Treatment Abroad Scheme

Ceisteanna (469)

Dessie Ellis

Ceist:

469. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that cardiac transplant surgery for persons under 16 years of age is not carried out here; his plans to address this anomaly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9831/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Irish paediatric patients travel to the UK for heart transplants under the Treatment Abroad Scheme. Paediatric kidney transplants are carried out in the Children's University Hospital, Temple Street.

Around 5 to 6 paediatric heart transplant cases arise in Ireland each year and the current policy reflects this low level of activity.

The possibility of heart transplants for paediatric patients being undertaken in Ireland will be considered in the future in the context of the new Children's Hospital.

Legislative Measures

Ceisteanna (470)

Denise Mitchell

Ceist:

470. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Health when Parts 2 and 3 of the Child and Families Relationship Act 2015 will be commenced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9832/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Officials in my Department are undertaking the work necessary to facilitate the commencement of Parts 2 and 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015. A small number of technical and legal issues have arisen which require clarification, and it is important that these are resolved before Parts 2 and 3 of the Act are commenced. I hope to be in a position to lay the Regulations before the Houses of the Oireachtas as early as possible in 2018.

Home Help Service Provision

Ceisteanna (471)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

471. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if a home help allocation for a person (details supplied) will be reviewed; if the previous allocation will be restored; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9833/18]

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.

Community Care

Ceisteanna (472)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

472. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) will be placed in a care facility. [9835/18]

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.

Hospital Procedures

Ceisteanna (473)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

473. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the number of cataract operations that have been carried out in the South/South West hospital group in 2017 and to date in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9853/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Treatment Abroad Scheme

Ceisteanna (474)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

474. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the amount spent by the HSE through the cross-border directive in 2017 for persons receiving cataract operations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9863/18]

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.

Home Help Service

Ceisteanna (475)

James Browne

Ceist:

475. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health if additional home help hours for a person (details supplied) will be provided. [9866/18]

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.

Treatment Abroad Scheme

Ceisteanna (476)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

476. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the number of persons who availed of the cross-border directive in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9870/18]

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.

Medical Card Applications

Ceisteanna (477)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

477. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if a medical card will be restored to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9899/18]

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 directly.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Ceisteanna (478)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

478. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Health the roll-out date for the FreeStyle Libre glucose monitoring system to be included in the long-term illness scheme for children and young persons; the criteria for same; and if the HSE plans to include persons with type 1 diabetes for reimbursement in compliance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. [9901/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, the HSE has statutory responsibility for the administration of the community drug schemes; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Medicinal Products Availability

Ceisteanna (479)

Joan Collins

Ceist:

479. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Health his plans to re-examine the issues arising from the withdrawal of Versatis pain relief plasters. [9910/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Medicines play a vital role in improving the health of Irish patients. Securing access to existing and new and innovative medicines is a key objective of the health service. However, the challenge is to do this in a safe and sustainable manner. Treatment must be appropriate and proportionate and clinical decison-making, such as prescribing, should be based on both patient needs and sound medical evidence.

Lidocaine 5% medicated plasters are licensed for the localised relief of post-shingles pain in adults. This is the only licensed use for the patch in Ireland. It has been reimbursed in the community drugs schemes since 2010.

When the plasters were first introduced, the budget impact was low, because of the specific indication for which they are licensed. It was therefore a cause of clinical concern that, from 2012 on, usage increased significantly, to the point where, as a nation, we were using more plasters than the entire UK National Health Service, with ten times our population.

When a treatment is intended for a small group of patients, and evidence suggests that it is being used for many times that number, it is important and appropriate for clinicians to review its use. In 2016, the HSE Medicines Management Programme reviewed the use of the plasters. The review estimated that only 5-10% of prescribing had been for the licensed indication.

Following the clinical review, and in the interest of ensuring appropriate patient care, the HSE introduced a new reimbursement approval system for the patches from 1 September 2017. This process supports their appropriate use, ensuring that post-shingles patients continue to receive this treatment.

Under the new arrangements, all patients receiving lidocaine plasters for the licensed indication, shingles, were automatically approved on the HSE system. All of these patients continue to receive the treatment under the community schemes.

Non-shingles patients were given a three month grace period, in which their GP could move them to other treatments or apply for continued reimbursement. However, from 1 December 2017, non-shingles patients were no longer automatically reimbursed under the community drugs schemes.

In order for non-shingles patients to receive the patch through the community schemes, their GP must apply online for continued reimbursement approval. If an application is refused, the GP may appeal, making a clinical case for the patient. The HSE advises that the turnaround time for applications is three working days and for appeals it is five days.

As of 16 February, approximately 1,500 post-shingles patients have been approved, and the plaster is being provided to those patients in the normal manner.

Another 4784 non-shingles patients were registered by their GP, and 14% of these patients, 670 people, have been approved. In addition, 284 online appeals have been made, including patients who were never registered, and over 65% of these patients have been approved.

Over 2300 patients are now approved for the plaster in the drug schemes, with more than 850, over one third, approved for use other than post-shingles pain, based on the clinical case made by the GP.

It is clear that this new process supports appropriate use and prescribing and both post-shingles patients and other appropriate cases can continue to be treated with lidocaine plasters.

The introduction of the new approval system was flagged in August 2017, when details of the proposed changes were circulated by the HSE to prescribers and pharmacies. This advice has been re-issued in the last week, and information for patients and practitioners is on the HSE Medicines Management Programme website. (http://hse.ie/eng/about/Who/clinical/natclinprog/medicinemanagementprogramme/yourmedicines/lidocaine-plaster/lidocaine-medicated-plaster.html).

This decision is a matter for the HSE. However, I fully support the objectives of the HSE Medicines Management Programme.

Ambulance Service Data

Ceisteanna (480)

John Brassil

Ceist:

480. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the number of phone calls to the ambulance service made from the Millstreet district in each of the years 2014 to 2017 and to date in 2018; the number of these responded to by the Killarney ambulance, by month, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9926/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Cannabis for Medicinal Use

Ceisteanna (481)

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

481. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health the difficulties in relation to importing a product (details supplied) which has been prescribed for a person under special licence and for which the parent needs to travel regularly to the Netherlands to collect; the HSE's plans to reimburse the medication costs through the long-term illness or alternative scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9928/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As Minister for Health, I have issued 5 licences for cannabis-based products for medical use by named patients. This allows for the importation of these products from other countries, including The Netherlands. There are no difficulties in importing such products on foot of a valid Ministerial licence.

However, there may be issues in some countries with the exporting of cannabis-based products. This is a matter for the authorities of the exporting country.

In relation to the reimbursement of cannabis-based products under the community drug schemes, officials in my Department are currently considering funding proposals for an access programme for these products.