Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Ceisteanna (404)

James Browne

Ceist:

404. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health his views on whether the process in which a person in need of a ceiling track hoist must gain approval separately from the HSE for a hoist and the county council for the ceiling track for the hoist is unfair and inefficient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9417/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Mental Health Services Data

Ceisteanna (405)

James Browne

Ceist:

405. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the number of staff who work in the mental health sector; the grade of each staff member; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9421/18]

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.

Mental Health Policy

Ceisteanna (406)

James Browne

Ceist:

406. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the type and the general policy area of each mental health Bill prepared by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9424/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Mental Health Act 2001 is the principal legislation on mental health in Ireland and replaced legislation dating back to 1945. The Act brought about major reform in the area of mental health law and practice in Ireland. The Act which, commenced in 2006, provides safeguards for those involuntarily admitted and detained in approved centres and puts in place mechanisms for the regulation and inspection of our mental health services.  The Act also established the Mental Health Commission.

My Department has introduced a number of Acts amending the 2001 Act.

The Mental Health Act 2008 was enacted on an emergency basis to deal with issues that had arisen in a court case at that time, specifically in relation to unexpired and expired renewal orders. The immediate passing of the legislation was deemed to be necessary to reduce the possibility of impacting negatively on patient health.

The Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 introduced the definition of ‘authorised person’ to the Mental Health Act 2001.  An "authorised person" is a person empowered under the Act to lawfully remove persons to an approved centre. The need to amend the Mental Health Act 2001 arose from High Court proceedings where a patient sought and was granted a declaration that her removal to a psychiatric hospital was not in accordance with the Act.

The Mental Health (Amendment) Act 2015 introduced a significant change with regard to the administration of Electroconvulsive Therapy. Following the commencement of this Act, where a patient who has been admitted on an involuntarily basis, has capacity and refuses ECT, that patient’s wishes must now be respected. Up to that point, the Mental Health Act allowed for administration of ECT to people who were ‘unwilling’ to consent.

The Deputy will be aware that a comprehensive review of the 2001 Act by an Expert Group was published in 2015. The previous Government accepted the thrust of the Report of that Expert Group and approved the preparation of the General Scheme of a Bill to reflect the Report’s recommendations in revised mental health legislation. 

The Review contains 165 recommendations and is progressive in nature. First and foremost, it sets out to promote and protect the rights of persons with mental illness. This is in addition to promoting access to the most appropriate and highest achievable standard of care and support.

The previous Government agreed with the broad thrust of the recommendations of the Expert Group Review and approved the preparation of the General Scheme of a bill to reflect changes in revised legislation. This work is underway at official level and is expected to be significantly progressed by mid-year. I acknowledge that progress on finalising this work has been slower than anticipated, but it is a complex undertaking and when changes are proposed on such a large scale, we must ensure they are made in a careful and considered manner.

Treatment Abroad Scheme

Ceisteanna (407)

James Browne

Ceist:

407. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the number of children who, while in the care of the HSE, obtained treatment in the United Kingdom in each of the years 2015, 2016 and 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9425/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE operates the Treatment Abroad Scheme, for persons entitled to treatment in another EU/EEA Member State or Switzerland under EU Regulation 883/04, as per the procedures set out in EU Regulation 987/09, and in accordance with Department of Health Guidelines.

The HSE hold and record statistics on the Treatment Abroad Scheme and I have asked them to reply to the Deputy directly.

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland

Ceisteanna (408)

James Browne

Ceist:

408. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 413 of 13 January 2018, the number of the 1,096 nurses and midwives that requested CCPS verification from the NMBI in 2017 who are mental health staff; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9426/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Given that this is an operational matter, it is appropriate that it should be dealt with by the NMBI. I have referred the Deputy's question to the NMBI for attention and direct reply within 10 working days.

Services for People with Disabilities

Ceisteanna (409)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

409. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health the status of the provision of a multidisciplinary team to a school (details supplied) in County Cork. [9440/18]

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 particular issue raised by the Deputy is a service matter for the HSE.  Accordingly I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Health Services

Ceisteanna (410)

John Brassil

Ceist:

410. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health if an application by a person (details supplied) will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9451/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Cross-Border Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (411)

John Brassil

Ceist:

411. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the number of persons from the HSE south and south west areas who have applied for and been approved for the cross-border directive for orthodontic treatment in each of the years 2014 to 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9454/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the HSE has responsibility for the administration of the Cross Border Directive, I have asked the HSE to examine the issue raised and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Health Care Infrastructure Provision

Ceisteanna (412)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

412. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health the projected cost of a project (details supplied); if the tender process will be via the traditional funding route to support companies on the Border in view of Brexit; if this will be a separate tender; if it will be part of a bundle; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9468/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the HSE is responsible for the delivery of health care infrastructure projects, I have asked the Executive  to reply directly to the Deputy in relation to this matter as soon as possible.

Medical Card Data

Ceisteanna (413)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

413. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health the number of applications for medical cards that were made in 2017 with cancer being a reason for the application. [9474/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter, the Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (414)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

414. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health the status of an appointment for a person (details supplied) who has been waiting nine years for orthodontic treatment. [9489/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Medical Card Administration

Ceisteanna (415)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

415. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Health the rules regarding charging medical card holders for blood tests in cases in which those medical card holders have type two diabetes and require regular blood tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9490/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

There is no provision under the GMS GP contract for persons who hold a medical card or GP visit card to be charged for routine phlebotomy services provided by their GP which are required to either assist in the diagnosis of illness or the treatment of a condition. The HSE has advised GPs that where a blood test forms part of the investigation or necessary treatment of a patient’s symptoms or conditions, this should be free of charge for patients who hold a medical card or GP visit card. Notwithstanding this, I am aware that in recent times some GPs have begun to charge GMS patients for phlebotomy services in some circumstances.

This is a matter of concern for me as it has long been the position, under successive Governments, that no user charges should apply to GP services provided to GMS and GP visit card patients. If a patient who holds a medical card or GP visit card believes he or she has been incorrectly charged for routine phlebotomy services by his or her GP, then that patient may take the matter up with their HSE Local Health Office, who will investigate the complaint.

If the local office determines that the charge was inappropriate, it will inform the HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service who will arrange to refund the cost of the blood test to patient and recoup this amount from the GP. The local office will inform the GP of the decision to deduct the payment.

Departmental Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (416)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

416. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if the post of independent appeals officer for his Department, as advertised in the autumn, has been filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9493/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Following a recruitment competition conducted by the Public Appointments Service in October 2017, a preferred candidate to fill the position of Independent Appeals Officer has been selected. My Department is finalising contractual arrangements with that candidate who is expected to be appointed to the position in early April.