EU Directives

Ceisteanna (213)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

213. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the concerns raised by an organisation (details supplied) regarding the new EU legislation requesting the Government to interpret guidelines for X-ray referral and its fears that it will be omitted from using and taking X-rays; his plans to introduce an amendment that would allow qualified chiropractors to be included within the regulatory framework as provided by the new regulations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4766/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

This question relates to the transposition of the medical provisions of the Basic Safety Standards Directive (BSSD) by my Department and whether chiropractors will be designated as referrers and practitioners in the transposing regulations.

Ionising radiation has many beneficial applications however as the use of ionising radiation increases, so does the potential for health hazards if not properly used or contained. The BSSD is an essential piece of legislation which protects the public, patients, workers and others from all forms of ionising radiation.

My Department conducted a general consultation on the BSSD in June 2017 and sought views on the provisions of the Directive where Member States had discretion. The Chiropractic Association of Ireland (CAI) was included in my Department's notification of the consultation process and arrangements were made to contact all licence-holders of ionising radiation equipment advising them of the consultation. Information on the consultation process was also posted on my Department’s website. No response was received from the CAI or any individual identifying as a chiropractor.

The transposing statutory instrument for the BSSD will revoke and replace existing regulations from 2002. The existing regulations do not designate chiropractors as referrers or practitioners. Chiropractors who refer individuals for medical exposures, carry out medical exposures or other related functions are not in compliance with the existing regulations.

The current regulations lack inspection or enforcement provisions, however, in the new regulations HIQA will have the inspection and enforcement powers to enforce compliance and contravention of the new regulations will be an offence.

The statutory instrument transposing the BSSD will designate those who may refer for radiological tests, those who may carry them out and other functions and in this regard I propose to designate nurses, doctors, dentists and radiographers as appropriate.

The proposed designation of relevant professionals is based on patient safety and public health considerations reflected in the advice of the Chief Medical Officer.

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment has overall responsibility for the transposition of the BSSD. My Department will finalise the medical provisions of the BSSD in the coming weeks.

Primary Care Centres Funding

Ceisteanna (214)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

214. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Health if a primary care centre (details supplied) is publicly funded. [4773/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the HSE has responsibility for the provision, along with the maintenance and operation of Primary Care Centres and other Primary Care facilities, the Executive has been asked to reply directly to the Deputy.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (215)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

215. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health the funding or grants available through his Department for early retirement groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4776/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

My Department administered a National Lottery Discretionary Fund up to and including 2016 from which once-off grants were paid to community and voluntary organisations providing a range of health related services. My Department no longer operates a National Lottery Fund.

However, the HSE operates a similar scheme and continues to provide grants to health agencies and other organisations from National Lottery funds.

Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (216)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

216. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health if he will direct the HSE to meet with an organisation (details supplied) to discuss a proposal for stroke support groups in County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4777/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Department have been in touch with the Clinical Strategy and Programme Division of HSE regarding this proposal who have indicated that they are happy to meet with the Irish Heart Foundation to discuss their submission further.

EU Directives

Ceisteanna (217)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

217. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Health the reason the medical officer in his Department is advising chiropractors that they are to stop using X-ray machines or referring persons for X-rays from 6 February 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4781/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

This question relates to the transposition of the medical provisions of the Basic Safety Standards Directive (BSSD) by my Department and whether chiropractors will be designated as referrers and practitioners in the transposing regulations.

The transposing statutory instrument for the BSSD will revoke and replace existing regulations from 2002. The existing regulations do not designate chiropractors as referrers or practitioners. The current regulations lack inspection or enforcement provisions. In the new regulations HIQA will have the inspection and enforcement powers to enforce compliance and contravention of the new regulations will be an offence.

The statutory instrument transposing the BSSD will designate those who may refer for radiological tests, those who may carry them out and other functions and in this regard I propose to designate nurses, doctors, dentists and radiographers as appropriate.

The proposed designation of relevant professionals is based on patient safety and public health considerations reflected in the advice of the Chief Medical Officer. Chiropractors that currently refer individuals for medical exposures, carry out medical exposures or other related functions are not in compliance with the existing regulations.

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment has overall responsibility for the transposition of the BSSD. My Department will finalise the medical provisions of the BSSD in the coming weeks.

Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (218)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

218. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4794/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Medicinal Products Availability

Ceisteanna (219)

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

219. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Health if the drug Vimizim has being approved by the HSE for those suffering from Morquio syndrome (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4797/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicines under the community drug schemes, in accordance with the provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for reply to the Deputy.

Departmental Correspondence

Ceisteanna (220)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

220. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health if a reply will issue to correspondence from a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4812/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Medicinal Products Availability

Ceisteanna (221)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

221. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health if a reply will issue to correspondence from a person (details supplied) in relation to THC; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4815/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

In March, following the publication of the Health Products Regulatory Authority’s report ‘Cannabis for Medical Use – A Scientific Review’, I established an Expert Reference Group to advise on the development of a Cannabis for Medical Use Access Programme, for patients who are under the care of a medical consultant and have been diagnosed with the following medical conditions:

- spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis resistant to all standard therapies;

- intractable nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy, despite the use of standard anti-emetic regimens;

- severe, refractory (treatment-resistant) epilepsy that has failed to respond to standard anticonvulsant medications.

The Access Programme is intended to facilitate access to cannabis-based products, that are not authorised as medicines but are of a standardised quality and meet an acceptable level of quality assurance. The Expert Group has drawn up clinical guidance for healthcare professionals treating patients through the Access Programme. Officials in the Department of Health are working on legislation to underpin the Access Programme. This work is well advanced but will take some further time to complete.

In the meantime, medical practitioners who wish to prescribe cannabis-based products containing THC may apply under the Misuse of Drugs Act for a licence to do so. The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the granting of such a licence must be premised on an appropriate application being submitted to the Department of Health, which is endorsed by a consultant who is responsible for the management of the patient and who is prepared to monitor the effects of the treatment over time.

To date four licences in respect of four individual patients have been granted.

Valid applications received by the Department are assessed and responded to without delay.

If the patient’s consultant requires further information or clarification in relation to the licence application process, he or she should contact the Department of Health directly.