Healthcare Infrastructure Provision

Ceisteanna (333)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

333. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Health the status of an extension and redevelopment at a hospital (details supplied). [5047/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects and has advised that a planning application for this project was submitted in December 2018. The HSE is currently awaiting the outcome of the planning application.

HSE Expenditure

Ceisteanna (334)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

334. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the amount spent under the winter plan purchasing additional capacity in private hospitals; the number of and the length of time beds were purchased for use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5051/19]

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.

HSE Staff Data

Ceisteanna (335)

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

335. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Health if he has received a pay and numbers strategy from the HSE; if so, the key details of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5052/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

My Department is engaging closely with the HSE on this matter and it is hoped that the final pay and numbers strategy will be submitted by the HSE in the near future.

Hospitals Data

Ceisteanna (336, 337, 338)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

336. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of beds in the National Rehabilitation Hospital; the number occupied, empty and closed, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5055/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

337. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health if funding issues are causing beds at the National Rehabilitation Hospital to remain empty and not staffed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5056/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

338. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on the waiting list for the National Rehabilitation Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5057/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 336 to 338, inclusive, 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.

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.

Hospitals Data

Ceisteanna (339)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

339. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of medical facilities including maternity theatres, hospital wards, surgical theatres and so on nationally which are not operational or have been closed due to staff shortages or funding issues; the location of same; the cost of maintenance, security, cleaning and so on; the length of time they have been closed or non-operational; the reason they are not in operation in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5058/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Cancer Screening Programmes

Ceisteanna (340)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

340. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the status of the BreastCheck mobile units which will cease screening in several areas in 2019 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5059/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

BreastCheck provides free mammograms to eligible women across the country. While BreastCheck has four fixed locations, much of the service is provided through mobile units that move from one location to another on an on-going basis, returning to a region every two years.

The date on which screening will end at a particular location is updated regularly on the BreastCheck website and publicised locally. Mobile units return to the same area (often to the same site where the location is suitable and available) in the following screening round.

Mental Health Services Staff

Ceisteanna (341)

James Browne

Ceist:

341. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the number of non-specialist mental health consultants working on a permanent, temporary or locum basis in each CHO; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5061/19]

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 Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (342)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

342. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will receive an appointment. [5064/19]

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.

Cancer Screening Programmes

Ceisteanna (343)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

343. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health if financial provision is being made available for the 6,000 women who will need to have a retest carried out following a previous smear test the results of which were deemed to be unreliable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5072/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I take it that the Deputy is referring to the cost of a smear retest following the issue that has arisen in relation to secondary HPV testing.

Where low grade changes are detected on a cervical smear test, a second, so-called ‘triage test’ – which looks for the HPV virus – is carried out by laboratories. If HPV is found, women are recommended to attend for further testing. If HPV is not found, women are recommended to attend for routine screening again in 3-5 years. In the test used by the laboratory concerned, the manufacturer’s recommendation is that the test for HPV should be carried out within 30 days of the sample having been given by a woman.

The HSE has advised that clinical research shows that HPV tests remain effective even when they are performed outside the recommended timeframe and that there is little risk of inaccuracy due to the issue that Quest has identified. While the clinical advice is that the risk is very low, the HSE nevertheless is inviting the affected women to have a retest to provide assurance both to women and to the HSE.

I can confirm that, in cases where the HSE is inviting the affected women to have a repeat screening test due to the testing of their sample outside the manufacturers recommended timeframe, these tests will be provided free of charge and will be processed by the laboratory as a priority.

Mental Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (344)

James Browne

Ceist:

344. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the development and expansion of a mental health service (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5077/19]

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.

Health Promotion

Ceisteanna (345)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

345. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health his plans to improve the breastfeeding regime and supports that operate in workplaces in general; the particular reforms planned for the HSE as an employer for improved supports for HSE workers who are breastfeeding; and the details of specific timelines. [5101/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the question relates to service matters it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (346)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

346. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the capital projects, including information technology and equipment, the commencement date of which has been postponed, delayed or dropped as a result of the overruns in spending on the national children’s hospital by project, original commencement date and new commencement date in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5102/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Health Service Executive is currently developing its Capital Plan for 2019. The HSE Capital Plan will determine the projects that can progress in 2019 and beyond having regard to the available capital funding, the number of large national capital projects currently underway and the relevant priority of each project. The requirements of the new children's hospital and other health capital projects, currently at various stages of development, are being considered as part of this process. Once the HSE has finalised its Capital Plan for 2019, it will then be submitted to me for consideration.

General Practitioner Contracts

Ceisteanna (347)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

347. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 208 of 1 February 2017, the liability of medical card holders to pay for blood tests carried out at their general practitioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5105/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Under the terms of the current GMS contract, GPs are required to provide eligible patients with ''all proper and necessary treatment of a kind usually undertaken by a general practitioner and not requiring special skill or experience of a degree or kind which general practitioners cannot reasonably be expected to possess." 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 some GPs are charging 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 should report the matter to their HSE Local Health Office.

General Practitioner Contracts

Ceisteanna (348)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

348. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health the status of the progress being made in respect of general practitioner contract negotiations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5106/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Government is committed to engaging with GP representatives on the development of modernised GP contractual arrangements.

Talks between the State and the Irish Medical Organisation resumed in October 2018 and there was intensive engagement, particularly in the weeks leading up to Christmas. While some progress was made, there are a number of outstanding issues that need to be progressed before any agreement can be secured.

The State’s negotiating team is keen to bring a renewed focus to the engagement with the IMO and talks are continuing in an effort to bring matters to a conclusion.

I look forward to positive and productive engagement with all parties concerned. Agreement on the delivery of service improvements and contractual reform would facilitate a very substantial increase in the resourcing of general practice on a multi annual basis.

In line with the long-established approach to such processes, and by agreement of the parties concerned, I am not in position to give further details while engagement between the parties is under way.

Medical Card Drugs Availability

Ceisteanna (349)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

349. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health if consideration has been given to making food supplements and vitamins available under the medical card scheme in circumstances in which they have been recommended by a doctor and are necessary for the health of the person; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5123/19]

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 pricing and reimbursement of the community drug schemes; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Abortion Services Provision

Ceisteanna (350)

Joan Collins

Ceist:

350. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Health if he has received a report from the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital to clarify the decision of the medical team not to terminate a pregnancy on the grounds that the pregnancy was not a fatal foetal abnormality. [5124/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Deputy is aware, the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 was signed into law by the President on 20 December 2018, and services for termination of pregnancy commenced on 1 January 2019.

I am aware of the case to which the Deputy refers; however, it would not be appropriate for me, as Minister for Health, to comment on any individual case.

I am advised that the Coombe Hospital is currently providing terminations in emergency situations and in cases of fatal foetal abnormality. It is due to begin providing terminations up to 12 weeks of pregnancy in the week beginning the 4th of February.

Section 11 of the Act sets out the law on access to termination of pregnancy in cases where there is a condition present affecting the foetus that is likely to lead to the death of the foetus before or within 28 days of birth.

The operation of the legislation is entirely a matter for attending clinicians. Neither the Minister nor the Department of Health has any role in the medical management of cases. Where a patient requires care not available in a particular location, the patient should be transferred to a hospital/service where the necessary care is available.

The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 makes provision for women in cases where a medical practitioner has not given an opinion or has given an opinion that would not lead to certification for termination of pregnancy to be carried out. Section 13 of the Act provides that the woman, or a person acting on her behalf, may make an application to the HSE for a review of the relevant decision. Within 3 days of receiving such an application, the HSE must convene a committee of medical practitioners to review the relevant decision. The committee must complete its review not later than 7 days from the date on which it was established.

The National Women and Infants Health Programme continues to engage with the Dublin Midlands Health Group and the Coombe Hospital regarding termination of pregnancy service provision.