Medical Council, and the HSE are currently addressing this issue.

The Report of the National Doctor Training and Planning Project Team (HSE) on the Employment of Consultants not Registered in the Specialist Division of the Register of Medical Practitioners was progressed to final draft stage in September and provided to my Department on that basis last month. The Report provides an analysis of the current situation and outlines the work undertaken by the project team to date. It identified 153 consultants employed in the HSE who were not on the Specialist Division of the Register (February 2019 data), 46 of whom were employed prior to the introduction of the requirement for specialist registration in 2008; and 107 employed after the introduction of this requirement. Of those appointed prior to the 2008 policy change 40 were properly appointed under the eligibility criteria for consultant posts that applied at the time.

I am currently bringing legislation through the Oireachtas, the Regulated Professions (Health and Social Care) (Amendment) Bill 2019, that will enable the Medical Council to place those who were properly appointed under the criteria that applied prior to the introduction of the specialist registration requirement in 2008; where it is satisfied that it would be in order to do so. Report Stage is scheduled for tomorrow, 6th November.

The objective of the overall project is to progress to having all consultants employed by the HSE on the Specialist Division of the Register. In this context, the Report identifies the impact of the ongoing challenges in the recruitment of consultants, including reduced numbers of applicants for consultant posts and the recruitment process itself, as significant factors at present and proposes a number of key recommendations. The analysis identifies particular problems in certain specialties including Community Mental Health services and certain acute hospital specialties including Medicine, Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Anaesthesia/Intensive Care Medicine and Obstetrics/Gynaecology.

Medicinal Products Availability

Questions (612)

Catherine Martin

Question:

612. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that pharmacies are experiencing a shortage of certain types of medication, particularly Micardis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44923/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Unfortunately, medicine shortages are a feature of modern health systems worldwide, but Ireland has a multi-stakeholder system in place to prevent and manage shortages when they occur.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) has worked with other stakeholders, including the pharmaceutical industry and the HSE, to develop an effective approach to the management of medicine shortages in Ireland. In 2018, the HPRA launched the “Medicine Shortages Framework”, which is built on a pragmatic and collaborative approach involving the wide range of stakeholders within the medicine supply chain. The HPRA coordinates all stakeholders to share information in order to prevent or mitigate the impact of medicine shortages when they occur.

The marketing authorisation holder for the specific product referred to by the Deputy has confirmed to the HPRA that there is no shortage and that there are sufficient supplies of this medicine for patients in Ireland. There was a recent technical difficulty at the wholesaler which may have resulted in a temporary delay in supplying stock to pharmacies; the wholesaler in question has indicated that this issue is now resolved.

Brexit Preparations

Questions (613)

Catherine Martin

Question:

613. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Health his plans to prevent medicine shortages in the event of a hard Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44924/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As part of the whole-of-government response to Brexit, the Department of Health has established dedicated structures to manage the approach to preparing for the UK’s exit from the EU. The Department, the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) and the Health Service Executive (HSE), with the full support of stakeholders, are implementing a comprehensive and coordinated set of preparations to ensure continuity of health services and continued supply of medicines and medical devices in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Chapter 24 of the Government’s Brexit Contingency Action Plan Update, published in July 2019, details work which has been undertaken in relation to the supply of medicines and medical devices. https://www.dfa.ie/brexit/getting-ireland-brexit-ready/governmentcontingencyactionplan/.

Ireland is unlikely to face general medicine shortages in the period immediately after the UK's exit from the European Union. Any emerging supply issues will, in the first instance, be dealt with from existing supplies held within the domestic distribution chain, which already has additional stocks of medicines routinely built into it.

There is no need for hospitals, pharmacists or patients to order extra quantities of medicines, or for doctors to issue additional prescriptions, as doing so could disrupt existing stock levels and hamper the supply of medicines for other patients. Patients should continue to fill their prescriptions and take their medications as they normally would.

The Department, the HSE and the HPRA have facilitated ongoing engagements with manufacturers and suppliers of medicines and medical devices, to ensure that they are Brexit-ready, to discuss any potential issues that could affect supply to Ireland and to identify solutions to maintain supply to the market.

Unfortunately, medicine shortages are a feature of modern health systems, but Ireland has a multi-stakeholder system in place to prevent and manage shortages when they occur. The health system is therefore well placed to anticipate and respond to any additional shortages, should they arise because of Brexit. Any shortages currently affecting the Irish market are not directly attributable to Brexit.

Significant work has been undertaken to mitigate potential vulnerabilities and risks and to provide a high level of assurance around continuity of care and treatment for patients in Ireland. Work on this will continue, including ongoing monitoring of supplies in Ireland and engagement with industry to adapt supply chains, where necessary, to minimise any potential disruption.

Disability Support Services Provision

Questions (614)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

614. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Health if funding will be made available to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44925/19]

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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.

Disability Support Services Provision

Questions (615)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

615. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health if a full-time placement will be arranged for a person (details supplied). [44931/19]

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 a service issue, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Health Services Staff Training

Questions (616)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

616. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the critical lack of training posts for higher specialist training in psychiatry; the steps being taken to address same and the critical shortage of consultants in psychiatry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44933/19]

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.

Health Services Staff Training

Questions (617)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

617. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health if additional funding will be made available to a body (details supplied) through the national doctors training and planning unit to help increase the number of training places for higher specialist training for psychiatry. [44934/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Health Services Staff Training

Questions (618)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

618. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health if additional places for higher specialist training in psychiatry will be made available for trainee graduates in order to increase the number of consultant psychiatrists. [44935/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

HSE Staff Recruitment

Questions (619)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

619. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health when the national clinical lead for the HSE national clinical programme for early intervention in psychosis will be appointed; and when the early intervention program will be rolled out. [44938/19]

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.

Disability Support Services Provision

Questions (620)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

620. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health the reason a child (details supplied) will have to wait three years before gaining access to support services to aid in education; the position of the child on the waiting list for support services; the estimated date for the provision of supports; the interim supports that can be provided to the child's parents and school in order that the child can continue in education in a primary school setting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44939/19]

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 Data

Questions (621)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

621. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Health the number of persons waiting for home help and-or support in County Longford; and the number of home help hours cut per week due to staff illness or shortages in the county. [44942/19]

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 (622)

Robert Troy

Question:

622. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if an appointment will be expedited for a person (details supplied). [44948/19]

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (623)

Robert Troy

Question:

623. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if an appointment will be expedited for a person (details supplied). [44949/19]

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (624)

Robert Troy

Question:

624. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if an appointment will be expedited for a person (details supplied). [44950/19]

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.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (625)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

625. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Health the status of the two-year wait for a person (details supplied) to see the school age team the person has been referred to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44970/19]

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.

Health Services Staff Recruitment

Questions (626)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

626. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if he has instructed the HSE to implement an embargo on home help recruitment and new home care hours and extend this embargo until January 2020; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this is causing the waiting lists for those approved for home help to grow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44972/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Home Support Service is a core service which assists older people to live independently in their own homes for longer and enables large numbers of people to return home following acute hospital admission, who otherwise would remain in hospital or would be admitted to long stay residential care.

In line with Programme for Government commitments, the Government has made improved access to home support services a priority. In 2019 almost €30 million extra was added to the budget, with a target of delivering 18.26 million hours to over 53,000 people. This represented about 800,000 more hours of support than the 2018 target.

Despite this significant level of service provision, the demand for home support continues to grow. The allocation of funding for home supports across the system, though significant, is finite and services must be delivered within the funding available.

To achieve a balanced budget in 2019 the HSE must ensure that the cost of the home support hours being provided does not exceed the available budget. This is in line with normal prudent management of the budget. It is not correct to say that there is an embargo on home support hours. The allocation of new hours continues to be based on clients’ needs and the resources available.

In the context of planning and preparing for the challenges of the winter period, an additional €26m has been made available for the last quarter of 2019 to support the hospital and community system to improve patient egress. The investment is supporting home support and transitional care as well as keeping the waiting time for access to support under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS) at 4 weeks to the end of the year.

While the existing home support service is delivering crucial support to many people across the country, it needs to be improved to better meet the changing needs of our citizens.

We have committed to an additional investment of €52 million in Budget 2020 to bring the total funding for home supports to €487 million in 2020. In 2020 the HSE will deliver over 19.2 million hours of home support, a substantial increase of 1 million hours more than this year’s target.

This investment is focused on enabling older people to remain at home and as appropriate, provision of hours will also be targeted at times of peak demand in Winter 2020, at the beginning and end of the year, to ensure more timely egress from hospital for our older citizens.

The core principles of Healthy Ireland, Positive Ageing, prevention and early intervention will underpin this approach.

In relation to recruitment, I am advised by the HSE that while there is no national recruitment embargo or moratorium, there is a priority requirement for all HSE services to maintain, or get to, an affordable staffing level that is sustainable in 2019 and 2020, while also prioritising the delivery of safe services.

In light of this, the HSE have introduced control measures relating to staffing and recruitment to ensure that they live within the available resources provided to them. This does mean that in some Hospital Groups and Community Healthcare Organisations non-critical replacement posts will be paused, however, the HSE report that there is on-going capacity for replacement of critical clinical posts within frontline services throughout this period.

Orthodontic Services Provision

Questions (627)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

627. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health when a student (details supplied) in County Clare will receive an appointment for orthodontic treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44993/19]

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.