Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (228)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

228. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if a free optical test and glasses will be provided to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29705/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Optical screening services for school age children are provided by the HSE.

The HSE has been asked to examine the specific query raised by the Deputy and to reply to him as soon as possible.

Services for People with Disabilities

Ceisteanna (229)

Eric J. Byrne

Ceist:

229. Deputy Eric Byrne asked the Minister for Health his views regarding adult day services (details supplied) in Dublin. [29714/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Although the 2013 allocation for disability services has been reduced by 1.2%, the Health Service Executive (HSE) National Service Plan includes an additional €4m to provide training places and day services for school-leavers and Rehabilitative / Lifeskills Training (RT) graduates in 2013. This funding is being allocated to each HSE Region based on its percentage of population. Both the voluntary sector and the HSE are committed to the best use of the funding in a creative and flexible manner so as to secure as many places as possible for this cohort.

The demand for services for school-leavers continues to grow. The HSE expects that approximately 700 young people who have finished their education or life-skills training will require services in 2013. Providing the level of services required within the additional funding provided will continue to be a challenge. Work in this area will be progressed largely in line with the HSE guidance document developed in 2012, which led to the successful placement of 99% of RT graduates and 96% of school leavers last year.

It is envisaged that plans will be completed for each region shortly and submitted to Area Managers, Regional Specialists and Regional Director of Operations for agreement. Arising from completed and approved plans, a communication process will be agreed with service providers to inform families of the services that will be available from September 2013.

In respect of the specific question asked by the Deputy, as it relates to service matters I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Tobacco Control Measures

Ceisteanna (230)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

230. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 1019 of 11 June 2013, regarding cigarette packaging, if he will identify the international peer reviewed evidence that he referred to that establishes the evidence that standardised packaging will increase the effectiveness of health warnings, a reduction of false health beliefs about cigarettes and a reduction in cigarettes' brand appeal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29716/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Ireland has signed and ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). The FCTC is the first international treaty negotiated under the auspices of WHO. Article 11 of the Treaty relates to the packaging and labelling of tobacco products and in the Guidelines for the implementation of Article 11 Parties to the Treaty are requested to consider adopting standardised /plain packaging for tobacco products.

A considerable number of studies relating to tobacco packaging have been conducted internationally and as such it would not be possible for me to list all of the studies that have taken place in this regard. However, the studies I was referring to in my response to Parliamentary Question No. 1019 includes one of the most comprehensive and recent reviews carried out in this area. This review, entitled "Plain Tobacco Packaging: A Systematic Review" (Moodie et al), outlines the findings of 37 studies and provides evidence on the impacts of standardised/plain tobacco packaging. The review included studies from 1980 up to the time of its publication. The primary aim of the review was to assess the impact of standardised or plain packaging on the appeal of the packaging or product, the salience and effectiveness of health warnings and the perceptions of product strength and harm. The review concluded that there is strong evidence to support the introduction of standardised/plain packaging.

General Practitioner Services

Ceisteanna (231)

Sandra McLellan

Ceist:

231. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Health if newborn babies are covered by free general practitioner care for six weeks after birth; if this service covers Caredoc after hours services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29718/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Maternity and Infant Care Scheme is open to all expectant mothers (who are ordinarily resident in Ireland) and care under this scheme may be obtained free of charge from any GP who has a contract for the provision of services under the scheme. Under the scheme, a GP attending a mother also provides care for the new-born baby and will provide two developmental examinations free of charge at 2 weeks and 6 weeks following the birth.

The baby's entitlement to other free GP services depends on whether the baby has a medical card or a GP Visit Card. This means that visits to the GP for any conditions related to the baby's health during this six week period or afterwards are not covered by the scheme unless the baby itself has a medical card/GP Visit Card. This is also the case for the HSE out of hours GP service where the service is free for holders of a medical card or a GP Visit Card.

Hospital Acquired Infections

Ceisteanna (232)

Terence Flanagan

Ceist:

232. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health the measures and-or protocols that are in place for staff regarding the washing of hands, wearing surgical coats in public places and so on to ensure the prevention of the spread of infection; the number of spot checks that take place at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin to ensure that these protocols are followed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29728/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

In relation to the particular queries raised by the Deputy, as these are service issues, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in these matters.

Substance Misuse

Ceisteanna (233)

Brian Stanley

Ceist:

233. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health the reason the Drugs Advisory Group has not met since January; if it is to be replaced by a new structure; when will this new structure be in place and fully functioning; and if he will outline the terms of reference and details of this new structure. [29729/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Deputy will be aware that I announced details of a series of measures last December arising from a review of Drugs Task Forces in order to better equip them to respond to the current pattern of substance misuse. These measures included the extension of the remit of the Task Forces to include alcohol addiction and the establishment of a National Coordinating Committee for Drug and Alcohol Task Forces. This new committee will replace the Drugs Advisory Group.

As measures to address the abuse of alcohol remain under consideration by the Government, I am not yet in a position to provide clear time-scales for the establishment of the new committee. Broadly speaking, the committee will drive implementation of the strategies on substance misuse at local and regional level and will oversee, monitor and support the work of the Task Forces.

Accident and Emergency Services Provision

Ceisteanna (234)

Terence Flanagan

Ceist:

234. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health if he will confirm the level of budget cuts implemented at the accident and emergency department, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, over the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29753/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

In relation to the particular query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service issue, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.

Nursing Home Services

Ceisteanna (235)

Nicky McFadden

Ceist:

235. Deputy Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Health if an enhanced framework that recognises and supports the increasing complex care requirements of nursing home residents will be introduced; if he will acknowledge that an appropriate model would create significant employment within the health care sector and support local economies and communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29756/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

In order to be an approved nursing home for the purposes of the Scheme all private nursing homes, and voluntary nursing homes which previously received funding for long-term residential care under section 39 of the Health Act 2004, must negotiate and agree a price for the cost of long-term nursing home care with the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF). This is necessary due to the commitment by the State to meet the full balance of the cost of care over and above individuals’ contributions.

The NTPF is independent in the performance of this function and, in carrying it out, it must ensure value for money for both the individual and the State. The NTPF negotiates with each nursing home individually and may examine the records and accounts of nursing homes as part of the process.

As the Deputy is aware the Nursing Homes Support Scheme is currently being reviewed. One of the terms of reference of the review is an examination of the overall cost of long term residential care in public and private nursing homes and the effectiveness of the current methods of negotiating/setting prices. Work will continue on the review in the coming months with a view to completion by end 2013/early 2014.

It should also be noted that one of the key priorities identified in the HSE's National Operational Plan 2013 is to progress a Single Assessment Tool for older people. This standardised framework will allow resources to be targeted towards those with the greatest needs and enable supports and services to be designed in the most appropriate way possible.

National Treatment Purchase Fund

Ceisteanna (236)

Nicky McFadden

Ceist:

236. Deputy Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Health if an independent appeals mechanism will be introduced to adequately address failure to agree necessary fees for nursing home care with the National Treatment Purchase Fund; if an independent appeals mechanism will be introduced to afford nursing homes the opportunity to address Health Information and Quality Authority judgments and conclusions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29757/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I refer the Deputy to the replies to Parliamentary Questions Number 676 and 677 of the 28th May 2013.

Medical Card Applications

Ceisteanna (237)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

237. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29760/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible. The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has recently reissued to Oireachtas members.