General Practitioner Services Provision

Questions (628)

Barry Cowen

Question:

628. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health when general practitioner services will be reinstated to full service at a centre (details supplied). [44994/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this question relates to a service matter, I have arranged for it to be referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Traveller Community

Question No. 630 answered with Question No. 480.

Questions (629)

Mary Butler

Question:

629. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health if he has sought an allocation within budget 2020 in order to address the crisis in Traveller mental health; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45002/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Budget 2020 announced €39 million additional funding for mental health services bringing its budget to €1.026 billion in 2020. The additional €39m increase to the includes €13m for the continued rollout of new developments in 2020 and €26m has been allocated for other costs, including pay, which will be used to maintain funding and enhance existing services.

New Developments programmes and funding will be agreed as part of the HSE National Service Plan 2020 discussions.

Question No. 630 answered with Question No. 480.

Traveller Community

Questions (631)

Mary Butler

Question:

631. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health his plans to commission a national audit of Traveller suicide and develop a national targeted suicide prevention campaign for Travellers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45004/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The National Office for Suicide Prevention in the HSE has responsibility for the implementation of Connecting for Life, Ireland's National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. Members of the Traveller community are considered as a priority group under the strategy and feature across many objectives and actions in the strategy.

I have asked the National Office for Suicide Prevention to respond directly to the Deputy in relation to these specific requests.

Traveller Community

Questions (632)

Mary Butler

Question:

632. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health his plans to implement a national Traveller mental health strategy with a ring-fenced budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45005/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

National mental health policies, such as A Vision for Change and Connecting for Life, support a whole-of-population approach to mental health service delivery. The Traveller community is among a number of priority groups identified in these strategies, acknowledging that, while Travellers are eligible to avail of all mainstream public health services, they also have specific needs and mental health services should be delivered in a culturally-appropriate way.

For this reason, in 2017 the HSE committed to the recruitment of nine Mental Health Coordinators for Travellers, eight of whom are currently in post. The focus of these roles is to work within the CHOs to support improved access, consistency and integration of mental health services to meet the mental health needs of Travellers.

The Department of Health also provides funding in the region of €10m per annum, through the HSE, for targeted measures to improve the health status of the Travelling community. These include:

- primary healthcare projects, counselling services, family support programmes and men's health projects; dedicated public health nurses and related staff; and

- mental health promotion and suicide prevention services in a culturally sensitive manner, to reduce the stigma associated with mental health.

In addition, the Department of Justice and Equality's National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy also details HSE-specific actions. Of particular note is the commitment by the HSE to develop a National Traveller Health Action Plan.

The HSE circulated a first draft of the action plan in March 2019 for consultation with stakeholders, including the Department of Health. The draft is currently being revised to take account of feedback and is expected to be finalised in quarter 4 2019.

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Questions (633)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

633. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of equipment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45024/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Ministerial Meetings

Questions (634)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

634. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the status of the meeting requested with him by a municipal district (details supplied) regarding the home help crisis; if he will provide a date for same as a matter of urgency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45026/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Requests to meet my colleague Minister Harris are normally arranged through his office. As a request has been made, I have no doubt that the Minister's Office will reply in due course.

National Children's Hospital

Questions (635, 636, 637, 638, 639, 640)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

635. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health if a budget was established regarding the new national children’s hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45036/19]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

636. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health if there were investigation contracts carried out regarding the new national children’s hospital; if so, the number of such contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45037/19]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

637. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health if a pre-tender estimate was prepared in respect of the new national children’s hospital; if so, the number of pre-tender estimates that were assembled; and if the project was fully pre-designed. [45038/19]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

638. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health the value of the accepted tender relating to the new national children’s hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45039/19]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

639. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health the date of tender regarding the new national children’s hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45040/19]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

640. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health the out-turn cost regarding the new national children’s hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45041/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 635 to 640, inclusive, together.

The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) has statutory responsibility for planning, designing, building and equipping the new children's hospital. I have referred your question to the NPHDB for direct reply.

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Questions (641)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

641. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health his plans to remove age restrictions associated with the provision of the FreeStyle Libre device; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45053/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, the HSE has statutory responsibility for the administration of the community drug schemes; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Public Procurement Contracts Data

Questions (642)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

642. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health the details of contracts of €25,000 or more that have been awarded by his Department or bodies under his aegis that were found to be non-compliant with procurement guidelines in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45066/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In 2017, there were two contracts to the value of €288,737 included the Department’s annual return in respect of Circular 40/2002 that were not in compliance with procurement guidelines. One contract for €229,375 related to office maintenance where tendering for a new contract was deferred until 2018 pending relocation to new premises. Another contract for €59,362 related to mobile and telephony services where the Office for Government Procurement (OGP) advised continuing with a current supplier until a new framework was in place in January 2018.

In 2018, there were two contracts to the value of €106,085 that were not in compliance with procurement guidelines. The contract for €74,322 related to mobile and telephony services. It had been expected that a new competitively tendered agreement would be in place by Q2 2019. However, this tender competition had been delayed due to competing priorities following the move to Miesian Plaza. My Department has been liaising with the OGP in relation to this tendering process and I expect this process to commence shortly. There was also a contract for €31,763 that related to translation services. A tender competition is currently underway to select a supplier from the OGP framework.

In respect of 2019, details for non-compliant contracts are not yet available.

In relation to contracts awarded by the HSE, as this is an operational matter, I have forwarded your query to the HSE and asked that they respond directly to you on this.

Details for other bodies under the aegis of my Department are operational matters for the bodies concerned and the Deputy should contact the relevant Director/CEO/Registrar directly.

Medicinal Products Availability

Questions (643)

Michael McGrath

Question:

643. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health if there has been progress regarding ocrelizumab being made available to persons with multiple sclerosis; his plans in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45074/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE has statutory responsibility for medicine pricing and reimbursement decisions, under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. The Act specifies criteria for decisions on the reimbursement of medicines. The Minister for Health has no role in relation to reimbursement decisions.

HSE decisions on which medicines are reimbursed by the taxpayer are made on objective, scientific and economic grounds, including 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 a drug's clinical and cost effectiveness as a health intervention.

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, ongoing investments. This can lead to a protracted deliberation process.

The HSE has advised that it has received two applications for pricing and reimbursement of Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) in Multiple Sclerosis.

On 29 August 2018, the NCPE completed a health technology assessment for Ocrelizumab for the treatment of adult patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (RMS). They recommended that Ocrelizumab not be considered for reimbursement unless cost-effectiveness can be improved relative to existing treatments.

Following a number of rounds of commercial negotiations, agreement has been reached in relation to the commercial terms which will apply to this indication when reimbursed. The HSE intends to progress Ocrelizumab for the RMS indication, which was approved for funding from October 2019, on a patient-specific basis.

On 4 October 2018 the NCPE completed their assessment for Ocrelizumab indicated for the treatment of adult patients with early primary progressive multiple sclerosis. They did not recommend that Ocrelizumab be reimbursed for this indication.

The HSE and the manufacturer have had a number of rounds of commercial negotiations in relation to this indication. Commercial discussions have concluded, the medicine has been reviewed by the HSE Drugs Group and the HSE Senior Leadership Team have received the Drugs Group recommendation. The HSE's final decision on reimbursement will take into consideration the statutory criteria contained in the 2013 Health Act.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (644)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

644. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will be seen at Cork University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45076/19]

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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.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Questions (645)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

645. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health the meaning of the phrase "minded to approve" in terms of the drug osimertinib, or Tagrisso; and the way in which he can address the funding issues for the drug for 2020. [45093/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE has statutory responsibility for medicine pricing and reimbursement decisions, under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. The Act specifies criteria for decisions on the reimbursement of medicines. The matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

HSE Staff Remuneration

Questions (646)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

646. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Health if he will address a matter relating to home help staff who are employed by the HSE and are not receiving a travel time payment, which is a statutory entitlement, due to the fact they are refusing to sign a recently amended contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45126/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Tax Rebates

Questions (647)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

647. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if medical travel expenses are recoupable in a case (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45134/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly.