Questions Nos. 180 and 181 answered with Question No. 178.

Respite Care Services

Ceisteanna (182)

Kathleen Funchion

Ceist:

182. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Health the reason there is no transparency and little communication with persons since an organisation (details supplied) assumed responsibility for overnight respite care in view of assurances received from the HSE and the organisation. [7673/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

The Programme for Partnership Government states that the Government wishes to provide more accessible respite care to facilitate full support for people with a disability.

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

Respite Care Services Provision

Question No. 185 answered with Question No. 178.

Ceisteanna (183, 184)

Kathleen Funchion

Ceist:

183. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Health the status of a committee put in place with regard to overnight respite to which a parent representative would be appointed. [7674/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Kathleen Funchion

Ceist:

184. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Health if all parents on the respite waiting list have been contacted to date. [7675/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 183 and 184 together.

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

The Programme for Partnership Government states that the Government wishes to provide more accessible respite care to facilitate full support for people with a disability.

As the Deputy's questions relate to service matters, I have arranged for the questions to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Question No. 185 answered with Question No. 178.

Medical Card Reviews

Ceisteanna (186)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

186. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Health the reason that when cases (details supplied) are being reviewed, a repeat financial assessment is carried out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7677/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

The Deputy may be aware of the key recommendation of the Report of the Expert Panel on Medical Need for Medical Card Eligibility that a person’s means should remain the main qualifier for a medical card. The Expert Panel Report also concluded that it is neither feasible nor desirable to list conditions in priority order for medical card eligibility. Therefore, medical card provision is based on financial assessment. Under the legislation, having a particular illness, in itself, does not establish eligibility for a medical card and therefore, the medical conditions of applicants for this scheme are not monitored on that basis. Accordingly, a patient suffering from either MS or MND will not have automatic eligibility for a medical card.

Where the applicant's income is within the income guidelines, a medical card or GP visit card will be awarded. In accordance with the provisions of the Health Act 1970 (as amended), eligibility for a medical card is determined by the HSE. The Act obliges the HSE to assess whether a person is unable, without due hardship, to arrange general practitioner services for himself or herself and his or her family, having regard to his or her overall financial position and reasonable expenditure and every application must be assessed on that basis.

Within the application process, the HSE endeavours to take full account of the difficult circumstances in the case of applicants who may be in excess of the income guidelines. The legislation allows the HSE, in certain circumstances, to exercise discretion and grant a medical card, even though an applicant exceeds the income threshold, where he or she faces difficult financial circumstances, such as extra costs arising from an illness. Social and medical issues are considered when determining whether undue hardship exists for an individual accessing general practitioner or other medical services. The HSE affords applicants the opportunity to furnish supporting information documentation to fully take account of all the relevant circumstances that may benefit them in the assessment, including medical evidence of cost and necessary expenses.

The HSE is required to undertake reviews of eligibility in order to ensure that a person continues to meet the qualifying criteria required to continue holding eligibility. Where a medical card is due to expire, these cards are reviewed and a renewal notice is sent out to the medical card holder three months in advance of the expiry date. It is important to note that the person under review maintains eligibility for the card while the review is being conducted, including any period where additional information is requested. It should be noted that no reviews of discretionary medical cards are taking place at this time.

EU Directives

Ceisteanna (187)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

187. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health his plans to include qualified chiropractors within the regulatory framework under the proposed European Union (Basic Safety Standards for Protection against Dangers arising from Medical Exposure to Ionising Radiation) Regulations 2018 in view of the fact that registered chiropractors are included in similar regulations in other EU countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7692/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

This questions 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 previous regulations did not designate chiropractors as referrers or practitioners.

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.

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.

Information available to my Department suggests that a number of EU Member States do not propose to designate chiropractors for the purpose of the BSSD.

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.