Occupational Therapy Waiting Lists

Questions (201)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

201. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on the occupational therapy first-time assessment waiting list; the number waiting less than four, four to 12 and more than 12 months, respectively; and the number waiting aged under four, five to 17, 18 to 64 and more than 65 years of age, respectively by category and by LHO in tabular form. [51946/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.

Speech and Language Therapy Waiting Lists

Questions (202, 203)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

202. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of children on the speech and language therapy initial assessment waiting list; and the number waiting less than 4, 4 to 12 and more than 12 months, respectively by LHO in tabular form [51947/19]

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Louise O'Reilly

Question:

203. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of children on the speech and language therapy further treatment waiting list; and the number waiting less than four, four to 12 and more than 12 months, respectively by LHO in tabular form. [51948/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 202 and 203 together.

As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.

Crime Data

Questions (204)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

204. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of assaults recorded against front-line staff, including nurses, doctors, social workers, ambulance staff and other health professionals, to date in 2019, by hospital, geographic location and profession in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51949/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Primary Care Centres Data

Questions (205)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

205. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the operational status of each primary care centre under construction, planning phase, opened and so on; the healthcare and medical staff working in each operational primary care centre by occupation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51950/19]

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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.

Hospital Beds Data

Questions (206)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

206. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the additional beds opened under the winter plan 2019-2020 to date; the hospitals the beds are located in; the number open in each hospital in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51951/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE Winter Plan was launched on Thursday 14 November. The aim of the Winter Plan is to ensure that service providers are prepared for the additional external pressures associated with the winter period, including the prolonged holiday period, severe winter weather, seasonal influenza, and the spread of norovirus and other healthcare associated infections.

Nine Winter Action Teams, each aligned to a Community Healthcare Organisation and associated acute hospitals and Hospital Groups, have prepared Integrated Winter Plans. These plans focus on demand management and reduction, staffing availability, timely access to the most appropriate care pathway for patients, and appropriate timely discharge from acute hospitals.

The HSE Winter Plan is supported by an additional €26m in winter funding nationally. This winter funding will support access to the Fair Deal scheme and will provide additional home support and transitional care to facilitate timely hospital discharge and reduce congestion in EDs over the winter period.

The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) has agreed to support the funding of additional beds for three months over the winter period. This initiative will support the commitment by the HSE and my Department to alleviate winter pressures. Hospitals have been invited to make submissions to the NTPF and the NTPF are currently examining these proposals.

National Children's Hospital Status

Questions (207)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

207. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health his future plans for the site of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin; if the hospital will remain in use within the public health system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51952/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the legislation establishing Children's Health Ireland, the boards of Crumlin and Temple Street hospitals voluntarily transferred their assets and liabilities to the new entity. As such, the Crumlin hospital campus has transferred to Children's Health Ireland. On completion of the new children's hospital on the campus shared with St James's and the two paediatric outpatient urgent care centres at Connolly in Blanchardstown and Tallaght Hospital, paediatric services will no longer be provided at the Crumlin and Temple Street sites.

The HSE entered into Memoranda of Understanding with Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin and Temple Street Children’s University Hospital to ensure that the State’s investment to date in the hospitals is protected when the paediatric services are transferred to the new children’s hospital. Future uses for the Crumlin site has not yet been determined.

Hospitals Building Programme

Questions (208)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

208. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the status of the proposed maternity hospital to be co-located at the St. James’s Hospital site; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51953/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In line with best international practice, it is Government policy, as set out in the National Maternity Strategy 2016-2026 that standalone maternity hospitals should be co-located with acute adult hospitals.

Following a detailed review undertaken the Government decided that the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital would be relocated to the St James's Hospital campus.

The National Maternity Strategy reaffirms the commitment to tri-location of maternity, paediatric and acute adult hospital services on the St James's site campus by relocating the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital to the campus, following the development of the new Children’s Hospital.

As part of the Strategic Assessment stage of the project, it is the intention of the HSE to progress the Project Brief for the re-location of the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital in 2020.

It is important to recognise that all capital development proposals, including the relocation of the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital to the St. James’s site, must progress through a number of approval stages, in line with the Public Spending Code, including detailed appraisal, planning, design and procurement.

Hospitals Building Programme

Questions (209)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

209. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the status of the new national maternity hospital to be co-located at the St. Vincent’s University Hospital site; if he has been contacted by the Vatican or the religious orders on matters in relation to the hospital; if so, their response; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51954/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is fully committed to the development of the new National Maternity Hospital (NMH) on the campus of St Vincent’s University Hospital at Elm Park. As such, this project is encompassed within Project Ireland 2040, as well as the HSE Capital Plan 2019-2021.

My Department continues to engage with the NMH and St Vincent's Healthcare Group (SVHG) to develop a legal framework to protect the State’s significant investment in the new hospital. SVHG has agreed to provide the State with a 99-year lease of the land upon which the new maternity hospital will be built, and this will allow the State to retain ownership of the new facility. The State will, in turn, provide an Operating Licence to the NMH DAC and SVHG to enable the provision of health services in the newly constructed building.

Construction work commenced on site earlier this year on the new pharmacy and the car park extension and these works will be completed in 2020. However, the tender documents for the construction of the new maternity hospital will not issue until such time as the legal framework is agreed.

The governance arrangements for the new NMH will be based on the provisions of the Mulvey Agreement. That Agreement provides for the establishment of a new company - National Maternity Hospital at Elm Park DAC - which will have clinical and operational, as well as financial and budgetary independence in the provision of maternity, gynaecology and neonatal services. The Agreement ensures that a full range of health services will be available at the new hospital without religious, ethnic or other distinction.

While my Department has not had any engagement with the Religious Sisters of Charity or the Vatican, at a recent meeting the Chair of SVHG provided an update to my Department in relation to the transfer, by the Religious Sisters of Charity, of their shareholding in SVHG. I am advised that the Sisters have requested the Vatican to approve their decision to transfer their shareholding and they are confident that such approval will be forthcoming.

Hospitals Building Programme

Questions (210)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

210. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health if a compulsory purchase order of the lands at St. Vincent’s University Hospital has been considered in view of possible opposition to the new national maternity hospital by the Vatican; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51955/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is fully committed to the development of a new maternity hospital on the St Vincent’s University Hospital campus at Elm Park. The buildings at Holles St. are no longer fit for purpose and therefore the new National Maternity Hospital must be moved forward to provide the necessary infrastructure to enable the delivery of a modern, safe, quality maternity service for women and infants.

I am satisfied that agreement can be reached in relation to progressing the relocation of the National Maternity Hospital to the St Vincent's campus without the need for a compulsory purchase order.

Engagement is ongoing between my Department, the HSE, St Vincent's University Hospital and the National Maternity Hospital in relation to the legal framework which will be put in place to protect the State's investment in the new hospital.

Tender documents for the new maternity hospital will not issue until such time as the legal framework is agreed.

Electronic Cigarettes

Questions (211)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

211. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the most up-to-date evidence and advice in respect of e-cigarettes; when same will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51956/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The current position on e-cigarettes in Ireland is based on advice from the Health Information and Quality Authority (‘HIQA’) in its 2017 Health Technology Assessment of Smoking Cessation Products and Services.

In relation to the safety of e-cigarettes the HIQA assessment concluded that this remains an evolving area of research; while potentially safer than smoking, evidence on long-term safety has yet to be established. In relation to e-cigarettes as an aid to smoking cessation HIQA advised as follows:

“Although the currently available results for e-cigarettes are promising, there is insufficient evidence at present to reliably demonstrate their effectiveness as an aid to smoking cessation.”

Although the HIQA assessment was published only in 2017, the evidence on e-cigarettes is rapidly evolving. In that context I have asked the Health Research Board to undertake a review which will examine the evidence in relation to the health harms of e-cigarettes, their effectiveness as an aid to smoking cessation and whether there is evidence that they act as a gateway to smoking tobacco cigarettes. The evidence review is expected to be completed in April 2020.

HSE Agency Staff Expenditure

Questions (212)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

212. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the spend on agency staff in the health service from January to November 2019 by occupation, hospital and community healthcare organisation in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51958/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Hospital Overcrowding

Questions (213)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

213. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of times a full-capacity protocol was invoked to date in 2019, by hospital in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51959/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE National Escalation Framework, issued to the system in late 2015, consists of a tiered and incremental suite of actions to be adapted and implemented in hospitals with an ED during times when such hospitals are challenged in matching capacity and demand for acute inpatient care.

The full capacity protocol is the last escalation step in the HSE National Escalation Framework

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Emergency Departments Waiting Times

Questions (214)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

214. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the emergency department waiting times greater than 24 hours for persons over 75 years of age to date in 2019; if the targets were met; if not, the number of persons over 75 years of age who had a wait of more than 24 hours in an emergency department to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51960/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The hospital system is currently operating at close to full capacity. The number of patients attending Emergency Departments continues to increase year on year. For the first ten months of 2019, the number of patients over the age of 75 attending hospital EDs increased by 3.3% compared to the same period last year. This reflects increasing demand for unscheduled care, especially by patients in the 75 years and over age group.

However, the National Service Plan 2019 includes an expected activity target that 99% of patients aged 75 and over attending at an Emergency Department are discharged or admitted within 24 hours and any breach of this target in respect of patients in this age cohort is unacceptable.

There are a number of factors which may affect the waiting times for older patients. In particular, people in the older age category presenting to EDs are more likely to have complex needs and be admitted then the population generally. Consequently, a higher number of these patients may have to be accommodated on trolleys, pending their admission to a ward. There are also issues around delayed discharges of care which can cause congestion within hospital emergency departments.

With regard to the Deputy's specific question, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly with the requested information.

Ambulance Service Data

Questions (215)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

215. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of times an on-duty ambulance, rapid response vehicle or intermediate care vehicle has been involved in an accident while on duty to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51961/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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