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Thursday, 4 Nov 2021

Written Answers Nos. 361-376

Hospital Staff

Questions (361)

Matt Shanahan

Question:

361. Deputy Matt Shanahan asked the Minister for Health the approved number of whole-time equivalent of diabetic nurses and diabetic nurse specialists at present on site at University Hospital Waterford in addition to diabetic nurses engaged through community provision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53805/21]

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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 Facilities

Questions (362)

Matt Shanahan

Question:

362. Deputy Matt Shanahan asked the Minister for Health his views on whether the oversight in relation to signage at University Hospital Waterford (details supplied) will be addressed as soon as possible in the interests of patient communications; if he will provide a target date for the addition and completion of such branding at the main gate of the hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53806/21]

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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 Staff

Questions (363)

Matt Shanahan

Question:

363. Deputy Matt Shanahan asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 341 of 30 September 2021, the status of both service areas; if he will expedite resources for the expansion of cardiac cath lab hours activity (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53807/21]

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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 Facilities

Question No. 365 answered with Question No. 343.

Questions (364)

Matt Shanahan

Question:

364. Deputy Matt Shanahan asked the Minister for Health if the new outpatient development is being actively planned for at University Hospital Waterford (details supplied); if it is a recognised and required capital infrastructure project agreed by the management of the Southwest Hospital Group; if funding is ring-fenced for this project; the status of the design and build tender and the derogation for planning permission; the expected date of commencement and completion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53808/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.

Question No. 365 answered with Question No. 343.

Hospital Staff

Questions (366)

Joe Carey

Question:

366. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the shortage of neurology nurse specialists throughout the hospital system in Ireland including the need for an additional eight nurses at the University Hospital Limerick; if he will ensure that the necessary resources are made available to bring the University Hospital Limerick in line with national and international guidelines of 11 neurology nurse specialists based in the mid-west region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53822/21]

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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.

Health Services

Questions (367)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

367. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will be called for an aptitude test; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53832/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy will be aware, all nurses and midwives who practise in Ireland must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI). The NMBI recognises the importance of processing registration applications within a reasonable timeframe taking into account the need to carry out this work with an appropriate level of care and attention . Protecting the public is a core function of the NMBI and therefore rigorous evaluating of information and thorough regulatory checks are required when processing applications from all of those who want to practise as nurses and midwives in Ireland. This also ensures the protection of the integrity of the profession of nursing and midwifery which is also function of the NMBI.

As this matter involves the register of nurses and midwives that is maintained by the NMBI, my Department contacted the NMBI for an update on this application.

The NMBI has advised that following an initial review of this application, NMBI identified that this applicant was required to pass an aptitude test before being registered to work in Ireland. The applicant failed to pass the aptitude test on two occasions and in such situations NMBI requires that a fresh application be made. The NMBI has confirmed that this process is now complete and on 03 November 2021, NMBI issued a decision letter to the applicant. This letter sets out the options now available to the applicant, including re-taking the aptitude test or the possibility of arranging an adaptation placement. The latter consists of 6-8 weeks supervised clinical placement in an NMBI approved facility whereby the applicant is provided with the opportunity to address any clinical deficits identified by NMBI during the assessment of their qualification recognition application.

General Practitioner Services

Questions (368)

Brian Stanley

Question:

368. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that certain general practitioners (details supplied) are charging old age pensioners, GMS card holders and cancer patients €50 to take bloods before they go for their treatment in the hospital. [53833/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

There is no provision under the GMS GP contract for persons who hold a medical card or GP visit card to be charged for routine phlebotomy services provided by their GP which are required to either assist in the diagnosis of illness or the treatment of a condition. This has been advised to GPs by the HSE.

The issue of GPs charging GMS patients for phlebotomy services is complex given the numerous reasons and circumstances under which blood tests are taken. My Department and the HSE discussed this issue previously with the relevant GP representative body. However, it did not prove possible to achieve agreement that no charges for blood tests would be applied in any circumstances. It is intended to raise this issue again at an appropriate time.

It should be noted that the GP chronic disease management programme which is being phased in, having commenced last year, will involve the ongoing monitoring of patients’ condition and any blood tests required in this context will be covered by the fees payable for this care.

The position remains that where a patient who holds a medical card or GP visit card believes he or she has been incorrectly charged for routine phlebotomy services by his or her GP, then that patient should report the matter to their HSE Local Health Office. The local management, upon being notified of potential inappropriate charging of GMS patients, carry out an investigation into each complaint and will, where appropriate, arrange for a refund of charges incorrectly applied by the GP.

Consultation fees charged by GPs outside the terms of the GMS contracts are a matter of private contract between the clinicians and their patients. The HSE does not have any role in relation to such fees.

Cross-Border Co-operation

Questions (369)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

369. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health the details of the cross-Border Project Ireland 2040 infrastructure projects and the funding allocated for 2021, 2022 and 2023, in tabular form. [53847/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is redoubling our commitment to deepening and strengthening North-South health links, to deliver better health care and outcomes for people on the island, building on the successes of recent years, including all-island provision of paediatric cardiac surgery in Dublin and cross-border provision of radiotherapy and coronary intervention services in Derry.

The Government will work with the Executive to pursue cross border projects and investment opportunities as part of Project Ireland 2040 to:

- Increase regional access to diagnostic and other services on a cross-border basis

- Deliver new eHealth solutions, through a developing all-island ecosystem in digital health;

- Provide specialist health services on an all-island basis, building on the success of the All-Island Congenital Heart Disease Network; and,

- Upgrade ambulance services facilities in border regions.

The National Development Plan sets out an overall programme of investment in our health infrastructure with an allocation to the sector of €5.7bn in the period to 2025.

The capital planning process for 2022 and beyond is underway involving D/Health, HSE and other stakeholders and will set out specific projects which will be allocated funding for progression in 2022. Capital plans will be developed taking account of factors including available funding, levels of contractual commitments and review and prioritisation of projects within these parameters.

Cross-Border Co-operation

Questions (370)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

370. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health the details of his Department’s current cross-Border initiatives, goods and or services committed to and the funding allocated to each for 2021, 2022 and 2023, in tabular form. [53865/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The information requested by the Deputy is being collated and a deferred reply will be submitted within ten working days.

Patient Transfers

Questions (371)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

371. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will be transferred to Tallaght Hospital, Dublin 24 for specialised care; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53876/21]

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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.

Tobacco Control Measures

Questions (372)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

372. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if an increase in the consumption of tobacco has been noted during the Covid-19 associated lockdown; if specific counter measures are anticipated to address the issue with particular reference to the extent to which he might be advised by an association (details supplied) with a view to satisfactory arrangement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53914/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

A survey commissioned by the European Commission on Attitudes of Europeans towards tobacco and electronic cigarettes indicates that in 2020 on average Irish people smoked 13.1 cigarettes a day. This represents a marginal reduction of 0.2 of a cigarette on the average number of cigarettes smoked by individuals in the period 2017-2020 and a reduction of 3.3 cigarettes for the period 2012-2020. The survey was conducted between August and September 2020 indicating that cigarette consumption did not increase in the five to six months following the introduction of the COVID-19 related public health measures.

As Minister for Health I will continue to be guided by public health experts and public health research and evidence on effective tobacco control measures.

Tobacco Control Measures

Questions (373)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

373. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if he considers the introduction of legislation desirable to prevent the sale of cigarettes in packs of more than 20; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53915/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

There are currently no plans to introduce legislation prohibiting the sale of cigarettes in packs of more than 20 at this time. The ban on packets of cigarettes containing less than 20 cigarettes was introduced on the basis that cigarettes in smaller and consequently cheaper packets increases affordability for minors. There is currently a dearth of evidence to indicate that a measure preventing the sale of packs of more than 20 cigarettes would impact on consumption or prevalence. My Department will continue to monitor any emerging evidence on the issue.

Health Service Executive

Question No. 375 answered with Question No. 357.

Question No. 376 answered with Question No. 343.

Questions (374)

Thomas Gould

Question:

374. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Health the percentage of databases recovered since the HSE cyber-attack. [53919/21]

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. 375 answered with Question No. 357.
Question No. 376 answered with Question No. 343.
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