Hospital Data

Questions (273)

David Cullinane

Question:

273. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health the number of referrals by source of referral made for an outpatient consultation for each month of 2018, 2019, 2020 and in January 2021, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9153/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic the HSE had to take measures to defer most scheduled care activity in March, April, and May of 2020. This was to ensure patient safety and that all appropriate resources were made available for Covid-19 related activity and time-critical essential work. This decision was in line with the advice issued by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) in accordance with the advice of the World Health Organization.

Patient safety remained at the centre of all hospital activity and elective care scheduling throughout 2020. All hospitals followed HSE guidelines and protocols to ensure services were provided in a safe, clinically-aligned and prioritised way.

In relation to the particular query raised concerning the number of referrals by source of referral made for an outpatient consultation for each month of 2018, 2019, 2020 and in January 2021, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Hospital Data

Questions (274)

David Cullinane

Question:

274. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health the number of referrals by source of referral made for an urgent or routine inpatient, day case or planned procedure for each month of 2018, 2019, 2020 and in January 2021, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9154/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic the HSE had to take measures to defer most scheduled care activity in March, April, and May of 2020. This was to ensure patient safety and that all appropriate resources were made available for Covid-19 related activity and time-critical essential work. This decision was in line with the advice issued by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) in accordance with the advice of the World Health Organization.

Patient safety remained at the centre of all hospital activity and elective care scheduling throughout 2020. All hospitals followed HSE guidelines and protocols to ensure services were provided in a safe, clinically-aligned and prioritised way.

In relation to the particular query raised concerning the number of referrals by source of referral made for an urgent or routine in patient, day case or planned procedure for each month of 2018, 2019, 2020 and in January 2021, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (275)

John Brady

Question:

275. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Health if the HSE plans to establish a vaccination centre in Bray, County Wicklow; if so, the stage plans are currently at; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9156/21]

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.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (276, 277)

James O'Connor

Question:

276. Deputy James O'Connor asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the HSE national renal office statement that in-centre haemodialysis patients should be considered similar to persons aged 65 and older who are residents of long-term care facilities in terms of prioritisation for the first wave of Covid-19 vaccination given patients are extremely medically vulnerable and have a very high mortality risk; if he will place these patients in cohort 1 for vaccination against Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9160/21]

View answer

Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

277. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the HSE national renal office statement that in-centre haemodialysis patients should be considered similar to people aged 65 and older who are residents of long-term care facilities in terms of prioritisation for the first wave of Covid-19 vaccination given patients are extremely medically vulnerable and have a very high mortality risk; if he will place these patients in cohort 1 for vaccination against Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9161/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 276 and 277 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 the Department of Health, endorsed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), and approved by Government on 8 December 2020.

Vaccine allocation is a matter for the Department of Health 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 years 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 start in the week beginning 15 of February.

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 (278)

Denis Naughten

Question:

278. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the number of applications submitted to the HSE via the Central Remedial Clinic for selective dorsal rhizotomy under the treatment abroad scheme in each of the past three years; the number of requests received and considered by the medical team at the Central Remedial Clinic in each year; the number of requests in each year concerned for post-SDR surgery aftercare services from patients who have been refused approval for selective dorsal rhizotomy by the CRC; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9169/21]

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.

Respite Care Services

Questions (279, 283)

Alan Kelly

Question:

279. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the consideration his Department has given to date to ensuring adequate funding is made available or other such arrangements advised to progress the replacement facility for a centre (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9170/21]

View answer

Alan Kelly

Question:

283. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to an approval by the HSE to develop a replacement facility for a centre (details supplied) at its lands on the grounds of St. Otteran’s Hospital, Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9179/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 279 and 283 together.

The development of a multidisciplinary early Intervention and Respite Care centre for children with complex additional needs on the grounds of St Otteran’s Hospital in Waterford is an important and significant project.

This development has been approved for inclusion on the HSE Capital Plan 2021. The HSE Capital Plan determines the projects that can progress in any given year having regard to the total available capital funding and the relevant priority of each project. All Health capital projects currently at various stages of development are considered as part of this process.

It is expected that the plans will go to tender in late 2022 subject to available funding, with construction due to commence in 2023. The programme of construction should last for a period of 18-24 months.

It is important to recognise that the delivery of capital projects is a dynamic process and is subject to the successful completion of the various approval stages, in line with the Public Spending Code, which can impact on the timeline for delivery.

Cannabis for Medicinal Use

Questions (280)

Denis Naughten

Question:

280. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health if he plans to introduce primary legislation or new statutory instruments relating to the availability of cannabis for medicinal use in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9171/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

There are two separate pathways for accessing cannabis for medical use in Ireland.

Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP)

In June 2019, the Minister for Health signed legislation to underpin the operation of the Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP). This is a 5-year pilot programme, restricted to prescribing of cannabis-based products by medical consultants, for patients with certain medical conditions who have exhausted all other available medical treatment options.

For more information relating to the MCAP, please see the Department of Health’s website.

The MCAP has been included in the HSE National Service Plan 2021.

The HSE will be responsible for the operation of the programme. The HSE will establish and maintain a register to facilitate the enrolment and recording of certain data including patient identifiers (in anonymised format), prescribers enrolled in the programme, as well as prescribed or supplied medical cannabis products.

Ministerial Licence under Section 14 of the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977-2016

Pending full operation of the MCAP and for medical indications not included in the MCAP, doctors may continue to utilise the Ministerial licensing route to prescribe medical cannabis for their patients, should they wish to do so.

In line with the Chief Medical Officer's advice, the granting of a licence for cannabis for medical purposes must be premised on an appropriate application being submitted to the Department of Health, which is endorsed by a consultant who is responsible for the management of the patient and who is prepared to monitor the effects of the treatment over time.

This information can be found at the following links:

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/1a5c4e-applying-to-the-minister-for-health-for-a-medical-cannabis-licence/

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/e35cb4-ministerial-licence-application-process/

It is important to note that the medical decision to prescribe or not prescribe any treatment, including cannabis treatment, for an individual patient is strictly a decision for the treating clinician, in consultation with their patient. The Minister for Health has no role in this clinical decision-making process.

Cannabis for Medicinal Use

Questions (281)

Denis Naughten

Question:

281. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the actions that have been taken to progress the commitment in the Programme for Government to examine the legislation that applies to cannabis use for medical conditions and palliative care having regard to the experience in the UK; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9172/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Programme for Government Commitment is to “Examine the regulations and legislation that apply to cannabis use for medical conditions and palliative care having regard to the experience in Northern Ireland and Great Britain”

Having set out the current frameworks in relation to access medicinal cannabis products in Ireland, in order to progress this commitment it will be necessary to liaise with colleagues in Northern Ireland and Great Britain to examine the legislation and regulations in place, how their legislation has been implemented, what they have learned from both and where that can be applied in the Irish context.

I can confirm that the UK Department of Health and Social Care has been contacted by the Department of Health in order to commence the examination of the regulations and legislation and work is expected to commence shortly.

Disability Services Provision

Question No. 283 answered with Question No. 279.

Questions (282)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

282. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health when HSE funding will be approved in the case of a person (details supplied). [9173/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives.

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. 283 answered with Question No. 279.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (284, 287, 289, 308)

Mick Barry

Question:

284. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Health if patients that are undergoing dialysis treatment and those who are transplant recipients will be treated as categories of persons that would be prioritised in the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines; the position on the priority list for such persons categorised; when they might expect a vaccine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9181/21]

View answer

Brendan Griffin

Question:

287. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9191/21]

View answer

Neasa Hourigan

Question:

289. Deputy Neasa Hourigan asked the Minister for Health if he will consider prioritising kidney patients on the vaccine priority list. [9194/21]

View answer

Brendan Smith

Question:

308. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health if he will consider the concerns outlined in correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9284/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 284, 287, 289 and 308 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 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 years and older in the following order: 85 and older, 80-84, 75-79, and 70-74 years. Vaccination of this group will start in the week beginning 15 February.

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.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (285)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

285. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to a technical problem with logging onto the HSE portal in order to register for the Covid vaccine (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9182/21]

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.

Counselling Services

Question No. 287 answered with Question No. 284.

Questions (286)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

286. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health the number of persons awaiting appointments under the National Counselling Service in County Limerick; and the waiting times for each service for CaPA, CIPC and Counselling for Former Residents of Mother and Baby Homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9183/21]

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.

Question No. 287 answered with Question No. 284.

Vaccination Programme

Question No. 289 answered with Question No. 284.

Questions (288)

Richard Bruton

Question:

288. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that some large community general practitioner practices have arranged safe use of community halls for administering vaccines to those over 85 years of age (details supplied); and if arrangements will be made for this model to be used which has made considerable arrangements for the safety of patients. [9193/21]

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.

Question No. 289 answered with Question No. 284.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (290)

Neale Richmond

Question:

290. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Health if consideration has been given to recommend giving a single vaccine shot for persons who have had Covid-19 as has been recommended in France; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9196/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Three Covid-19 vaccines have been authorised for use in Ireland (Pfizer/ BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca). All three vaccines are currently being administered as a two-dose schedule.

Vaccination should be deferred until clinical recovery from Covid-19 and at least four weeks after diagnosis or onset of symptoms, or four weeks from the first PCR positive specimen in those who are asymptomatic.

Vaccination is not contraindicated for those with persisting symptoms post Covid-19 unless there is evidence of recent clinical deterioration.

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) have not recommended changes to the schedule at present.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (291)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

291. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to instances in which either Covid-19 positive patients or patients who have not tested negative twice were discharged from hospital into nursing homes. [9212/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has developed a range of public health advice and guidance on a range of topics, including “Guidance on Covid-19 Admissions, Transfers to and discharges from residential care facilities (v1.2.23.12.20).” As this is an operational matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.