Question No. 486 answered with Question No. 484.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (487)

Mick Barry

Question:

487. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Health if he will outline the contacts and plans he has made with the private health sector in the provision of the Covid-19 vaccinations; if he will publish details including the costs of any contracts with the private sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2307/21]

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.

Vaccination Programme

Question No. 489 answered with Question No. 448.

Questions (488, 498, 542, 589, 601, 606)

Michael McNamara

Question:

488. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Health if teachers will be included in group 6 in the vaccination programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2309/21]

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Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

498. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health if port workers who are considered front-line workers should receive the Covid-19 vaccine in the initial phases of the roll-out to ensure that ports remain operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2365/21]

View answer

Niamh Smyth

Question:

542. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if he will review correspondence about the vaccine roll-out for childcare workers (details supplied); if he will provide clarity on this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2507/21]

View answer

Neale Richmond

Question:

589. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Health if funeral cemetery workers are classified as key workers under the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out plan and as such fall into the sixth category on the vaccine allocation groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2638/21]

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Holly Cairns

Question:

601. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health when vaccines for special education service users and service providers will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2673/21]

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Robert Troy

Question:

606. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if he will include special education staff in line with healthcare workers for prioritised vaccination. [2686/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 488, 498, 542, 589, 601 and 606 together.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy sets out a provisional list of groups for vaccination. The Strategy was developed by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) and my Department, endorsed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), and approved by Government on 8 December 2020.

Vaccine allocation is a matter for my Department and further information is available here:

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/39038-provisional-vaccine-allocation-groups/.

The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is the responsibility of the HSE.

The aim of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is to ensure, over time, that vaccine will become available to vaccinate all of those for whom the vaccine is indicated. Given that there will be initially limited vaccines available, it will take some time for all to receive those vaccines and that has necessitated an allocation strategy to ensure that those most at risk of death and serious illness receive the vaccine first.

The priority is to first vaccinate and protect directly the most vulnerable amongst us, that is, those most likely to have a poor outcome if they contract the virus. The priority is to directly use vaccines to save lives and reduce serious illness, hence the focus on the over 65 year old cohort in long term residential care facilities, and healthcare workers in frontline services often caring for the most vulnerable.

All of the groups will be covered as further vaccine supplies become available and the immunisation programme is rolled out nationally.

The evidence will be kept under review and the allocation groups may be updated, where necessary, in light of new evidence.

The key workers referred to in Group 6 are those providing services essential to the vaccination programme.

Question No. 489 answered with Question No. 448.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (490, 545, 551, 562, 565, 665)

John Lahart

Question:

490. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a pandemic-related payment that in 2020 was awarded to fourth year radiography students is no longer being offered to current students (details supplied); his plans to reinstate this payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2315/21]

View answer

Willie O'Dea

Question:

545. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Health the reason fourth-year student radiographers who were paid for a number of weeks in 2020 for their work during the Covid-19 pandemic are not being paid now when hospitals are busier than ever; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2533/21]

View answer

Kieran O'Donnell

Question:

551. Deputy Kieran O'Donnell asked the Minister for Health if he will address matters raised in correspondence by a person (details supplied) about the need for supports for student radiographers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2551/21]

View answer

Joe O'Brien

Question:

562. Deputy Joe O'Brien asked the Minister for Health if consideration has been given to offering paid contracts to fourth year student radiographers for their work in 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic as was the case for the previous academic year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2576/21]

View answer

Cian O'Callaghan

Question:

565. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that student radiographers on placement are not in receipt of any pay or allowances; the steps he is taking in relation to the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2590/21]

View answer

Jennifer Whitmore

Question:

665. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for Health the position regarding pay for student radiographers during the current lockdown; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2912/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 490, 545, 551, 562, 565 and 665 together.

Radiography students do not receive an allowance to support time spent on placement as part of their course and there are no plans to change this.

I can also confirm that in 2020, assistant radiographers were employed on a 3 month contract following completion of their final year clinical placement, subject to the needs of the Health Service. As their skills were identified as being required during the COVID-19 response and subject to the needs of each acute hospital, they were offered a temporary 3 month assistant radiographer role following successful completion of their 7 week final year clinical placement. The 3-month period commenced on 18 May 2020.

It should be noted that across the health and social care disciplines, there could be over 8,000 students on placement in hospital and healthcare settings. Of this number, around a third are final year students. The length of placements and the activities performed during these placements vary between the disciplines. These students are not employees and in many cases the nature of the placement can, in the main, be limited to participation in an observing and a learning capacity.

Uniquely for student nurses and midwives there is, in the final year, a paid salary when they are specifically employed on an internship placement. Student nurses and midwives’ final year internship placement consists of a continual 36-week rostered clinical placement, including annual leave. The internship placement is a paid placement as the student nurses and midwives take a reduced caseload. During these placements, students are under supervision and are considered as 0.5 WTE of the workforce. In addition, Intern students can be allocated across all shift patterns including nights, weekends and 12-hour days.

Student nurses and midwives undertaking unpaid supernumerary clinical placement as students are currently in receipt of an allowance. Again, given the unique requirements of these training programmes attendance at many placement sites is required, some of which are at a distance to base training hospital and the current allowance is to contribute to the cost of alternative accommodation / travel.

Medical Aids and Appliances

Questions (491)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

491. Deputy Niamh Smyth 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. [2325/21]

View answer

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (492)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

492. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2326/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

It is recognised that waiting times for scheduled appointments and procedures have been impacted in the last year as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The HSE is currently recommending that only critical time dependent elective procedures are undertaken at this time due to the on-going and significant increased demand for bed capacity related to Covid-19.

This decision was made arising from the rapid increase in Covid-19 admissions and to ensure patient safety and that all appropriate resources were made available for Covid-19 related activity and time-critical essential work.

Patient safety remains at the centre of all hospital activity and elective care scheduling. To ensure services are provided in a safe, clinically-aligned and prioritised way, hospitals are following HSE clinical guidelines and protocols.

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 is a standardised approach used by the HSE to manage scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures. It sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists and was developed in 2014 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.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Hospital Acquired Infections

Questions (493)

Patricia Ryan

Question:

493. Deputy Patricia Ryan asked the Minister for Health the number of MRSA cases reported to the HSE in each hospital in 2019 and 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2341/21]

View answer

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 Tests

Questions (494)

Patricia Ryan

Question:

494. Deputy Patricia Ryan asked the Minister for Health if routine Covid-19 testing of staff in primary healthcare centres is taking place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2346/21]

View answer

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.

Occupational Therapy

Questions (495)

Patricia Ryan

Question:

495. Deputy Patricia Ryan asked the Minister for Health the number of occupational therapists employed in each area of community healthcare organisation, CHO, 7; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2347/21]

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.

Occupational Therapy

Question No. 497 answered with Question No. 469.

Question No. 498 answered with Question No. 488.

Questions (496)

Patricia Ryan

Question:

496. Deputy Patricia Ryan asked the Minister for Health the number of children awaiting assessment by occupational therapists in each area of CHO 7; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2348/21]

View answer

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. 497 answered with Question No. 469.
Question No. 498 answered with Question No. 488.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (499, 587, 588)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

499. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding vaccinations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2372/21]

View answer

Danny Healy-Rae

Question:

587. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if he will provide the vaccination schedule for long-term care facilities in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2636/21]

View answer

Danny Healy-Rae

Question:

588. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health when persons (details supplied) will receive the Covid-19 vaccine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2637/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 499, 587 and 588 together.

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

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

Questions (500)

Holly Cairns

Question:

500. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 919 of 29 September 2020, when he expects to bring legislative changes in respect of the nursing homes support scheme before Dáil Éireann that will cap contributions based on farm and business assets at three years in circumstances in which a family successor commits to working the productive asset. [2384/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, participants contribute to the cost of their care according to their means, while the State pays the balance of the cost. The Nursing Homes Support Scheme, in its current form, does not place caps on the financial assessment of family farms or family businesses when calculating the means to pay for nursing home care, except in the case of sudden illness or disability.

The Department of Health has proposed a policy change to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme to cap contributions based on farm and business assets at 3 years where a family successor commits to working the productive asset. This change has been approved by Government and undergone pre-legislative scrutiny in the last Dáil. The stated policy objective of the general scheme of the Bill is to introduce further safeguards in the Scheme to further protect the viability and sustainability of family owned and operated farms and businesses that will be passed down to the next generation of the family to continue to work them as productive assets to provide for their livelihood.

Progress on the development of the Bill was negatively impacted by the dissolution of the last Dáil and by the COVID-19 pandemic. The response to the pandemic has been and continues to be a national and public health priority. However, work on this legislation has continued to progress. I have exchanged letters with the Business Committee requesting a waiver to conduct pre-legislative scrutiny, given this was already undertaken in the previous Dáil. I have met with the Attorney General to discuss this legislation, and there has been an ongoing and active engagement between the Department of Health and the Office of the Attorney General on the development of the legislation, which will be brought to the Houses of Oireachtas at the earliest possible opportunity.