Ministerial Advisers Remuneration

Ceisteanna (235, 236)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

235. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will provide details of all pay increases awarded to special advisors in her Department over the last two years. [18307/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

236. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will provide in a tabular format a list of all her special advisors pay and that of her Minister of State, to include each salary, name of employee above principal officer standard scale salary rate; and if she will supply the total pay bill for all her special advisors for 2012 [18321/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 235 and 236 together.

As requested by the Deputy, details of the salaries for Special Advisers in my Department are set out in tabular form below. In accordance with Department of Finance instructions on Ministerial appointments, my Advisers were placed on the first point of the Principal Officer standard scale on appointment. The Principal Officer scale provides for annual increments, subject to satisfactory performance and attendance. One of my Advisers is in their third year of tenure and has recently moved to the third point of the scale. My other two advisers are on the second point of the Principal Officer standard scale. There have been no additional salary increases granted since their appointment. The gross cost for the three Special Advisers for 2012 totalled €178,736. This figure is based on gross salaries and Employer’s PRSI.

Name

Applicable Salary Scale

WTE

(Wholetime

Equivalent)

Salary on

appointment

Current

Salary

Marion Mannion

Principal Officer standard scale

1

€80,051

€83,337

Jennifer Carroll MacNeill

Principal Officer standard scale

0.5

€40,025

€43,302

William Lavelle

Principal Officer standard scale

0.5

€40,025

€41,669

State Bodies Establishment

Ceisteanna (237)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

237. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of new State bodies that have been established under the aegis of her Department since February, 2011; the number of such bodies subject to a sunset clause; the number of new public bodies currently being planned;; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18335/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I would like to inform the Deputy there are four agencies which are funded by the Exchequer through my Department's Vote. These are the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI); the Family Support Agency (FSA); the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) and the Ombudsman for Children. Gaisce also comes under the remit of my Department. With effect from 1 January 2012, I have taken responsibility for the Children Detention Schools as provided in Part 10 of the Children Act 2001.

I can confirm that no new State Bodies or Agencies have been established within my Department since February, 2011.

As the Deputy may be aware, work is well underway on the establishment of the new Child and Family Agency including the drafting of the required legislation. This piece of important legislation provides for the subsuming of functions from three separate agencies; namely the HSE, and also the Family Support Agency and the National Educational Welfare Board which both currently come under the remit of my Department. The legislation will be published shortly and it is my intention that the CFA will assume statutory responsibility for services for children and families in 2013. Once legislation has been enacted, the Agency will formally come under the remit of my Department.

It should be noted that following enactment of the Child Care Amendment Act 2011 the Children's Act Advisory Board was subsequently dissolved by means of the commencement by the Minister of Health of Part 6 of the Child Amendment Act 2011.

Medicinal Products Availability

Ceisteanna (238, 239, 243)

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Ceist:

238. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Health the reason National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics has refused to fund the drug Pirfenidone on financial grounds in view of the fact that Pirfenidone is the only drug available to treat patients with idiopathic lung fibrosis, a progressive terminal lung disease of no known origin, and is therefore a vital life giving medication; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18006/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

239. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health if he will make available the drug Pirfenidone (details supplied) to patients suffering from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18020/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

243. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health if he will consider including pirfenidone on the drug payment scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18066/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 238, 239 and 243 together.

Following a pharmacoeconomic evaluation of pirfenidone (Esbriet), the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics concluded that, at the submitted price, pirfenidone is not cost-effective for the treatment of patients with mild to moderate idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

The HSE is currently in negotiations with the manufacturers of pirfenidone (Esbriet) and therefore it would not be appropriate to comment further while these negotiations are ongoing.

The application to the HSE for the reimbursement of this product under the Community Drugs Schemes is being considered in line with the agreed procedures and timescales for the assessment of new medicines as per the 2012 agreement between the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association, the HSE and the Department of Health.

Hospital Closures

Ceisteanna (240)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

240. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health when a decision will be announced in relation to the future of Abbeyleix Community Hospital and St. Brigid's Hospital, Shaen, Portlaoise, County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18029/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Deputy is aware, this matter is now being considered within the Department and it is anticipated that an announcement will be made shortly in respect of both Abbeyleix Community Hospital and St Brigid's Hospital, Shaen, County Laois.

National Counselling Service

Ceisteanna (241)

Dominic Hannigan

Ceist:

241. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Health the way the new National Counselling Service will operate; if it is going to be a 24/7 service; the location from which the service will operate; if it will be free; if it will be run by the Health Service Executive or his Department; when the recruitment drive for new counsellors will start; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18032/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

In 2012, €5m was made available from the special allocation of €35m for mental health to initiate the provision of psychological and counselling services in primary care, specifically for people with mental health problems who are eligible under the General Medical Services Scheme. A further €2.5m was provided for this initiative from the additional €35m provided for mental health in 2013.

The HSE’s National Service Plan 2012 provided for the replication nationally of the model operational in the HSE's North East Area, managed by the HSE National Counselling Service, as a way of meeting the requirement to improve access to psychological therapies in Primary Care.

To implement the model nationally, an additional Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) Counsellor Co-ordinator post was allocated to each of the ten HSE National Counselling Services. These Counsellors will be responsible for the set-up, roll out, management, monitoring and evaluation of the Model, including relationship development with GPs in their areas.

All of the Counsellor Co-Ordinator posts have been filled with start dates over the next number of weeks. It is expected that the start date for the service will vary according to when the Counsellor Co-Ordinator takes up the post but it is expected that the first services will be available from the end of the second quarter of this year.

In relation to the specific questions in relation to the Service, as this is a service matter, I have referred the question to the HSE for direct reply.

Long-Term Illness Scheme Coverage

Question No. 243 answered with Question No. 238.

Ceisteanna (242)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

242. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health if he will consider including lung fibrosis on the long-term illness card scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18065/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

There are no plans to extend the list of conditions covered by the Long Term Illness Scheme.

Under the Drug Payment Scheme, no individual or family pays more than €144 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme significantly reduces the cost burden for families and individuals incurring ongoing expenditure on medicines.

In addition, people who cannot, without undue hardship, arrange for the provision of medical services for themselves and their dependants may be entitled to a medical card. In the assessment process, the Health Service Executive can take into account medical costs incurred by an individual or a family. Those who are not eligible for a medical card may still be able to avail of a GP visit card, which covers the cost of general practice consultation.

Question No. 243 answered with Question No. 238.

Respite Care Services

Ceisteanna (244)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

244. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if, in the context of determination of eligibility for respite care/home help in respect of their child in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Offaly consideration will be given on the basis of their residency within the administrative area of County Kildare as opposed to her postal address for this area of County Kildare; if provision will be made to ensure that investigation into her entitlement proceeds forthwith; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18070/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.