Hospital Data

Question No. 826 answered with Question No. 768.

Question No. 827 answered with Question No. 724.

Question No. 828 answered with Question No. 692.

Questions (825)

David Cullinane

Question:

825. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health the number of hospital staff by occupation that tested positive for Covid-19 by hospital and hospital group in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6851/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy.

Question No. 826 answered with Question No. 768.
Question No. 827 answered with Question No. 724.
Question No. 828 answered with Question No. 692.

Health Services

Questions (829)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

829. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the status of the development of a unique patient identifier; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6863/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Individual Health Identifier (IHI) was developed specifically for the health service and has its legal basis under the Health Identifiers Act 2014. The IHI is a key enabler for integrated care and eHealth as it facilitates joining of disparate health records about the same patient from different healthcare settings.

All electronic referrals from GP practice systems to hospitals now have the IHI inserted as they are transmitted to the hospital, provided the referral contains the necessary demographic details. GP practice systems have been updated to store and display the IHI. The GP contract also provides agreed timelines for the adoption and use of IHIs by GPs.

In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the planned implementation of the IHI to many national systems was paused and instead, priority for IHI implementation was switched to the use in the Covid Track & Trace and Covid Vaccination Systems. Vaccination records require a unique identifier to be assigned for each person and the IHI is ideally suited for this.

The IHI has been deployed for the Covid-19 Case Tracker and it has been included on all Covid-19 referrals for tests or assessments. The IHI is embedded in transactions from the point of referral for a Covid-19 test to the communication of test results to clinicians and to the individual. This includes IHI use with the allocation of Covid-19 tests, the receipt of Covid-19 test swabs into the laboratories for analysis and the return of that result to public health and for contact tracing if required.

Importantly, the IHI will also be employed as part of the current development of the national system for Covid-19 vaccinations. The HSE IT system for the national Covid-19 vaccination programme has been developed at an exceptional pace and the IHI will be used as a unique identifier assigned to an individual’s vaccination record.

Health Services

Questions (830)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

830. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the status of the development of the electronic health record; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6864/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The procurement process of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) for the National Children’s Hospital is currently in progress. Following a review of scope and governance of the EHR proposed for CHI, a peer review team, assigned by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, recommended proceeding to the procurement phase of the project.

The open tender was published in December 2019. As this is a complex system, a competitive dialogue process is being employed. Phase 1 is now complete and a shortlist of suitably qualified and experienced candidates has been selected. Phase 2 commenced in November 2020 and will complete later this year. The timeframe for completion of the procurement process is aligned with the timeline of the overall CHI programme.

Home Care Packages

Questions (831)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

831. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health when a full or an increase in the homecare package will be facilitated in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6876/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Vaccination Programme

Questions (832)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

832. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health the position of special needs assistants on the vaccination schedule. [6878/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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 roll out 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 front line services often caring for the most vulnerable.

The next group to be vaccinated are those aged 70 and older in the following order: 85 and older, 80-84, 75-79, and 70-74. Vaccination of this group will begin this month.

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.

Health Services

Questions (833)

Holly Cairns

Question:

833. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health the status of pay restoration for workers in the remaining 250 section 39 organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6880/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

An agreement was reached by parties at the Workplace Relations Commission in October 2018, in relation to a process of pay restoration for staff employed by 50 pilot agencies. Pay restoration commenced in April 2019 with an annual pay increase of up to €1,000. Any outstanding balance would be paid in two equal amounts in 2020 and 2021, if due.

The agreement reached at the WRC noted that some of the organisations (approximately 250) which did not form part of the pilot phase are also likely to have pay restoration issues. It stated that a process of engagement to address this would commence in 2019. It is the organisations who were identified in that initial agreement reached at the WRC in 2018 that are included in this final phase of pay restoration.

Since late 2019, there was a number of meetings between the parties at the WRC, in relation to this final phase. The HSE have been costing this next phase of pay restoration and have asked those eligible 250 organisations, who were included as part of the WRC agreement, to submit an application which will be subject to assessment and verification by the HSE.

I can confirm that following engagement at the Workplace Relations Commission in early December, the parties reached an agreement in relation to the 250 organisations. A payment arrangement consisting of three phases was agreed with the first two payments to be made in 2021.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (834)

Holly Cairns

Question:

834. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health the status of the plan to vaccinate staff working in disability long-term care facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6881/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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 roll out 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 front line services often caring for the most vulnerable.

The next group to be vaccinated are those aged 70 and older in the following order: 85 and older, 80-84, 75-79, and 70-74. Vaccination of this group will begin this month.

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.

Front line healthcare workers (HCWs) in direct patient contact roles will be vaccinated in Group 2. This includes HCWs working in public, private, and voluntary settings. Other HCWs, not in direct patient contact, will be vaccinated in Group 4.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (835)

Holly Cairns

Question:

835. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health the status of plans for mass vaccination centres in south-west County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6882/21]

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.

Disability Services Data

Questions (836)

Holly Cairns

Question:

836. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health the reason for the long delay in publishing the capacity review of disability services; the target date for publication to which he is working; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6911/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

In line with Sláintecare vision it is essential, that over the next number of years, the State moves to a population-based planning approach, based on demographic and geographic considerations, that reflects both the health and social care needs of those within our population, including those who require specialist disability services. This approach provides an opportunity to prioritise and design the health and social care services that need to be developed for each region, so the population can get the right care, in the right place, at the right time in line with HIQA standards and available resources.

The Disability Social Care Demand and Capacity Requirements up to 2032 is a Sláintecare Action Plan deliverable. The Report is currently being finalised.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (837)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

837. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health if he will provide clarity on the definition and classification of essential travel; and the details of the steps that a person who has health or mental health issues that needs to travel from the UK to Ireland needs to do in order that they are complying to guidelines. [6917/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I signed new regulations titled S.I. No. 29 of 2021 Health Act 1947 (Section 31A - Temporary Restrictions) (COVID-19) (No 10) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 on Friday 29 January, which detail reasonable excuses for travel to an airport or port for purpose of leaving the State:

- To work, comply with a contract of employment or contract for services, or otherwise engage in work or employment

- To provide services to, or perform the functions of, an office holder appointed under any enactment or under the Constitution, or a member of either House of the Oireachtas, the European Parliament or a local authority

- To provide services essential to the functioning of diplomatic missions and consular posts in the State

- To attend, for educational reasons a primary or secondary school, or a university, higher education institution or other education and training facility, to the extent that it is necessary for such educational reasons to attend in person

- To accompany any other person residing with the person, or a vulnerable person, to one of the education facilities mentioned above

- To attend a medical or dental appointment, or accompany, to such an appointment, any other person residing with the person, or a vulnerable person

- To seek essential medical, health or dental assistance for the person, for any other person residing with the person, or for a vulnerable person

- To attend to vital family matters (including providing care to vulnerable persons)

- To attend a funeral

- To fulfil a legal obligation (including attending court, satisfying bail conditions, or participating in ongoing legal proceedings), attend a court office where required, initiate emergency legal proceedings or execute essential legal documents

- if the person is a parent or guardian of a child, or a person having a right of access to a child, to give effect to arrangements for access to the child by the person, or another person who is -

(I) a parent or guardian of the child, or

(II) a person having a right of access to the child,

where the person is not ordinarily resident in the State, to leave the State.

Additionally, all arrivals into Ireland from overseas (with limited exemptions) are required to present a COVID-19 passenger locator form, evidence of a negative pre-departure RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel upon arrival, and are required to quarantine for 14 days at the address given on their Passenger Locator Form.

Patients who can show that they are travelling to Ireland for an urgent medical reason are exempt from the requirements to present a negative PCR test and complete the quarantine period. They are advised to observe quarantine at times when not attending a health care facility for treatment.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (838)

Niall Collins

Question:

838. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding the vaccination schedule; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6919/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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 roll out 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 front line services often caring for the most vulnerable.

The next group to be vaccinated are those aged 70 and older in the following order: 85 and older, 80-84, 75-79, and 70-74. Vaccination of this group will begin this month.

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.

Family carers are a diverse group, therefore, each individual will be vaccinated in the group that is appropriate to them.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (839)

Carol Nolan

Question:

839. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health if he will address concerns expressed by general practitioners that they are not being adequately informed with respect to their participation in the vaccine roll-out plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6922/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The roll-out of the vaccination plan is complex and subject to a number of factors such as vaccination authorisation processes, clinical advice based on emergent data, and vaccine supply chain volatility. As set out in the published government vaccination strategy, vaccination planning has to be agile, flexible and to be capable of evolving over time. My Department is working in close cooperation with the HSE to develop and implement a comprehensive vaccination plan in which GPs will play a key role.

The role of GPs was subject of intense discussions last week with the IMO, and a communication from the IMO, agreed with the HSE, issued to its members on Friday evening, 5 February. In addition, an IMO-arranged webinar was held on 9 February to provide further information to GPs. Further information will be made available when it is possible to do so.

National Cancer Strategy

Questions (840)

Carol Nolan

Question:

840. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health the status of the implementation of the national cancer strategy specifically the strategies recommendation to develop a systematic, evidence-based mechanism to ascertain the potential benefits and the cost effectiveness of various initiatives including chemoprevention which will inform future cancer prevention programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6923/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Cancer prevention is a cornerstone of the National Cancer Strategy as it offers the most cost-effective, long-term approach to cancer control. The HSE's National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) works closely with Healthy Ireland on cancer prevention initiatives and is prioritising the implementation of evidence-based interventions to reduce cancer lifestyle risks and to increase public protection from known carcinogens. The National Skin Cancer Prevention Plan is among the initiatives involved, and a series of rolling cancer awareness campaigns is planned.

A National Cancer Prevention Network has been established, comprising the NCCP, Irish Cancer Society, Marie Keating Foundation, Breakthrough Cancer Research and the Irish Skin Foundation. The network facilitates collaboration on cancer prevention initiatives, agreement of consistent evidence based cancer prevention public awareness messages and support of national programmes.

A sum of €20m has been allocated for the continued implementation of the National Cancer Strategy this year. This funding will facilitate developments across prevention, diagnosis, treatment and patient supports.

Dental Services

Questions (841)

Carol Nolan

Question:

841. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health if any applications have been made to the HSE to provide dental services in Birr, County Offaly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6924/21]

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.

Health Services

Questions (842)

Carol Nolan

Question:

842. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health the status of the work of his Department with respect to the three year review of the Health (Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6928/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy will be aware, section 7 of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 states that“The Minister shall, not later than 3 years after the commencement of this section, carry out a review of the operation of this Act.”

The review clause was included in the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 in order to facilitate monitoring of the operation of the legislation in practice, as well as of the delivery of services in the area.

As set out in the Programme for Government Our Shared Future, the Department of Health intends to conduct the review in 2021.

Dental Services

Questions (843)

Cormac Devlin

Question:

843. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Health the overall funding package allocated in budget 2021 to the oral hygiene and dental sector for GMS patients and increased tax reliefs for private patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6946/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The dental benefit operated by the department is demand led, with the Department providing for an annual oral examination and cleaning for all qualified PRSI contributors and their dependent spouses who opt to avail of such services.

An allocation of €57.16m has been assigned for the dental benefit scheme in 2021.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.