Mental Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (328)

Mick Wallace

Ceist:

328. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Health the sale prices and dates of sale for each lot that comprised the former St. Senan's Hospital and associated lands in Enniscorthy; if the moneys achieved by the sales were ring-fenced for mental health services in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41046/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Government policy as set out in ‘A Vision for Change’ is that proceeds from the sale of older mental health assets, such as St. Senan's, will be reinvested in new developments within mental health.

I understand new replacement accommodation has already been delivered for all the mental health care services provided from St Senan's and the delivery of health services has been discontinued at the St Senan's site.

The use of the sales proceeds from the disposal of St. Senan's will be subject to sanction from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. It would be intended that the proceeds of the sale of this property will be invested in much needed mental health and other facilities in addition to the very significant Exchequer funding required to maintain and improve health infrastructure.

As the management of the healthcare property estate is a service matter, your question has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Ceisteanna (329)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

329. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health if access to new treatments for MS patients (details supplied) will be introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41051/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE has statutory responsibility for medicine pricing and reimbursement decisions, in accordance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. The Act specifies the criteria for decisions on the reimbursement of medicines. As Minister for Health, I do not have any statutory power or function in relation to the reimbursement of medicines.

In line with the 2013 Act, if a company would like a medicine to be reimbursed by the HSE through the community drugs schemes, it must first submit an application to the HSE to have the new medicine added to the reimbursement list.

As outlined in the 2016 Framework Agreement with the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA), and in line with the 2013 Act, the HSE will decide, within 180 days of receiving the application (or a longer period if further information is sought from the company), whether to add the medicine to the reimbursement list, agree to reimburse it as a hospital medicine, or refuse to reimburse it.

HSE decisions on which medicines are reimbursed by the taxpayer are made on objective, scientific and economic grounds, on the advice of the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE).

The NCPE conducts health technology assessments (HTAs) for the HSE, and makes recommendations on reimbursement to assist HSE decisions. The NCPE uses a decision framework to systematically assess whether a drug is cost-effective as a health intervention.

The HSE strives to reach a decision in as timely a manner as possible. However, because of the significant monies involved, it must ensure that the best price is achieved, as these commitments are often multi-million euro investments on an on-going basis. This can lead to a protracted deliberation process.

I am keen to engage with industry and to explore ways in which new medicines might be more easily introduced in Ireland. However, any innovative approaches that may be tabled must be compatible with the statutory provisions which are in place and must also recognise the context of finite Exchequer resources.

I have indicated a willingness to meet with MS Ireland and a mutually convenient date has been agreed provisionally in the coming weeks.

Diabetes Strategy

Ceisteanna (330)

Joe Carey

Ceist:

330. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Health the next steps as determined by the HSE in finger test strip utilisation monitoring with respect to the management of patients with diabetes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41052/18]

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (331)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

331. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Health the status of a medical appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41054/18]

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, since 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.

Drug and Alcohol Task Forces

Ceisteanna (332)

John Curran

Ceist:

332. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health the progress he has made to develop a performance measurement system which will improve accountability across local and regional drug task forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41079/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Measuring the overall effectiveness of the response to the drug problem is an important objective of drug policy. Resources are best directed towards interventions and strategies which are most likely to lead to a reduction in problem substance use and an improvement in public health, safety and well-being.

The national drugs strategy, Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery, commits to operationalising a performance measurement system by 2020. The system is primarily concerned with the overall effects of implementing the drugs strategy at a population level, including the effects on the health, well-being and quality of life of people living in areas served by the Drug and Alcohol Task Forces (DATFs).

Work is ongoing in the Department, in association with key stakeholders, on the revision of the 'Task Force Handbook'. It is intended that the revised handbook will contribute to improving the overall governance and accountability of Task Forces. This work is an important preliminary step in the development of a performance measurement system.

The performance measurement system incorporates a resource allocation model to enable DATF funding to be allocated on a more equitable and rational basis, which takes account of underlying need in local areas and targets those communities which face a higher risk of substance misuse. The criteria to be used to determine the allocation of resources to Task Forces will be developed in consultation with key stakeholders, including DATFs.

Drug Treatment Programmes

Ceisteanna (333)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

333. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if he will address issues raised in correspondence (details supplied) regarding the opioid overdose medication Naloxone; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41085/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Drug-related overdoses and other forms of avoidable mortality associated with drug use are a major concern for the national drugs strategy. This is where the greatest share of health costs associated with drug use arises and where the largest potential benefits from effective intervention can be achieved. The provision of targeted preventative responses for drug users vulnerable to overdose is thus a key objective of the strategy, in order to reduce drug-related deaths.

Naloxone is an antidote used to reverse the effects of opioid drugs like heroin, morphine and methadone, if someone overdoses. In 2015 the HSE established a Naloxone Demonstration Project, which involved 600 patients receiving take-home Naloxone and the provision of training to lay persons, such as the family and friends of a drug user, in the administration of a Naloxone injection to overdose victims.

The demonstration project prevented many fatal overdoses for the individuals involved. The HSE is working to expand the Naloxone programme and will work on training more people in the use of Naloxone, increasing its accessibility and availability.

Naloxone is a prescription-only medicine that ordinarily can only be supplied on foot of a prescription. There is nothing to prevent a doctor from carrying this medicine, and similarly the friends and family of someone at risk from an overdose, if it has been prescribed to the person at risk. The HSE report no difficulties with the prescribing practice associated with the programme.

I am committed to expanding the availability of Naloxone to people who use drugs, their peers and family members.

Diabetes Strategy

Ceisteanna (334)

Joe Carey

Ceist:

334. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Health if the finger test strip utilisation monitoring is indicating a cost or a saving over the six months since the FreeStyle Libre reimbursement scheme was launched on 3 April 2018 to young persons with type 1 diabetes aged between five and 21 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41091/18]

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.

Diabetes Strategy

Ceisteanna (335)

Joe Carey

Ceist:

335. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Health the way in which persons who have qualified for the use of the FreeStyle Libre device and now turn 22 years of age are to be treated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41092/18]

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.

Hospital Charges

Ceisteanna (336)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

336. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the way in which he will abolish inpatient charges for patients receiving treatment for cancer; when these charges will be abolished; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41095/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Health Act 1970 (as amended) provides that all people ordinarily resident in the country are entitled, subject to certain charges, to public in-patient hospital services including consultant services and to public out-patient hospital services. Under the Health (Amendment) Act 2013, a person who has been referred to a hospital for an in-patient service, including that provided on a day case basis, will have to pay the statutory daily charge, currently €80 per day, up to a maximum of €800 per year. Such charges do not apply to medical card holders.

On this basis, where treatment for cancer is classed as a day case procedure and is not carried out in an out-patient setting, the public in-patient charge applies.

Patient Data

Ceisteanna (337)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

337. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the number of persons receiving inpatient treatment for cancer who do not qualify for a medical card and do not have private health insurance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41096/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly.

Pharmacy Regulations

Ceisteanna (338)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

338. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Health if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding pharmaceutical assistants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41101/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Pharmacy Act 2007 established the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) and the functions of the Society are set out in the Act. The functions of the PSI are carried out on its behalf by the Council of the Society.

Section 30 of the Act provides for an exception to the general provision in the Act which requires the sale and supply of medicines at a pharmacy to be conducted under the personal supervision of a registered pharmacist, and specifies that no offence is committed where a registered pharmaceutical assistant “acts on behalf of a registered pharmacist during the temporary absence of the registered pharmacist”.

Section 30 also permits the Council to make rules as to:

1. What may or may not be done by a registered pharmaceutical assistant when acting on behalf of a registered pharmacist; and

2. What constitutes the temporary absence of a registered pharmacist.

On June 21, the Council of the Society approved for issuance for public consultation the proposed draft Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (Temporary Absence of Pharmacist from Pharmacy) Rules 2018. This public consultation commenced on 17 July and ran until 14 August and afforded any interested party the opportunity to make representations on the matter directly to the PSI.

Following completion of the public consultation phase, the Council of the PSI considered the proposed draft Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (Temporary Absence of Pharmacist from Pharmacy) Rules 2018 at its meeting on the 20 September 2018 where Council approved the draft rules without amendment.

Correspondence outlining the concerns of registered pharmaceutical assistants has been received by my Department. My role in relation to this process is limited to the consideration of any such Rules once submitted for my approval. I must consider any Rules presented to me from a fair and impartial perspective, without prejudice or prejudgement. This includes consideration of concerns raised by, or on behalf of, registered pharmaceutical assistants.

I await the receipt of the Rules for my consideration from the PSI and until that time, I am unfortunately not in a position to comment any further on the matter raised.

Disease Incidence

Ceisteanna (339)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

339. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health if annual data on the number of persons presenting and being diagnosed with Lyme disease is being recorded; the steps he has taken to address any increases in cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41115/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) is responsible for the surveillance of notifiable infectious diseases such as Lyme disease. The HPSC website (www.hpsc.ie) gives extensive information on Lyme disease diagnosis, treatment and how to avoid tick bites.

As this PQ refers to service issues regarding Lyme disease, I have referred it to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Medical Card Reviews

Ceisteanna (340)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

340. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) will be refunded for medication the person purchased while the person's medical card was being reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41116/18]

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.

Disability Services Data

Ceisteanna (341)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

341. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health the level of unmet personal assistant hours; the level of met personal assistant hours; his plans to undertake research on the matter in order that planning for future budgets can be costed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41120/18]

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.

Medical Aids and Appliances Applications Data

Ceisteanna (342)

Patrick O'Donovan

Ceist:

342. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Health the number of children waiting to be fitted for shoes, pedro boots and insoles for same by county (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41121/18]

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.

International Programmes

Ceisteanna (343)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

343. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Health if he plans to continue with Ireland's participation in the human biomonitoring programme DEMOCOPHES; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41123/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Ireland's participation in DEMOCOPHES (DEMOnstration of a study to COordinate and Perform Human biomonitoring on a European Scale) ended in November 2012 when the project came to a conclusion. The milestones and key findings of DEMOCOPHES are explained in the final report available at the following website: eu-hbm.info/euresult/media-corner/press-kit.

Ireland has continued its participation in the human biomonitoring sphere by its involvement in an initiative called ‘HBM4EU’. The main aim of this initiative is to coordinate and advance human biomonitoring in Europe so as to provide better evidence of the actual exposure of citizens to chemicals. HBM4EU runs for five years, from 2017 to 2021.

Rare Diseases

Ceisteanna (344)

Michael Harty

Ceist:

344. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Health the progress of the rare diseases medical product technology review committee; the drugs that have been referred to it by the HSE; the way in which it is scheduling or prioritising the review of each drug; the number of drugs it expects to review in 2018; the timelines associated with reviewing medicines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41125/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the question refers to the National Rare Disease Technology Review Committee it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.