Speech and Language Therapy

Ceisteanna (602)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

602. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health if speech therapy and occupational therapy will be supplied in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21173/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the particular issue raised by the Deputy relates to an individual case, this is a service matter for the Health Service Executive. Accordingly, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Tobacco Industry Lobbying

Ceisteanna (603)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

603. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health his plans to counteract the lobbying force of tobacco companies and their spreading of misinformation about the tobacco industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21174/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Deputy will be aware, tobacco control is an area in which I take a great personal interest and in which my Department is taking action as a matter of priority. Specifically on the matter of lobbying by the tobacco industry, the Deputy may be aware that Ireland has signed and ratified the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC states that Parties shall act to protect their public health policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry, in accordance with national law.

I have written to all Government Departments to remind Ministers and officials about Ireland’s obligations under the Framework Convention.

Tobacco Free Ireland, our current national policy, contains a recommendation to take steps to ensure that all government officials, employees of state agencies and members of any government branch responsible for setting and implementing tobacco control policies and for protecting those policies against tobacco industry interests are aware of their obligations under the WHO FCTC and are aware of the Guidelines developed to assist in meeting these obligations.

I am pleased to note that the public hearings held earlier this year by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children to review the General Scheme of the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill conformed to the WHO guidelines. Full transcripts of the hearings are now available on the Oireachtas website.

I am fully aware of the lobbying that is taking place in an attempt to thwart the introduction of standardised packaging. Standardised packaging will help to protect our children from the killer that is tobacco. No amount of lobbying will divert this Government from our goals of protecting the future health of our children and achieving a Tobacco Free Ireland by 2025.Standardised packaging will help to protect our children.

Medical Card Applications

Ceisteanna (604)

Michael Ring

Ceist:

604. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive a decision regarding her medical card application given this application has been ongoing for some time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21175/14]

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 issued to Oireachtas members.

Medical Card Applications

Ceisteanna (605)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

605. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21179/14]

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 issued to Oireachtas members.

Medical Card Eligibility

Ceisteanna (606)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

606. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21181/14]

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 issued to Oireachtas members.

Medical Card Eligibility

Ceisteanna (607)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

607. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21185/14]

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 issued to Oireachtas members.

Medical Card Eligibility

Ceisteanna (608)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

608. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21187/14]

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 issued to Oireachtas members.

Health Services

Ceisteanna (609)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

609. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Cork will be assessed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21223/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the particular issue raised by the Deputy relates to an individual case, this is a service matter for the Health Service Executive. Accordingly, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Departmental Communications

Ceisteanna (610)

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

610. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Health if any telephone calls in or out of his Department are being or ever have been recorded and if so, if he will provide details of the systems used to record and store such calls, the cost to his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21236/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Other than voicemail my Department does not record any telephone calls in or out of the Department.

Medical Card Eligibility

Ceisteanna (611)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

611. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health the reason a person who has had a medical card for the past 12 years has had her medical card withdrawn, despite this person having a kidney transplant and requiring large amounts of medication daily; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21277/14]

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 issued to Oireachtas members.

Departmental Agencies Staff Remuneration

Ceisteanna (612)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

612. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health when he expects all section 38 and section 39 agencies to be in compliance with public sector pay policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16783/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

At my request, the HSE has taken urgent action to ensure Section 38 agencies which have been found to be in breach of health sector pay policy are brought into compliance.

Following consultation between the agencies and the HSE, a substantial number of Section 38 Agencies submitted business cases seeking retention of unapproved allowances.

An Internal HSE Review Panel communicated their decisions in April on the business cases that were made to them by the Section 38 organisations. I understand that the vast majority of the business cases were rejected. The HSE advised the non-compliant agencies that a period of up to three months to 1st July 2014 had been set to allow time for them to make the necessary arrangements to cease the payment of all unapproved remuneration. The agencies have been requested to report back to the HSE setting out their planned course of action to give effect to the Review Panel decisions by 16th May 2014. I will not be in a position to comment accurately on when full compliance will be achieved, until the agencies have reported back.

Staff in organisations funded under Section 39 are not classified as public servants, not counted in public service numbers, don’t have public service pensions and not bound by the Department of Health Consolidated Salary Scales. The HSE funds more than 2,600 agencies through 4,100 individual service level arrangements under Section 39 of the Health Act 2004. At the Minister for Health’s request, the HSE wrote to the CEOs of all Section 39 agencies outlining health sector pay policy and requesting each to have due regard to public pay policy, in particular in respect of senior management. In accordance with service level arrangements, since 2013, the HSE requires all funded agencies to disclose senior manager remuneration. The HSE is close to completing a verification and validation exercise in respect of senior managers’ remuneration in the larger Section 39 Agencies who receive in excess of €5million in funding annually from the HSE. A report will be finalised in the coming weeks.

Neuro-Rehabilitation Policy

Ceisteanna (613)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

613. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health if reform of neuro-rehabilitation care here is included as part of the universal health insurance; if it will address the long waiting lists, including up to a year for patients in comas or semi-responsive states, and the fact there are only seven rehabilitation centres when the Neurological Alliance of Ireland states the country needs 26; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21139/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Neuro-rehabilitation health services are provided across a range of settings, by different organisations and by many health professionals and carers. The Government has a plan, with a series of recommendations, under the National Policy and Strategy for the Provision of Neuro-Rehabilitation Services in Ireland. The Health Service Executive has established a steering group to develop an implementation plan for the Strategy, working with the National Clinical Programme on Rehabilitation Medicine.

The National Rehabilitation Hospital is currently resourced for 3 beds for patients with highly complex care needs, for example, patients who are minimally conscious or have a disorder of consciousness. The level of resources needed to provide for the complex care and treatment needs of this patient group is significantly higher than for patients who have a certain level of mobility or independence. The National Rehabilitation Hospital actively manages the waiting time for admission to the high intensity rehabilitation beds.

The Government has committed to part funding a new 120 Bed Rehabilitation Hospital with Integrated Therapy spaces to replace the existing National Rehabilitation Hospital, at an estimated cost of €54 million.

In the past couple of years, four new Consultants in Rehabilitation Medicine were appointed to the National Rehabilitation Hospital, in addition to the existing seven Consultants at the hospital.

The White Paper on Universal Health Insurance (UHI), published by Government on 2nd April 2014, indicates that under UHI, citizens will have access to a package of primary and acute hospital services, including acute mental health services. Decisions on the composition of the future health basket will be informed by the Expert Commission which the Government will establish shortly. The Commission is tasked with providing a series of costed options to the Government on a wide range of services to be included in the UHI standard package services. It will provide details on the nature and type of the service, including any conditions and targeting that should apply in relation to the coverage of services. It will also advise on the services to be provided within the overall health basket. The inclusion of neuro-rehabilitation care services in the standard package of UHI will be considered as part of the process. It is the Government's intention that UHI will be introduced by 2019.

The Government recognises that neurological illness or injury has significant implications for the individual and their family, which impacts on their social, educational, vocational and recreational participation. Waiting times, access, treatment and quality of care are priorities for reform for this Government, despite budgetary constraints.

EU Regulations

Ceisteanna (614)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

614. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health if he will clarify the situation regarding the payments that are received from the British state in respect of persons who were resident in the United Kingdom regarding cover for health care; where this money is accounted for; the reason such citizens have continued to pay for health care despite it being paid for by the British Government on their behalf; and the action he will take regarding same. [21299/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Regulation (EC) 883/2004, and Implementing Regulation 987/2009, provide for the coordination of social security systems, including health care, within the EU/EAA and Switzerland. Under its provisions, persons residing in Ireland who are attached to the social security system of another member state are entitled to receive health care services in Ireland at the cost of that member state, provided they are not subject to Irish social security legislation. Persons in this category are entitled to full eligibility and a medical card on the basis of EU Regulations as evidence of their entitlement. However, like all medical card holders, they will be subject to the prescription charge of €2.50 for each item that is dispensed under the medical card scheme, up to a maximum of €25 per month per person or family.

Ireland operates a bilateral health care reimbursement agreement with the United Kingdom, in respect of health services provided under EU Regulations, covering such persons as temporary visitors between the two countries, pensioners of one country and their dependants residing in the other country, and the dependant families of persons employed in the other country. Under the terms of the agreement net liability between the two countries is calculated on a lump sum basis rather than an individual basis. The payment made in any one year is based on an estimate of the number of persons falling within categories eligible for reimbursement and for whom each country is liable and an estimate of the average cost of providing health care treatment. An amount of €220 million was received from the United Kingdom in 2013. The payments are received by the Health Service Executive as Appropriations-in-Aid and are offset against the gross funding requirements of the Executive at national level thus reducing the net liability to the Exchequer.

Orthodontic Service Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (615)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

615. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health when an appointment for orthodontic treatment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21303/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE provides orthodontic treatment to patients based on their level of clinical need. An individual's access to orthodontic treatment is determined against a set of clinical guidelines and priority is given to patients with greatest needs. The HSE has been asked to examine the specific query raised by the Deputy and to reply to him as soon as possible.

Health Services Expenditure

Ceisteanna (616)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

616. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health the number of Harley Davidson motorbikes and other makes of motorbikes that have been purchased by the Health Service Executive; the cost of each of these vehicles; the date they were purchased, leased, rented or are in use; the mileage expected by each of these motor cycles each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21312/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Deputy's question relates to the number of Harley Davidson motorbikes and other makes of motorbikes that have been purchased by the Health Service Executive (HSE). Accordingly, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to you in this regard.

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Ceisteanna (617)

Colm Keaveney

Ceist:

617. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Health if he will reconsider the decision of the Health Service Executive not to grant a person (details supplied) in County Galway who has arthritis a chair in order to make daily life more comfortable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21314/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE is responsible for the administration of the primary care schemes, therefore, the HSE has been asked to investigate the specific query raised by the Deputy and reply to him as soon as possible.

Medical Card Eligibility

Ceisteanna (618)

Colm Keaveney

Ceist:

618. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Health his plans to amend the medical card scheme to allow the local property tax and water charges to be included as allowable expenses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21322/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Under the provisions of the Health Act 1970 (as amended), eligibility for health services in Ireland is based primarily on residency and means. In accordance with the legislation, determination of eligibility for a medical card is the responsibility of the HSE. The HSE has produced National Assessment Guidelines to provide a clear framework to assist in the making of reasonable, consistent and equitable decisions when assessing an applicant for the General Medical Services scheme. The guidelines do not provide for expenditure associated with property taxes or water charges to be included in the determination of means of the applicant.

Medical Card Eligibility

Ceisteanna (619)

Colm Keaveney

Ceist:

619. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the mileage allowance included in the allowable expenses of the medical card scheme is 18 cent per km; the date on which that rate was determined; the reasoning or methodology used to determine that rate; if he will consider amending that rate in view of contemporary circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21323/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I have asked the Health Service Executive for a report on the issue raised by the Deputy. I will revert to the Deputy on the matter as soon as possible.

Medical Card Data

Ceisteanna (620)

Colm Keaveney

Ceist:

620. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Health if he will provide in tabular form for the average number of visits to a general practitioner by medical card holders in each year from 2009 to 2013 inclusive, broken down into age cohorts of zero to five years, six to 18 years, 19 to 35 years, 35 to 69 years and over 70 years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21326/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the information requested by the Deputy is not routinely provided to the Department by the HSE, which has responsibility for the provision of Primary Care services, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on these matters.

Mental Health Services Funding

Ceisteanna (621)

Colm Keaveney

Ceist:

621. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Health in respect of the €35 million ring-fenced for mental health in budget 2012 and budget 2013, the amount of the €35 million ring-fenced for 2012 that was spent in that year; the amount that was carried forward; of the portion carried forward from 2012 into 2013; the amount that remains unspent; the amount of the €35 million ring-fenced for 2013 that was spent in that year; the way the moneys were spent in all cases; if the programme for Government committed the Government to ring-fence €35 million in each and every budget of its term; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21327/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter this question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Medical Card Data

Ceisteanna (622)

Colm Keaveney

Ceist:

622. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Health the number of children aged five or under who currently are holders of a medical card or of a GP-only card; the proportion of the total national population this represents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21330/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The number of children aged five or under that currently hold medical and GP visit cards is 180,000, which represents almost 43% of the national population for this age group.

Mental Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (623)

Colm Keaveney

Ceist:

623. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Health if he remains committed to the role of the national service user executive, established under recommendation 3.5 of A Vision for Change, in informing the national mental health service directorate and the Mental Health Commission on issues relating to user involvement and participation in planning delivering, evaluating and monitoring services including models of best practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21331/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

A Vision for Change recommended that a National Service User Executive (NSUE) be established to inform mental health policy makers and service providers on issues relating to user involvement and participation in planning, delivering, evaluating and monitoring services. Both the HSE and I fully recognise the importance of ensuring service user involvement in the on-going development of the NSUE and collaborated closely with the NSUE in the delivery of its remit.

However, due to difficulties with the previous NSUE model the HSE, in September 2013, commenced a consultation process with a range of stakeholders representing service users, family members and carers to seek to determine how the independent voices for service users, family members and carers will continue to be heard and heeded in the development and delivery of mental health services into the future.

This consultation led to the appointment of an interim Head of Service User, Family Member and Carer Engagement in January 2014 as a member of the HSE National Mental Health Management Team and a commitment to establish a Reference Group to work with the Management Team on the development of consultative and representative structures for service users, family members and carers to ensure that these perspectives consistently influence the development and delivery of mental health services.

The interim Head of Service User, Family Member and Carer Engagement has conducted a comprehensive series of 26 listening meetings around the country attended by more than 1,000 service users, family members, carers and members of the public as a preliminary step to the establishment of the Reference Group, and to help shape its agenda.

I remain committed to service user involvement and participation in planning, delivering, evaluating and monitoring of mental health services as envisaged in A Vision for Change.

Health Services Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (624)

Colm Keaveney

Ceist:

624. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Health if he will provide details of how of the 477 additional staff, committed to under the Health Service Executive national service plan 2013 to fulfil the objectives of further development of forensics and community mental health teams for adults, children, older persons and mental health intellectual disability, have been filled in each of the HSE areas; when all the posts will be filled; of those filled, the number that are currently in receipt of any remuneration from the HSE; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21332/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter this question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.