Covid-19 Tests

Questions (682, 683, 684)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

682. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the approval process in place to permit a private provider to administer Covid-19 tests; the oversight in place to monitor private providers of Covid-19 tests and ensure they comply with health standards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8008/21]

View answer

Róisín Shortall

Question:

683. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if a company (details supplied) has been approved to administer Covid-19 tests; the oversight in place to ensure the company complies with health standards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8009/21]

View answer

Róisín Shortall

Question:

684. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the steps he has taken to prevent profiteering from privately provided Covid-19 tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8010/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 682 to 684, inclusive, together.

In Ireland, the national testing strategy for COVID-19 involves testing people who meet the case definition (people with symptoms), their identified close contacts, and established serial testing programmes. It is directed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) and coordinated by the Health Service Executive (HSE). Samples are taken by healthcare professionals in healthcare settings, community test centres, workplaces or in the patient’s home. All testing for COVID-19 as part of the national strategy is currently conducted in the National Virus Reference Laboratory (NVRL), hospital diagnostic laboratories and other designated laboratories overseen by the NVRL.

These tests are provided free of charge and there is currently sufficient capacity in the system for testing through this pathway. Members of the public are advised to follow the HSE guidance in respect of testing which is available on the HSE website.

The national testing strategy has been implemented to ensure that:

- test results are reported to the relevant stakeholders (for monitoring and surveillance purposes as COVID-19 is a notifiable disease);

- contact tracing activities are initiated (where appropriate);

- an incorrect test result does not lead to false reassurance resulting in individuals failing to seek the necessary medical help. During this time, the individual may also unknowingly spread the virus;

Under the Infectious Disease Regulations (S.I. No. 53/2020 - Infectious Diseases (Amendment) Regulations 2020 which amended the Infectious Diseases Regulations 1981 (S.I. No. 390 of 1981), all medical practitioners, including clinical directors of diagnostic laboratories, are required to notify the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) / Director of Public Health of certain diseases, including COVID-19. The MOH also reports such cases onwards to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). This is to ensure that test results are reported to relevant stakeholders for monitoring and surveillance purposes and to investigate cases, thus preventing spread of infection and further cases. This requirement also applies to all private testing services who are, therefore, legally obliged to report positive Covid-19 case to the relevant authorities.

As Minister for Health, I do not have statutory responsibility relating to the provision of privately operated COVID-19 testing facilities. However, the HSE has published guidance for private testing laboratories undertaking SARS-CoV-2 testing to ensure that all tests are reported and dealt with in an appropriate manner, and in line with our infectious disease legislation.

Where the HSE becomes aware of any specific issues with private laboratory reporting, they engage directly with the private testing laboratories to resolve any issues. They communicate the HPSC guidance and monitor the market for new providers to ensure they are aware of their obligations. The HSE website also offers factual, up to date and accessible public facing information on private testing https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/testing/private-testing-for-covid-19.html .

The tests provided by the public system are provided free of charge and there is sufficient capacity in the system for testing through this pathway. Anybody who has symptoms is advised to seek assistance from their GP and is advised to follow the HSE guidance in respect of testing which is available on the HSE website.

Cross-Border Health Initiatives

Questions (685)

Matt Carthy

Question:

685. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Health the arrangements in place for patients to avail of healthcare in Northern Ireland under the same conditions as the EU Cross Border Healthcare Directive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8028/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Since 1 January 2021, the provisions of the EU Cross Border Directive (CBD) no longer apply to the UK. On the 28th December 2020 the Government approved the implementation of a new Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme. The new Scheme operational from 1 January 2021 for 12 months on an administrative basis will enable persons resident in the State to access and be reimbursed for private healthcare in Northern Ireland by the HSE, provided such healthcare is publicly available within Ireland.

Furthermore, the HSE has also put in place transitional arrangements for certain patients who have a legitimate expectation of continuing to access care in the UK under the current provisions of the EU Cross-Border Directive Scheme including provision for reimbursement of healthcare costs by the HSE to persons who fall into certain categories, such as patients who can evidence that they have treatment booked prior to December 2020 for treatment in 2021. Patients are advised to contact the HSE CBD office directly with queries on individual applications and whether they are covered by the transitional arrangements or the Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme.

Patients also continue to have access to health services under the EU CBD Scheme in all other remaining EU/EEA countries.

In the context of the Covid-19 Pandemic, persons seeking to utilise these schemes should review and adhere to the public health guidance and restrictions in place at any point in time.

Occupational Therapy

Questions (686)

Claire Kerrane

Question:

686. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Health the details of all services available in County Roscommon for occupational and speech and language therapy. [8034/21]

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.

Health Services Funding

Questions (687)

Claire Kerrane

Question:

687. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Health the funding for a service (details supplied); the level of funding to be provided in 2021 and each year thereafter for the next five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8038/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (688)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

688. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health if information (details supplied) in relation to vaccination centres will be provided. [8045/21]

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.

Public Sector Pensions

Question No. 690 answered with Question No. 650.

Questions (689)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

689. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the reason for the increased deductions from the pension of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8046/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Question No. 690 answered with Question No. 650.

Medical Cards

Questions (691, 833, 864)

Francis Noel Duffy

Question:

691. Deputy Francis Noel Duffy asked the Minister for Health if the terminal prognosis threshold will be increased for terminal illness medical cards to 24 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8050/21]

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Ruairí Ó Murchú

Question:

833. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for Health when the extension of the access to medical cards for persons with terminal illness will become operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8513/21]

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David Cullinane

Question:

864. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health his plans regarding the expansion of terminal illness medical cards; when this will be operationalised; the way in which it can be applied for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8591/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 691, 833 and 864 together.

The Programme for Government ‘Our Shared Future’ contains a commitment to extend discretionary medical cards to those with a terminal illness. The recent Report of the Clinical Advisory Group, which was re-established by the HSE to carry out a review of eligibility for medical cards in cases of terminal illness, recommended inter alia, that legislative change would be necessary to underpin an extension to the current prognosis timeframe required for 'End of Life' medical cards. My Department is therefore currently undertaking an examination of potential options for a legislative framework.

However, pending the development of legislative options, I am pleased to confirm that the Government recently agreed to introduce an administrative arrangement for up to 12 months on an interim basis, that will enable persons who have been certified by their treating Consultant as having a prognosis of 24 months or less, to be awarded a medical card. These applications will not require a means assessment nor will they be reassessed. My Department is actively engaging with the HSE's National Medical Card Unit to ensure all necessary processes and communications to operationalise the scheme are in place within a matter of weeks.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (692)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

692. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health when persons under 70 years of age living with cancer will receive the Covid-19 vaccine. [8060/21]

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 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 (Group 3) 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.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (693, 921)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

693. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Health the way in which visitors coming into Ireland are expected to travel from the airport to their place of quarantine; and if he plans to arrange safe transport for this purpose as has been done in the UK and other countries. [8071/21]

View answer

Martin Browne

Question:

921. Deputy Martin Browne asked the Minister for Health if persons travelling to Ireland from Brazil will be required to pay for their hotel quarantine. [8777/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 693 and 921 together.

The operationalisation of designated quarantine facilities is being advanced on a cross-departmental basis, including the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Transport, Justice, Public Expenditure and Reform, as well as Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, as a matter of priority.

This group is working urgently to establish the scope of services required to put these facilities in place, including necessary procurement and legislative basis – including operational issues such as costs or transport.

A draft bill is at an advanced stage and will be published and submitted to Second Stage in the Dáil once approved by Cabinet. The Bill will allow for the quarantine in a central location of travellers who have been in a specified state within the past 14 days, regardless of citizenship or residence.

Under the current system of mandatory home quarantine, arrivals from Category 2 countries, including Brazil, South Africa, UAE, and other designated countries, must complete the full 14 days of quarantine - regardless of whether they can show a negative test result during the quarantine period.

Misuse of Drugs

Questions (694)

Gino Kenny

Question:

694. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the recent EU ruling in a case (details supplied) in which the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that cannabidiol, CBD, is not a narcotic under EU law within the meaning of the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drug as it does not have any psychotropic or harmful effects on human health on the basis of available scientific data; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that the court also ruled that EU states cannot ban the marketing of CBD legally produced in another member state; the measures in progress to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 to reflect this ruling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8080/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Cannabis, cannabis resin, cannabinol and cannabinol derivatives are controlled under Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2017 – 2020.

There is no reference to extracts of the cannabis plant being controlled in these Regulations. Products containing CBD, that are extracted from the whole Cannabis sativa plant, are not considered controlled in their own right, but may contain controlled substances, such as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The final CBD product placed on the market must not contain any level of THC as there is no permitted level of THC. The product must also comply with the relevant legislation (e.g. food legislation, cosmetics legislation).

Misuse of Drugs

Questions (695)

Gino Kenny

Question:

695. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health the measures in progress to raise the tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, levels permitted in cannabidiol, CBD, products to 0.3% as is currently legally permitted in the rest of the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8081/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The two most common active components found in cannabis oil are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

THC is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis. Under the Misuse of Drugs legislation products containing THC are strictly controlled and possession is unlawful except under licence.

CBD is derived from cannabis. However, since CBD alone it is not psychoactive it is not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation.

Under the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977-2016 and the Regulations and Orders made thereunder- it is an offence to cultivate, import, export, produce, supply and possess cannabis except in accordance with a licence.

The Misuse of Drugs (Designation) Order 2017 (Statutory Instrument 174/2017) states that the manufacture, production, preparation, sale, supply, distribution and possession of the drugs specified in Schedule 1 is unlawful except for the purposes specified in Schedule 2, namely research, forensic analysis or use as an essential intermediate or starting material in an industrial manufacturing process. This includes cannabis.

Food Industry

Questions (696)

Gino Kenny

Question:

696. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health the measures in progress to ensure that a full range of cannabidiol, CBD, products will be available to Irish consumers, including oils, pastes, flowers, teas and other products; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8082/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

CBD-containing products or preparations that do not contain controlled substances that would bring it within the Misuse of Drugs framework are not controlled and can be sold or supplied as a food. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is responsible for coordinating the enforcement of food safety regulation in Ireland.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) is the competent authority for authorising medicinal products in Ireland. Its role is to ensure that only products that are safe, effective and of an appropriate quality based on clinical and scientific data can be authorised and supplied as medicines in Ireland.

The FSAI and the HPRA are aware that CBD products for oral consumption are available in Ireland and these are largely marketed as ‘food supplements’; ‘CBD oils’ and/or ‘Hemp oils’. As is the case for all food, they are not approved for medicinal use. This means the quality, safety and efficacy of such products have not been assessed under the long established EU requirements for the authorisation of medicines.

CBD products making unsubstantiated medical or food claims should not be placed on the market without authorisation, and they are not permitted for sale or supply.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (697)

John Lahart

Question:

697. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Health the reason so many women are forced to take court proceeding to elicit satisfaction from the State in respect of the CervicalCheck vaccine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8084/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Arising from the court cases relating to CervicalCheck, the Government of the time agreed that Mr. Justice Charles Meenan would be requested to review how claims arising out of CervicalCheck could be resolved outside the court process.

In his Report on an Alternative System for Dealing With Claims Arising From CervicalCheck submitted in October 2018, Judge Meenan proposed that claims arising out of CervicalCheck could be resolved outside the court process and that a Tribunal be established under statute for the purpose of hearing and determining these claims.

In December 2018 the Government agreed to establish the CervicalCheck Tribunal. The legislation necessary to establish the Tribunal, the CervicalCheck Tribunal Act 2019 passed through the Oireachtas and was signed into law by the President on 23 July 2019.

It was originally intended that the CervicalCheck Tribunal would be established by the end of March 2020. However, establishment was delayed due to the outbreak of COVID-19. A further delay arose in June 2020 when previously nominated members were no longer in a position to take up roles in the Tribunal.

I commenced the relevant sections of the CervicalCheck Tribunal Act 2019 on 21 October 2020 and signed the order to appoint 27 October 2020 as the establishment day of the Tribunal.

Following a pause in the steps towards full establishment of the Tribunal, to allow for discussions with the 221+ Patient Representative Group about the Tribunal and CervicalCheck Cases generally, the establishment of the Tribunal was finalised with the appointment of the nominated members with effect from 1 December 2020, facilitating the Tribunal in starting its work and providing women who are eligible to make a claim to the Tribunal with an alternative to the Courts for their claims.

The Tribunal remains the most appropriate venue to hear and determine CervicalCheck claims. It has been specifically designed for that purpose. It is, of course, entirely up to eligible women as to whether or not they use it.

In respect of screening it is important to note that all of the recent major reviews and reports state that our national cancer screening programmes, including CervicalCheck, meet international standards, are valuable in improving the health of our population, and that the public can have confidence in them. However, it is also important to highlight the limitations associated with screening programmes, Interval cancers occur in all screening programmes. The National Screening Services strive to prevent or diagnose as many cancers as possible but acknowledge that all international programmes report a number of interval cancers each year.

In his report Mr. Justice Meenan explained the limitations of the screening process and the implications that these limitations have for the issue of liability with regard to CervicalCheck claims. Accordingly, the format for the CervicalCheck Tribunal which Mr. Justice Meenan recommended recognises the issues of liability involved in CervicalCheck cases and allows them to be addressed by the Tribunal.

In relation to Cervical Check, the programme made the technical transition to HPV cervical screening in March of last year. This improved testing methodology, along with the continued roll-out of HPV vaccinations, means that Ireland can look forward to a significant reduction in the incidence of cervical cancer cases over the next 10-20 years. It is worth noting that since CervicalCheck started in 2008, the number of women who developed cervical cancer has fallen by 7% year on year between 2010-2015. In the absence of screening, cervical cancer may not have been detected in these people until they developed physical signs or symptoms of more advanced disease.

Screening is a population health measure for people who are presumed healthy and do not have symptoms. An important message for the public, including anyone who may be between screening tests or waiting for a rescheduled appointment, is to be aware of, and act upon, any symptoms associated with the conditions they are screened for. Anyone with concerns about symptoms should contact their GP who will arrange appropriate follow-up care.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (698)

Duncan Smith

Question:

698. Deputy Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Health if travel to a new residence is deemed essential in cases in which the rental lease of a person has expired and they must move while current level 5 restrictions are in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8086/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As you will be aware, Ireland is currently at level 5 of Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19.

At level 5, people are asked to stay at home as much as possible unless they have a "reasonable excuse" for leaving.

The Regulations providing for these measures are set out in S.I. No. 701 of 2020 and S.I. 29 of 2021. Regulation 4. of SI 701 sets out a non-exhaustive list of reasonable excuses for leaving one’s home. This non-exhaustive list includes at 4. (2) (p) move to another residence where, in all the circumstances of the case, such movement is reasonably necessary.

Statutory Instruments relating to the Covid-19 pandemic are available here:- https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/1f150-view-statutory-instruments-related-to-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (699)

Seán Canney

Question:

699. Deputy Seán Canney asked the Minister for Health the protocols in place for sports commentators and journalists going to international matches; the quarantine arrangements being put in place for them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8087/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

S.I. 44 No. of 2021 imposes self-quarantine requirements on passengers arriving from overseas and sets out defined exemptions from this requirement. Persons whose travel to the State is necessary for a sporting event to take place are required to self-quarantine except while engaging in activity associated with the event.

S.I. No. 44 of 20201 provides:

' "necessary person” means, in relation to a sporting event, any of the following persons whose presence at the sporting event is necessary for it to take place:

a . an athlete who is competing or playing in the sporting event, or who is eligible to so play or compete;

b . a coach or a trainer connected to an athlete;

c . medical personnel, including such personnel carrying out public health supervisory functions;

d . a person who attends the event in order to ensure that it is conducted in accordance with the rules of the sport concerned;

e . a person whose attendance at the event is necessary for it to be reported, recorded or broadcast;

Similarly, the S.I. provides that a journalist may leave their place of quarantine to carry out their professional functions.

These exemptions are provided only for travel from Category 1 countries. Travellers from higher risk countries, Category 2 states as specified, cannot avail of these exemptions.

General Practitioner Services

Questions (700)

Pádraig O'Sullivan

Question:

700. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health the details of the process undertaken by the HSE to tender for general practitioner services for the Bandon primary health centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8097/21]

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.

Mental Health Services

Questions (701)

Alan Dillon

Question:

701. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Health the status of the implementation of the recommendations of the national youth mental health task force, in particular the youth mental health pathfinder project; if a pathfinder team is now in place; if so, the progress to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8098/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The proposal to establish a cross-governmental youth mental health Pathfinder unit with participation from the Department of Health, the Department of Education and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth received Ministerial approval during the previous Government. Its establishment is a priority in the current Programme for Government.

The proposal is to formalise a new model for collaborative working within Government and place a Pathfinder unit on a statutory footing by utilising section 12 of the Public Service Management Act 1997. This section of the 1997 Act has never been used before. Various administrative, budgetary, governance and legal arrangements need to be developed and agreed to ensure a robust and workable model for the Pathfinder unit.

The Department of Health has engaged extensively with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and continues to do so, with the objective of agreeing an implementation option that fully addresses the above issues. The demands on both departments as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic have presented challenges to progressing the proposals.

Amongst other things, it is intended that the unit will help to advance some of the recommendations of the National Youth Mental Health Taskforce. PQ 7945/21 which the Deputy has also put down asks for an update on progress on all the recommendations of the Taskforce. As many of these are operational matters, I have referred that question to the HSE for direct reply.

Mental Health Services

Questions (702)

Alan Dillon

Question:

702. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Health if progress has been achieved in appointing a national lead for youth mental health; if there has been progress with appointing leads for youth mental health in each community health organisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8099/21]

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.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (703)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

703. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health if consideration will be given to extending the exemptions under level 5 restrictions for construction work to allow for construction of crèches already underway to continue similar to the exemptions currently available for primary and secondary school projects. [8101/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As you will be aware, Ireland is at level 5 of the Government's Strategy https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/resilience-recovery-2020-2021-plan-for-living-with-covid-19/. This 5-level framework sets out what is permitted for social or family gatherings, work and public transport, bars, hotels and restaurants, exercise activities and religious services, at that moment in time.

The various limits at all levels in the Government's Plan and the continuing imposition of public health measures is necessary to reduce transmission of COVID-19 through a reduction in the movement of people, congregation and interactions. The measures in place for each level reflect the prevailing disease situation and recognise that we can and must prioritise some activities over others.

Information in relation to the public health measures for construction at level 5 is available at:-https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/2dc71-level-5/#construction

I would also draw your attention to the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A - Temporary Restrictions) (COVID-19) (NO. 10) Regulations 2020 Regulation (S.I. 701 of 2020), as amended by S.I. No. 4 of 2021, which sets out what are essential construction and developments.

Statutory Instruments related to the Covid-19 pandemic are available here:-https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/1f150-view-statutory-instruments-related-to-the-covid-19-pandemic/

You may wish to note that my Department does not have responsibility for the construction sector. The shutdown of the construction sector (including the construction and developments permitted to continue), was confirmed by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage by press release on the 6 January, 2021. Further information on these projects is available here:-https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/53a69-minister-obrien-confirms-shutdown-in-construction-activity/

Diabetes Strategy

Questions (704)

Carol Nolan

Question:

704. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health if arrangements and funding have been put in place for an adult insulin pump clinic to be provided at the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8106/21]

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 Equipment

Questions (705)

Carol Nolan

Question:

705. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health the number of ventilators the HSE has in each hospital by CHO area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8107/21]

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.

General Practitioner Services

Questions (706)

Carol Nolan

Question:

706. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health the number of full-time equivalent general practitioners operating in County Offaly in 2019, 2020 and to date in 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8108/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

GPs are private practitioners, most of whom hold a contract with the HSE for the provision of medical services. The number of doctors who provide general practitioner services to patients exclusively on a private basis is not collected by my Department or the HSE. As of the start of this month, 3,024 GPs hold a contract with the HSE for the provision of medical services. I have asked the HSE to reply directly to the Deputy regarding the number of HSE contracted GPs operating in County Offaly for the dates concerned.