Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (847)

Marian Harkin

Question:

847. Deputy Marian Harkin asked the Minister for Health if an issue (details supplied) in regard to Covid-19 guidelines will be clarified. [38350/20]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Ireland is currently at level 5 travel restrictions with travel limited to 5km of home. It is permitted however to travel for vital family reasons such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people and in particular for those who live alone but excluding social family visits.

Dental Services

Questions (848)

David Cullinane

Question:

848. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health the number of dentists which have withdrawn from the dental treatment services scheme in 2020; the number in the scheme at 1 January 2020; the number in the scheme at 1 November 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38351/20]

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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, as soon as possible.

Dental Services

Questions (849)

David Cullinane

Question:

849. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health the waiting lists for dental and orthodontic services disaggregated by children and adults; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38352/20]

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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, as soon as possible.

Dental Services

Questions (850)

David Cullinane

Question:

850. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health the number of medical card holders who received appointments through the dental treatment services scheme in 2019 and to date in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38353/20]

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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, as soon as possible.

Dental Services

Questions (851)

David Cullinane

Question:

851. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health if there has been a reduction in dental services to under 16s as a result of the withdrawal of dentists from relevant schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38354/20]

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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, as soon as possible.

Cannabis for Medicinal Use

Questions (852)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

852. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if the allowance made in April 2020 for patients with a medical cannabis licence to have medical cannabis delivered into Ireland rather than self-imported will be extended beyond the emergency timeframe of Covid-19 given the positive effect the allowance has had on these patients’ quality of life; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38355/20]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

On the 6th April, the previous Minister for Health announced an initiative to assist patients access to their medical cannabis products during the COVID-19 pandemic period. The Department of Health has so far organised a number of collections from the Netherlands for patients of clinicians in possession of a ministerial licence under the Misuse of Drugs Act owing to the COVID-19 travel restrictions and quarantine requirements and the initiative will continue while these are in place.

Psychological Assessments

Question No. 854 answered with Question No. 842.

Questions (853)

Seán Canney

Question:

853. Deputy Seán Canney asked the Minister for Health when a psychology assessment will take place for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38356/20]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Programme for Government, Our Shared Future, recognises the need to improve services for both children and adults with disabilities through better implementation and by working together across Government in a better way.

The Government commits to prioritising early diagnosis and access to services for children and ensuring that the most effective interventions are provided for each child, to guarantee the best outcomes.

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Question No. 854 answered with Question No. 842.

Covid-19 Tests

Questions (855)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

855. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health if an issue raised in the minutes of meeting (details supplied) will receive a response in which it is stated that there was an issue nationwide in some facilities not letting ambulance service to complete swabs. [38370/20]

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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, as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (856)

Paul McAuliffe

Question:

856. Deputy Paul McAuliffe asked the Minister for Health his plans for visitation in nursing homes and other residential settings; and if consideration has been given to procedures such as testing and PPE provision for nominated family members to be allowed to visit residents who are not Covid-19 positive in settings in which visits are currently banned. [38374/20]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The importance of continued social interaction of residents and their families cannot be overstated and every effort should be made, in line with public health advice, to ensure that these interactions continue, including through window visits.

Public health guidance for visiting to nursing homes outlines the protective measures to support safe staffing at all levels of the Government Framework including specific reference to visiting during compassionate circumstances. This guidance takes account of the 'Ethical Considerations relating to Long-term Residential Care Facilities in the context of COVID-19'.

This guidance remains under ongoing review by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, in consultation with relevant national stakeholders, to consider, in line with the range of public health factors, further potential for safe visiting within nursing homes. International evidence as it emerges is encompassed into this guidance.

The provision of PPE to visitors is already provided for within the current guidance.

I encourage all nursing homes to remain familiar with the latest public health advice and support, and to make every effort to continue to facilitate visitors in line with public health advice and to communicate with family and friends on an ongoing basis in order to support positive mental health and well-being. I have communicated with the sector outlining the need for them to be flexible, innovative and to facilitate to the greatest extent possible alternative arrangements such as window visiting, in line with public health advice.

Abortion Services Provision

Questions (857, 859)

Carol Nolan

Question:

857. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health the number of feticide procedures performed after 21 weeks and six days of gestation in tertiary referral centres from 1 January 2019 to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38379/20]

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Carol Nolan

Question:

859. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health the number of foetuses and-or unborn children who have been known to survive attempted foeticide or late term abortion in Irish hospitals from 1 January 2019 to date (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38368/20]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 857 and 859 together.

The notification forms submitted to the Minister under section 20 of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 do not require the detail the Deputy is seeking to be included on the form or notified to the Minister.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Notifications in accordance with Section 20 of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 - Annual Report 2019 reported that a relatively low number of procedures were carried out under section 11 of the Act last year (97).

Where relatively small numbers are involved, it is important to note that section 20 of the Act precludes reports published by the Minister from including information that could identify, or reasonably lead to the identification of, medical practitioners or women involved.

Abortion Services Provision

Question No. 859 answered with Question No. 857.

Questions (858)

Carol Nolan

Question:

858. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health if he will address concerns raised (details supplied) which suggests that unborn children who underwent late term abortions in Irish hospitals survived the procedure resulting in conflict between foetal medical specialists and neonatologists with respect to the provision of palliative care; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38367/20]

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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, as soon as possible.

Question No. 859 answered with Question No. 857.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Question No. 861 answered with Question No. 832.

Questions (860)

Mairéad Farrell

Question:

860. Deputy Mairéad Farrell asked the Minister for Health the number of deaths that occurred as a result of Covid-19 for September and October 2020, by county, in nursing homes, direct provision and meat factories, in tabular form; if he will provide additional information such as age groups and nationality; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38382/20]

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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, as soon as possible.

Question No. 861 answered with Question No. 832.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (862)

Alan Farrell

Question:

862. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Health if there is a policy in place for girls and boys to access the HPV vaccine through the HSE if they declined the opportunity to take it up in school due to the prevalence of inaccurate information regarding the safety of such inoculations but have reconsidered their decision and now wish to proceed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38409/20]

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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. The 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 to 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.

The NIAC recommended that the HPV vaccine should also be given to boys. On foot of the 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.

The 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 the following 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' HPV vaccination programme which started in 2010.

The ages at which vaccines are recommended in the immunisation schedule are chosen by the 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.

Anyone not in 1st year of secondary school or age equivalent in special schools or home schooled during the 2020/2021 school year who wishes to get the HPV vaccine, must go to their GP or sexual health clinic and pay privately for the vaccine and its administration.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (863)

Paul McAuliffe

Question:

863. Deputy Paul McAuliffe asked the Minister for Health the quantity of ultra-freezers owned by the HSE and his Department; his plans to purchase further ultra-freezers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38415/20]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Ireland is currently involved in an EU Procurement Exercise being operated by the European Commission on behalf of member states to procure a portfolio of suitable, safe and effective vaccines, in sufficient quantities, to combat COVID-19.

I can assure the Deputy of the Government's commitment to the timely implementation of a COVID-19 immunisation programme, as soon as one or more vaccines in the portfolio are approved for use.

In this regard, a cross-Government High-Level Taskforce has been established to support and oversee the development and implementation of the programme. Logistics arrangements are amongst the range of matters which will be addressed in the context of the work of the Taskforce and the State agencies and other stakeholders with which it will work.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (864)

Paul McAuliffe

Question:

864. Deputy Paul McAuliffe asked the Minister for Health his views on the recent Covid-19 vaccine announcements by companies (details supplied); his plans to purchase these vaccines when available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38416/20]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I welcome the announcements on Covid-19 vaccinations in development that have been in the media in recent days. However, it is important to note that no vaccine for Covid-19 is yet approved for use.

Ireland is currently involved in an EU Procurement Exercise being operated by the European Commission on behalf of member states to procure a portfolio of suitable, safe and effective vaccines, in sufficient quantities, to combat COVID-19.

Any vaccines that are covered by the EU's portfolio will require market authorisation from the European Medicines Agency prior to use.