Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Ceisteanna (317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 333, 334)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

318 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the annual investment in audiology services by the Health Service Executive excluding voluntary organisation funding for 2011. [35564/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

319 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the annual investment in audiology services by the Health Service Executive excluding voluntary organisation funding to date in 2012. [35565/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

320 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health if he will confirm that the estimated annual investment in services by the Health Service Executive was €11.3 million excluding voluntary organisation funding, as published in the HSE National Audiology Review Report of February 2011. [35566/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

321 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health if he will provide a breakdown of the annual investment in respect of the amount spent on administration, wages and hearing devices. [35567/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

322 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the average unit cost of a hearing aid purchased by the Health Service Executive. [35568/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

327 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health when the most recent waiting lists for audiology services were compiled. [35573/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

328 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the number of persons waiting for an audiology assessment. [35574/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

329 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the number of persons waiting for a hearing aid fitting. [35575/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

330 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the number of persons waiting for a follow-up appointment after their hearing aid has been fitted. [35576/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

331 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the number of persons who received an audiology assessment from the Health Service Executive in 2011. [35577/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

332 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the number of persons who received an audiology assessment by the Health Service Executive to date in 2012. [35578/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

333 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the number of persons who were fitted with a hearing aid by the Health Service Executive in 2011. [35579/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

334 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the number of persons who were fitted with a hearing aid to date in 2012. [35580/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

335 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the number of persons who received a follow-up appointment after their hearing aid was fitted by the Health Service Executive in 2011. [35581/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

336 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the number of persons who received a follow-up appointment after their hearing aid was fitted by the Health Service Executive to date in 2012. [35582/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

337 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health if he concurs with the findings of the NARC report that many audiology services in Ireland are substandard. [35583/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

338 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health if he is committed to doubling the existing indicative annual investment of €11 million as recommended in the NARC report in order to deliver the required services. [35584/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

339 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health if he will outline the progress made on the implementation of the individual recommendations of the NARC report, and the cost of this to date. [35585/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 318 to 322, inclusive, and 327 to 339, inclusive, together.

The report of the HSE National Audiology Review Group was published in April 2011. The Group has developed a comprehensive set of recommendations to address the inconsistencies and inadequacies in audiology services. Recommendations currently being pursued by the HSE's Audiology Clinical Care Programme include the following; five clinical leads including a National Clinical Lead are being recruited; Universal Newborn Hearing Screening(UNHS) is now in place in the HSE South and will be rolled out in Dublin Mid Leinster and Dublin North East in September 2012; the Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA) Service is to be rolled out to six new sites commencing in October 2012; work has been initiated on reconfiguration of services to deliver better clinical governance and efficient care pathways; ten MSc in audiology students are being sponsored and it is hoped they will join the HSE workforce in September 2013; other training is also being supported for staff involved in UNHS follow up and the BAHA service; procurement processes for equipment for the BAHA service and the UNHS programme have been completed; workforce planning and career structure proposals are being developed.

The National Audiology Review Group Report estimated the annual investment in HSE audiology services at €11.3m. An additional €989k was invested in 2011 and an additional €2.71m in 2012. Business cases for additional posts and funding will be prepared as part of the HSE estimates process.

The budget for hearing aids is €2m per year. The HSE is currently completing a national procurement process for hearing aids and equipment and considers it inappropriate to make information available on the average cost of hearing aids purchased due to commercial sensitivity. The estimated salary costs for the audiology service is €4.5m. Information on administration costs is not readily available and is difficult to determine given that staff are shared across services.

The HSE is not in a position to provide accurate data as requested by the Deputy on waiting lists or on persons fitted with hearing aids, persons who received an audiology assessment or persons who received follow up appointments during 2011/2012. The business case for a new National Patient Management System is being progressed which will allow easy access to waiting times, facilitate the validation of waiting list activity and monitor productivity.