Disability Definitions

Questions (942, 943)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

942. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Health if he will consider the removal the frailty scores which are used for triage protocol for disabled persons. [7355/21]

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Kathleen Funchion

Question:

943. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Health if he will consider the removal of the frailty score which still exists in triage protocol for disabled persons given that this has been removed in other European jurisdictions. [7356/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 942 and 943 together.

Agreements on frailty scores in the triaging of people with a disability for admission to emergency departments is a clinical matter.

As such, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

Question No. 945 answered with Question No. 809.

Questions (944)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

944. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Health if he will address a matter regarding the case of a person (details supplied). [7363/21]

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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.

Question No. 945 answered with Question No. 809.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (946)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

946. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the number of follow-up calls made to incoming passengers on a weekly basis since 25 January 2021; and the number of calls which were successfully answered on a weekly basis in tabular form.; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7381/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

All passengers arriving to the State are required to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator form, there are limited exemptions from this requirement for international transport workers, diplomats and children under 16. The form is used to support a system of engagements with arriving passengers including the targeting of public health messaging by SMS and email and may be used for contact tracing.

Passengers who completed a passenger locator form and do not claim an exemption are followed up and contacted by text to confirm their address. Where a person has not responded to the address verification text, they will be called to verify their place of address. If they are not available at the first call, further attempts will be made to contact each passenger who is in scope for follow up calls. Between 25th and 31st of January inclusive, 82% of passengers requested to do so confirmed their place of residence. For the month of January, 85% of passengers requested to do so confirmed their place of residence. February figures are not available at this time.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (947)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

947. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the level of compliance in filling out the passenger locator forms on a weekly basis from 1 February 2021; the number of forms which were correctly and incorrectly completed on a weekly basis, respectively; and the number of persons who refused to fill out the form on a weekly basis in tabular form. [7382/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

All passengers arriving to the State are required to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator form, there are limited exemptions from this requirement for international transport workers, diplomats and children under 16. The Passenger Locator Form is used to support a system of engagements with arriving passengers including the targeting of public health messaging by SMS and email and may be used for contact tracing. February figures are not available at this time.

Covid-19 Tests

Questions (948)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

948. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if any vaccinators have tested positive for Covid-19; if vaccinators are regularly tested for Covid-19; the protocol in the case that a vaccinator tests positive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7383/21]

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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 (949)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

949. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the date vaccination will commence for staff working in long-term residential disability facilities; the allocation of vaccine doses for these staff; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7384/21]

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 Pandemic

Questions (950)

Joe O'Brien

Question:

950. Deputy Joe O'Brien asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that front-line staff in an organisation (details supplied) providing residential care services for adults with disabilities have yet to receive notification of when they will be vaccinated against Covid-19; when these front-line workers are likely to be vaccinated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7385/21]

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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.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (951)

Bríd Smith

Question:

951. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Health the length of the wait time for a woman to avail of a mammogram; if the wait time is improving or worsening; his plans to reduce these waiting times; the reason it is possible to get a mammogram in the private sector with a general practitioner referral letter in a much quicker timeframe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7388/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Symptomatic Breast Disease Clinics for patients with suspected breast disease have been established by the HSE's National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) in the eight designated cancer centres (with a satellite symptomatic breast disease clinic from UHG operating in Letterkenny University Hospital).

The performance of each centre in meeting access targets for both urgent and non-urgent patients is monitored by the NCCP and is reviewed on a monthly basis. The target timeframes are for 95% of patients triaged as urgent by their GP to be seen within 10 working days; and 95% of patients triaged as non-urgent by their GP to be seen within 12 weeks. The NCCP liaises on an on-going basis with hospitals to identify measures that can be taken to improve performance, where necessary. Performance for January - November 2020 (most recent data available) is as follows:

Jan-Nov 2019

Jan-Nov 2019

Jan-Nov 2020

Jan-Nov 2020

Clinic

Number of Attendances

% Attendances within KPI

Number of Attendances

% Attendances within KPI

Urgent Symptomatic Breast Disease Clinics

19,559

70.20%

18,011

71%

Non-Urgent Symptomatic Breast Disease Clinics

20,558

70.30%

15,274

58%

The National Action Plan on Covid-19 identified the continued provision of cancer care as a priority. All Symptomatic Breast Disease clinics remained open and accepting referrals during the Covid-19 pandemic with clinical priority given to referrals triaged as urgent, in line with guidance issued by the NCCP. Funding of €12m has been allocated for the restoration of cancer services in the context of Covid-19. This funding is being utilised to support the restoration of cancer services to 95% of 2019 capacity.

Patient Transport

Questions (952)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

952. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health if transport will be provided for a person (details supplied) travelling from County Donegal to Cappagh Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7405/21]

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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.

Patient Transport

Questions (953)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

953. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health when the transport support scheme will be put in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7406/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

By way of background, two schemes, the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant, were put in place in 1979 and 1968 respectively, for operation by the Health Service Executive (HSE) at a time when there was limited availability of accessible public transport. The Government decided to close these administrative schemes in 2013, on foot of the reports of the Ombudsman in 2011 and 2012 regarding the legal status of both Schemes in the context of the Equal Status Acts.

In 2013, the Government also decided to continue payment of the monthly Mobility Allowance on an interim basis, to those who were in receipt of the Mobility Allowance at the time that the Scheme closed. Of the 4,700 individuals in receipt of the Mobility Allowance (€9 million per annum) when the Scheme closed in 2013, there were 3,648 people in receipt of the interim payments at September, 2020.

At the whole of Government level, the National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021 sets the overall framework for the equal participation of people with disabilities in society. Monitoring of the implementation of the Strategy is being overseen by the National Disability Inclusion Strategy Steering Group which comprises key Government Departments, the National Disability Authority and the Disability Stakeholders Group.

Under the Strategy , the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has responsibility for the continued development of accessibility and availability of accessible public transport and is committed to the continued development of accessible public transport in recognition of the importance of such services to the lives of people with disabilities.

Work is ongoing on the policy proposals for the provision of transport supports for people with disabilities. I intend to revert to Government with proposals in due course. Recent developments which will impact on the policy options include the following:

- The ongoing progress by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in providing accessible public transport nationally and that Department's public consultation, to review active travel and public transport policy, including accessible public transport;

- The Cost of Disability Study currently underway which was commissioned by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection as part of Budget 2019. The research, when complete, will inform policy direction in relation to the provision of adequate supports to meet the needs of people with disabilities, including transport costs;

- The Working Group established under Action 104 of the National Disability Inclusion Strategy by the Department of Justice and Equality which states that:- 'We will lead a review of transport supports encompassing all Government funded transport and mobility schemes for people with disabilities, to enhance the options for transport to work or employment supports for people with disabilities and will develop proposals for development of a coordinated plan for such provision. This plan will have regard to making the most efficient use of available transport resources.” ; and

- The review of the Disabled Drivers and Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme by the Department of Finance.

Other transport supports available to persons with disabilities in the State include the Free Travel Scheme operated by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection; the Revenue Commissioners Disabled Drivers and Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme; and CLÁR funding, approved by the then Minister for Rural and Community Development, to voluntary organisations providing transport for people with significant mobility issues.

Primary Medical Certificates

Questions (954)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

954. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the number of applications for the primary medical certificate that are waiting for a medical assessment since July 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7407/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme comes under the remit of the Department of Finance and the Revenue Commissioners. The extent of the involvement of Health Service Executive (HSE) personnel in the Scheme relates to making a professional clinical determination as to whether an individual applicant meets the specified medical criteria for a Primary Medical Certificate, which is a requirement for the Scheme. This determination is undertaken by Senior Medical Officers for the relevant HSE Community Health Organisation on behalf of the Department of Finance and the Revenue Commissioners.

The Deputy may be aware that following a Supreme Court decision of June 2020, the assessment process for Primary Medical Certificates was suspended at the request of the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe T.D.. Following the approval of the Finance Act 2020 which provides for the medical criteria in primary legislation, the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, T.D., issued an instruction to the Chief Executive Officer of the HSE to the effect that Primary Medical Certificate assessments can recommence with effect from 1st January, 2021.

Separately, the ability to hold assessments may be impacted by, among other things, the public health restrictions in place and the role of the HSE Medical Officers in the roll out of the COVID vaccination programme. I have been informed that the HSE is considering the matter of Primary Medical Certificate assessments in the context of their revision of the HSE recovery and restoration plans, taking into account the pressures and challenges to the health services presented by COVID.

As the issue raised by the Deputy is a service matter, I have arranged to have the question referred to the HSE for consideration and direct reply to the Deputy.

Primary Medical Certificates

Questions (955)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

955. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the number of applications received for the primary medical certificate; the number of successful and unsuccessful applications by county since July 2020, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7408/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme comes under the remit of the Department of Finance and the Revenue Commissioners. The extent of the involvement of Health Service Executive (HSE) personnel in the Scheme relates to making a professional clinical determination as to whether an individual applicant meets the specified medical criteria for a Primary Medical Certificate, which is a requirement for the Scheme. This determination is undertaken by Senior Medical Officers for the relevant HSE Community Health Organisation on behalf of the Department of Finance and the Revenue Commissioners.

The Deputy may be aware that following a Supreme Court decision of June 2020, the assessment process for Primary Medical Certificates was suspended at the request of the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe T.D.. Following the approval of the Finance Act 2020 which provides for the medical criteria in primary legislation, the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, T.D., issued an instruction to the Chief Executive Officer of the HSE to the effect that Primary Medical Certificate assessments can recommence with effect from 1st January, 2021.

Separately, the ability to hold assessments may be impacted by, among other things, the public health restrictions in place and the role of the HSE Medical Officers in the roll out of the COVID vaccination programme. I have been informed that the HSE is considering the matter of Primary Medical Certificate assessments in the context of their revision of the HSE recovery and restoration plans, taking into account the pressures and challenges to the health services presented by COVID.

As the issue raised by the Deputy is a service matter, I have arranged to have the question referred to the HSE for consideration and direct reply to the Deputy.

Primary Medical Certificates

Questions (956)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

956. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Donegal can expect a medical assessment to be carried out to further process an application for a primary medical certificate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7409/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme comes under the remit of the Department of Finance and the Revenue Commissioners. The extent of the involvement of Health Service Executive (HSE) personnel in the Scheme relates to making a professional clinical determination as to whether an individual applicant meets the specified medical criteria for a Primary Medical Certificate, which is a requirement for the Scheme. This determination is undertaken by Senior Medical Officers for the relevant HSE Community Health Organisation on behalf of the Department of Finance and the Revenue Commissioners.

The Deputy may be aware that following a Supreme Court decision of June 2020, the assessment process for Primary Medical Certificates was suspended at the request of the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe T.D.. Following the approval of the Finance Act 2020 which provides for the medical criteria in primary legislation, the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, T.D., issued an instruction to the Chief Executive Officer of the HSE to the effect that Primary Medical Certificate assessments can recommence with effect from 1st January, 2021.

Separately, the ability to hold assessments may be impacted by, among other things, the public health restrictions in place and the role of the HSE Medical Officers in the roll out of the COVID vaccination programme. I have been informed that the HSE is considering the matter of Primary Medical Certificate assessments in the context of their revision of the HSE recovery and restoration plans, taking into account the pressures and challenges to the health services presented by COVID.

As the issue raised by the Deputy is a service matter, I have arranged to have the question referred to the HSE for consideration and direct reply to the Deputy.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (957)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

957. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) in County Donegal can receive the Covid-19 vaccine earlier than circumstances allow for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7410/21]

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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 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.

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.