Treatment Abroad Scheme

Ceisteanna (109)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

109. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health the number of persons that have availed of the treatment abroad scheme for the purposes of sexual reassignment surgery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25742/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Assisted Animal Reproduction

Ceisteanna (110)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

110. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health if his Department has investigated or given policy consideration to the potential for exploitation associated with the provision of surrogacy services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25743/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government approved the drafting of a Bill on assisted human reproduction (AHR) and associated areas of research in October last year. Officials in my Department are engaging with the Office of the Attorney General in relation to the process of drafting this Bill.

The specific provisions relating to surrogacy are outlined in Part 6 of the General Scheme. These provisions outline the specific conditions under which surrogacy in Ireland will be permitted, including a requirement for all surrogacy agreements to be pre-authorised by the AHR Regulatory Authority. The Scheme also sets out a court-based mechanism through which the parentage of a child born through surrogacy may be transferred from the surrogate (and her husband, if applicable) to the intending parent(s).

Commercial surrogacy raises a number of concerns relating to the welfare and commodification of the children involved as well as the potential risks of coercion and exploitation of financially vulnerable women to act as surrogates. In light of this the General Scheme explicitly prohibits commercial surrogacy being conducted in Ireland.

The aim of the AHR legislation is to promote and ensure the health and safety of parents, others involved in the process (such as donors and surrogates) and, most importantly, the children who will be born as a result of AHR. Consideration of the welfare and best interests of children born through AHR is a key principle underpinning the Scheme.

Medical Card Reviews

Ceisteanna (111)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

111. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health his plans to grant long-term medical cards to persons suffering from lifelong spinal injuries; if proposals have been received from an organisation (details supplied) in relation to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25752/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE's Expert Group on Medical Need and Medical Card Eligibility examined the issue of awarding medical cards on the basis of illness and concluded that it was not feasible, desirable, nor ethically justifiable to list medical conditions in priority order for medical card eligibility. The Expert Group also concluded that a person’s means should remain the main qualifier for a medical card. This position remains unchanged.

Medical card provision is based on financial assessment. 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. 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. Where the applicant's income is within the income guidelines, a medical card or GP visit card will be awarded.

Every effort is made by the HSE, within the framework of the legislation, to support applicants in applying for a medical card and, in particular, to take full account of the difficult circumstances in the case of applicants who may be in excess of the income guidelines. It should be noted, in certain circumstances, the HSE may exercise discretion and grant a medical card, even though an applicant exceeds his or her 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.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (112)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

112. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied) in Galway Regional Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25755/18]

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 National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

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

Medicinal Products

Ceisteanna (113)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

113. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to suspicions in relation to a product (details supplied) used in the treatment of diabetes; if it has been withdrawn; when pharmacists were informed of its withdrawal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25756/18]

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.

Occupational Therapy Provision

Ceisteanna (114)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

114. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the waiting times for occupational therapy for children with dyspraxia by county in each of the years 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25764/18]

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.

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 Data

Ceisteanna (115)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

115. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health the number of respite beds available in Waterford city and county for young persons between 1 and 18 years of age with intellectual disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25766/18]

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 Data

Ceisteanna (116)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

116. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health his plans to extend the amount of respite care available to older persons and those with intellectual disabilities in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25767/18]

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.

Hospital Appointments Administration

Ceisteanna (117)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

117. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) is waiting so long for an appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25768/18]

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 National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

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

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (118)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

118. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Clare will receive an appointment for a hip operation at University Hospital Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25773/18]

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 National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

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

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (119)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

119. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health if an early date will be set for a knee operation at WRH for a person (details supplied). [25778/18]

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 National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

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

Long-Term Illness Scheme Coverage

Ceisteanna (120)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

120. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health his plans to include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on the long-term illness card (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25796/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The LTI Scheme was established under Section 59(3) of the Health Act 1970 (as amended). The conditions covered by the LTI are: acute leukaemia; mental handicap; cerebral palsy; mental illness (in a person under 16); cystic fibrosis; multiple sclerosis; diabetes insipidus; muscular dystrophies; diabetes mellitus; parkinsonism; epilepsy; phenylketonuria; haemophilia; spina bifida; hydrocephalus; and conditions arising from the use of Thalidomide. Under the LTI Scheme, patients receive drugs, medicines, and medical and surgical appliances directly related to the treatment of their illness, free of charge.

There are no plans to extend the list of conditions covered by the Scheme.

Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (121)

James Browne

Ceist:

121. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health if the case of a person (details supplied) in County Wexford will be examined in view of the need for an urgent medical procedure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25798/18]

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 National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

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

Vaccination Programme

Ceisteanna (122)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

122. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health the number and type of seizures and suspected adverse reactions to the HPV vaccine reported to the HPRA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25807/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The information that the Deputy seeks in relation to the number and type of seizures and suspected adverse reactions to the HPV vaccine is not readily available. Therefore, I have asked the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) to investigate the matter and reply directly to the Deputy.

The HPRA is responsible for monitoring the safety and quality of all medicines including vaccines that are licensed in Ireland and operates a national adverse reaction reporting system, which members of the public and healthcare professionals are encouraged to submit any suspected adverse reactions through this system. All Reports received by the HPRA are routinely transmitted to the European Medicines Agency’s adverse reaction database for inclusion in global signal detection and monitoring activities.

HIV-AIDS Programmes

Ceisteanna (123)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

123. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health his views on the HSE promotional campaign for the HPV vaccine which contains captions such as armed for life and protect our future and states that the HPV vaccine protects girls from getting cervical cancer when they are older in view of information (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25808/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Immunisation is regarded as one of the safest and most cost-effective of all health care interventions. It is also one of the most effective ways a parent can protect the health of their child.

Worldwide cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women and HPV immunisation is an important part of our childhood immunisation programmes which protects women from developing cancer later in their lives. Ninety nine percent of cervical cancer is caused by persistent infection of certain high risk types of the Human Papillomavirus, which is acquired during sexual contact.

HPV is the most common infection transmitted by intimate or sexual contact in the world. Approximately 50 to 80% of people who are sexually active contract some form of HPV at least once in their lifetime. There are over 100 types of HPV. Around 40 types of HPV can infect the genital tract. Some of these are low-risk types which cause genital warts, while others are high-risk types that are associated with the development of various cancers such as cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, anus, penis and throat.

Cervical cancer impacts the lives of a large number of women in Ireland every year. It is the second most common cause of death due to cancer in women aged 25 to 39 years. In 2018 more than 90 Irish women will die from cervical cancer. A further 280 women will need intensive treatment, such as surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy, to help them overcome invasive cervical cancer. Unfortunately, 4 in 10 of these women will die within 5 years. A further 6,500 women will need hospital treatment to remove precancerous changes in the cervix.

We are all aware of the old saying that prevention is better than cure, and this is especially true of cervical cancer. In September 2010 the HPV vaccination programme was introduced for all girls in first year of second level schools. In 2011 a catch up programme commenced for all girls in second level school and was completed in 2014. Uptake rates for the HPV vaccine peaked at 87% in 2014/15 and have fallen since then.

There are 2 licensed HPV vaccines available in Ireland - Gardasil and Cervarix. Gardasil is the vaccine used by the HSE in the Schools Immunisation Programme. It provides protection against two high-risk HPV types that cause 70% of cervical cancers and pre-cancers, and two HPV types that cause 90% of genital warts. It has been licensed worldwide since 2006 and is used in over 25 European countries, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The introduction of HPV immunisation has had a significant impact in many parts of the world. Countries with high vaccine uptake rates have seen the highest impact: In Scotland where 90% of girls have been vaccinated since 2008 there has been a 90% fall in HPV infections in vaccinated girls. Precancerous growths of the cervix have been reduced by more than 50% in countries such as Australia, Sweden and Scotland. Finland recently published the evidence that HPV immunisation protects against invasive HPV-associated cancer.

One of the most important things we can do is to provide accurate and credible information to enable parents to make a fully informed decision concerning HPV vaccination. The HSE National Immunisation Office has developed a comprehensive range of materials for parents, schools and medical practitioners as part of the immunisation programme. The HPV website has been endorsed by the WHO. The HPV Vaccine Information Campaign helps parents access trusted sources of information. This campaign will be supported through social and digital media activity and local and national radio advertisements.

The initial evidence suggests that this campaign is having a positive effect. Provisional figures show uptake rates have increased by 11% this year to 62%. While this increase is very welcome, we must continue to work to get back to we were before. As recently as the 2014/15 academic year the uptake rate for HPV was 87%.

This Government fully supports the HPV immunisation programme and recognises its benefits. We must continue to focus on increasing uptake rates as the best way of reducing cervical cancer, and I would encourage the parents of all eligible girls to ensure that their daughters receive this important vaccine.

Hospital Waiting Lists Data

Ceisteanna (124)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

124. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Health the average waiting times for cataract surgery in County Limerick; the challenges adding to the waiting time; the solutions being put forward; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25814/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital operations and procedures is a key priority for the Government.

The recently launched Inpatient/Day Case Action Plan outlines the combined impact of HSE and National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) activity in 2018. The Action Plan places a particular focus on cataract surgery and includes a commitment that the NTPF will provide 5,000 cataract procedures to patients. In addition, the NTPF commits to offer treatment to all clinically suitable patients waiting more than 9 months for a cataract procedure. Under the IPDC Action Plan 2018 sustainable solutions for Cataract treatment in the public hospitals will also be delivered in 2018 with the planned opening of a Cataract theatre in Nenagh Hospital in July.

In relation to the waiting times for cataract surgery in County Limerick, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Medicinal Products Availability

Ceisteanna (125)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

125. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 198 of 28 March 2018, the status of the process of negotiations for the funding of the drug Translarna; the definition of a timely manner as stated in the response; if consideration will be given to engaging with the drug provider to provide information on the steps the resubmission process would involve for the drug provider; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the meeting he held with an organisation (details supplied) and the HSE occurred six months ago and that affected families are distressed by the apparent lack of progress being made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25823/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Health Service Executive has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicines under the community drug schemes, in accordance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. The 2013 Act does not give the Minister for Health any powers in this regard.

The Act specifies the criteria to be applied in making reimbursement decisions, which include the clinical and cost effectiveness of the product, the opportunity cost and the impact on resources available to the HSE.

In July 2017, the HSE informed the Department that, following an intensive process, it decided not to reimburse Ataluren (Translarna) for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The HSE, in deciding not to reimburse Altaluren, did not consider that the evidence for its clinical benefit was sufficiently strong, in the context of the proposed cost and budget impact.

The HSE informed the applicant of this decision, in keeping with the 2013 Act. The applicant has appealed the HSE’s decision to the High Court, which is part of the statutory process under Section 27 of the 2013 Act.

As you are aware, a meeting took place on 11 December 2017 with two representatives from Muscular Dystrophy Ireland, Dr O'Rourke and HSE and Departmental officials.

Following from this meeting, the HSE advised the applicant that it is willing to complete a timely review of any new application. It is open to the company to make revised proposals in relation to pricing or access in this context.

The HSE has notified the company that it is ready and willing to review any new application, irrespective of the ongoing court proceedings.

Home Care Packages Data

Ceisteanna (126)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

126. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of legislating to place the provision of home help hours and homecare packages for elderly citizens as per current HSE qualification criteria on a statutory footing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25824/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Improving home-care services so that people can continue to live with confidence, dignity and security in their own homes for as long as possible is a key commitment of the Government. To support this, the Department of Health is currently engaged in the development of a new stand-alone statutory scheme for the financing and regulation of home-care. This will introduce clear rules in relation to the services for which individuals are eligible and in relation to service-allocation. It will therefore be an important step in ensuring that the system operates in a consistent and fair manner and will help to improve access to home-care services on an affordable and sustainable basis. The introduction of a system of regulation for home-care will help to ensure public confidence in the services provided.

The development of a new home care scheme is a complex undertaking which will involve significant legislative, operational and financial resources. A significant amount of detailed work remains to be undertaken before final decisions are taken on the form of a home care scheme and the regulation of these services. Work in relation to the cost of the new statutory scheme is ongoing as part of this process.

However, on the basis of current demand and demographic projections, it is likely that increased investment will be required to support the implementation of the new statutory scheme. The HSE home-care services budget for 2018 is €408 million, which it is anticipated will support the delivery of 17.094m hours of home support to 50,500 people. It is expected that there will be a significant increase in demand for home-care over the coming years. Furthermore home-care service-users have increasingly complex care-needs and there are sustained cost-pressures within the sector which are likely to inflate in the coming years.

In relation to the request for an estimated cost I have asked the HSE to correspond directly with the Deputy to advise on the cost of servicing the current wait list for Home Help and Home Care Packages under the rules of the current scheme.

Positive Ageing Strategy

Ceisteanna (127)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

127. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the status of the implementation of the national positive ageing strategy; the parts of this strategy that have been implemented; the parts which remain to be implemented; and the cost of implementing the remaining parts. [25825/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The National Positive Ageing Strategy (NPAS) published in 2013 provides a framework for cooperation to address age-related policy and service delivery across Government and society in the years ahead. The strategy is intended to promote older people’s health and wellbeing so that older people can continue to contribute to social, economic, cultural, and family life in their own communities for as long as possible. The strategy highlights that ageing is not just a health issue, but rather requires a whole of Government approach to address a range of social, economic, and environmental factors that affect the health and wellbeing of our ageing citizens.

Many of the objectives included in this Strategy are quite broad and can be viewed as a set of principles to which Government has committed, and which will inform policies that affect older people on an indefinite basis into the future, rather than concrete objectives that can be delivered in the short term.

New arrangements to implement and monitor implementation of NPAS were approved by the Cabinet Committee on Social Policy and Public Service Reform in 2016. The revised approach recommits to the core principles of the strategy, establishes a mechanism to give stakeholder groups effective and ongoing access to bodies and agencies relevant to older people through an annual forum for stakeholders, and monitors the effect of the implementation process through the publication on a regular basis of a Positive Ageing National Indicators Report.

The inaugural stakeholder forum took place in 2017. Stakeholders were asked to identify key priorities to propose to Government to consider for its focus in the coming year. Through this forum, clear channels of communication between the stakeholder representative group and relevant Government Departments to discuss these priorities have been facilitated by the Department of Health. Based on the success of and interest in the forum, plans are currently advancing to hold another stakeholder forum in 2018.

The strategy comprises four national goals, developed to address key aspects of older people’s lives. The four goals, and examples of progress to date thereunder, follow.

National Goal 1:

- Remove barriers to participation and provide more opportunities for the continued involvement of people as they age in all aspects of cultural, economic, and social life in their communities according to their needs, preferences, and capacities.

A key objective under this goal is to promote the concept of active citizenship and to encourage people of all ages to become more involved in their communities. Age Friendly, an organisation whose remit it is to help to create an inclusive, equitable society in which older people can live full, active, valued, and healthy lives under the guidance of the National Positive Ageing Strategy, have been very successful to date in this area. Age Friendly is a World Health Organisation inspired movement which embraces the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population. In Ireland each of the 31 local authorities have signed up to the Age Friendly Programme. Older People’s Councils have been set up and are running throughout Ireland as part of this programme, as well, ensuring a voice for older people in local government and community concerns. Implementation on this front does not rest with Age Friendly alone; there are many NGOs engaged in making Ireland a better country in which to grow old and they do so with the objectives of the National Positive Ageing Strategy informing their work.

National Goal 2:

- Support people as they age to maintain, improve, or manage their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

The National Positive Ageing Strategy is strongly embedded within the vision and actions set out for Healthy Ireland, the Government-led initiative which aims to create an Irish society where people of all ages can enjoy good physical and mental health, and where wellbeing is supported at every level of society. The Healthy Ireland Framework was launched in 2013 and seeks to provide people and communities with accurate information on how to improve their health and wellbeing and to make the healthy choices easier choices. Healthy Ireland takes a whole-of-Government and whole-of-society approach to improving health and wellbeing and the quality of people’s lives and a number of new structures have been put in place to ensure that all sectors of society are given opportunities to participate.

Commitments within Government that further the strategy in relation to health and wellbeing include the development of a statutory scheme for homecare, which will aim to improve access to the homecare services that people need in an affordable and sustainable way, thus enabling people to continue to live in their own homes for as long as possible.

National Goal 3:

- Enable people to age with confidence, security, and dignity in their own homes and communities for as long as possible.

Across communities many initiatives, strategies, and schemes are in place that firmly support this goal. One such is An Garda Síochána Older People Strategy, which aims to ensure the policing needs of older people in Ireland are met to the highest standards. This supports the objective of empowering people to live free from fear in their homes and communities, as they age. With regards to facilitating older people to live in homes which are suitable to their physical and social needs, the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government and the Department of Health are consulting, through a Joint Committee on Housing and Health, on a framework for supported housing, to facilitate people to age well and healthily in place.

National Goal 4:

- Support and use research about people as they age to better inform policy responses to population ageing in Ireland.

As part of the strategy implementation process, a Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative (HaPAI) has been established in collaboration with the HSE’s Health and Wellbeing Programme and the Atlantic Philanthropies to measure the impact of the strategy and establish an on-going system for measuring and reporting on Positive Ageing. The Initiative monitors changes in older people’s health and wellbeing linked to the goals and objectives of the National Positive Ageing Strategy. This is done primarily through the development of Positive Ageing indicators which are published every two years. The initiative is intended to provide evidence of the factors contributing to positive ageing, including at local level and ultimately inform policy responses to population ageing in Ireland. The first Positive Ageing National Indicators Report was published in November 2016 and highlights many of the positive and negative aspects of growing old in Ireland. The second Positive Ageing National Indicators report is due to be published later this year.

With regards to the cost of implementing the strategy, the HSE provide funding to many organisations that work with older people and further the objectives of the strategy. This funding is ongoing by its nature, as the strategy and the goals therein are intended as direction for future engagement for the continued promotion of older people’s health and wellbeing.

Autism Support Services

Ceisteanna (128)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

128. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Health if an application by a person (details supplied) for an autism assistance dog will be investigated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25831/18]

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.

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.

Departmental Programmes

Ceisteanna (129)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

129. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the budgetary outlay provided to fund a programme (details supplied) in Walkinstown, County Dublin; and the estimated amount that would be required to roll out the programme to each county. [25832/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The WALK Peer Programme operated by WALK, Walkinstown, falls under the remit of the Department for Employment Affairs and Social Protection. I understand that WALK has successfully applied for funding under that Department's Ability Programme and has now secured funding for the next three years.

Home Care Packages Data

Ceisteanna (130)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

130. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the number of home help hours and home care packages provided to elderly persons; the number of recipients that received the packages; the average price per person for provision of the packages; and the average number of hours provided to these recipients in the past five years in tabular form. [25836/18]

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.

Medical Card Administration

Ceisteanna (131)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

131. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the case of a person (details supplied) who has been waiting a significant amount of time to have their medical card application processed; the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25838/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Medical Card Reviews

Ceisteanna (132)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

132. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) was not informed that their medical card was being reviewed prior to the date of expiry of the card; the further reason that they were not informed that their medical card was revoked following the review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25839/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Medical Card Reviews

Ceisteanna (133)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

133. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Health the review process for medical card holders whose cards have not expired; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25840/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly