Question No. 387 answered with Question No. 69.

Medicinal Products

Ceisteanna (388)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

388. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health his plans to address costs and commercialisation of medicines as outlined by an organisation (details supplied); if consideration has been given to finding a sustainable solution to these challenges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5304/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Medicines play a vital role in improving the overall health of Irish patients. Securing access to new and innovative medicines in a timely manner is a key objective of the Irish Health Service. Officials in my Department are aware of the document referred to by the Deputy.

The challenge of accessing innovative medicines at affordable prices affects all countries. A constant pipeline of new medicines, whose asking prices are in many cases beyond what health services can afford, mean that the increase in pharmaceutical expenditure that our rapid demographic changes require is unsustainable.

Ireland is already engaging in a number of initiatives in relation to access to medicines through its international agenda, most notably through its membership of the BeNeluxA initiative. The BeNeluxA collaboration seeks to enhance patients' access to high quality and affordable treatments, improve the payers' position in the market through joint negotiations, increase transparency on pricing between the collaborating countries, share policy expertise and focus on knowledge building. BeNeluxA members will work closely together to identify pragmatic solutions to the challenges which we all face with medicine pricing, sustainability and supply.

The four-year Framework Agreement on the Supply and Pricing of Medicines, between the State and the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA), was signed in 2016. It is expected to deliver €600 million in savings in its lifetime from IPHA companies and €150 million in savings from non-IPHA companies. The Agreement contains a number of measures intended to increase sustainable drug access and supply, including setting prices relative to those in over half of EU member states, reviewing prices annually against the reference countries to achieve better value for money over a product’s lifetime and formal health technology assessment of new treatments to inform reimbursement decision making.

I believe that partnership with industry is a key aspect of improving access to new medicines. At the last bi-annual meeting between my Department and IPHA, a proposed dialogue was discussed. It is envisioned that this will take the form of a structured platform of engagement, to create better patient access to new treatments. An Open Policy Forum also took place in November 2018 with the Departments of Health, Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform and IPHA.

I look forward to more engagement with stakeholders over the course of the year, with the aim of building a fairer partnership between industry to help ensure that patients get sustainable access to new medicines in as timely a manner as possible.

Addiction Treatment Services

Ceisteanna (389)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

389. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 58 of 5 December 2018, if extra resources will be committed to allow adequate spaces for those wishing to detox from Z-drugs in a community setting (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5305/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Pharmaceutical Sector

Ceisteanna (390)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

390. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health if he will ensure that pharmacy students will be in a position to be paid for their mandatory placement; his views on the enormous financial strain this will cause students; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5318/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) is the pharmacy regulator in Ireland and is responsible for regulating pharmacists and pharmacies in the public interest. Several of the PSI’s functions under the Pharmacy Act 2007 relate to education, including promoting and ensuring the highest standards in education and training for the qualification to practise as a pharmacist, and make sure that relevant experience is gained in the course of that pharmacy education and training.

In 2010 the PSI commissioned a review of the five year programme of education and training for the pharmacist qualification in Ireland. One of the recommendations included the introduction of an integrated 5-year Masters level programme of education and training for pharmacists in line with international best practice, to replace the previous 4 year Bachelor plus 1 year in-service practical training programme.

A National Forum was established to advise and assist the Council of the PSI in its oversight of the development and ongoing delivery of the new fully integrated programme of pharmacy education, training and assessment. The National Forum for Pharmacy Education and Accreditation Interim Report of November 2013 noted that it was an essential component of the integrated degree that the student remain a student for the full five years of study. Under the previous model, students became employees during their final year.

The PSI has advised that under the new programme structure, the entire structure, content and curriculum has integration taking place on a number of levels: within the curriculum through the revisiting of the theory and knowledge base as the student advances through the programme; and within the practice placement experiences. These practice placements are designed to be workplace based learning experiences overseen by the academic institutions during which pharmacy students have the opportunity to contextualise their academic learning in a real practice setting.

The PSI have further advised that their accreditation process involves visits to the universities (UCC, TCD & RCSI) operating the MPharm programme, which includes meeting with representative students at each School of Pharmacy. The accreditation teams assess the programme of training and education various standards, including one related to students and the supports available to students.

The institutions meanwhile deliver the programmes of education and training over the 5 years of the MPharm degree, including student enrolment, academic coursework, sourcing and governance of placements.

I understand the PSI and the Schools have engaged over the matter and my officials have requested to be kept informed of developments.

General Practitioner Data

Ceisteanna (391)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

391. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Health the number of general practitioner full-time equivalents for the past three years by county and year in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5319/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the question relates to service matters, I have arranged for it to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Pharmacy Regulations

Ceisteanna (392)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

392. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the concerns of dispensing pharmacists in relation to the falsified medicines directive; if the concerns will be taken into account; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5321/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The ‘Safety Features’ Delegated Regulation introduces new rules for the supply of medicines from the 9th February 2019. These safety features include a form of an anti-tamper device and unique identifiers embedded in a 2D barcode on the pack.

The purpose of the Regulation is to benefit patient safety and maintain confidence in the safety of medicines supplied to them.

A Statutory Instrument will provide that the Irish legislative system is consistent with the requirements of the Regulation. Nothing in the new Regulations seeks to alter the existing legal and regulatory responsibilities of persons authorised to place medicinal products on the market or to supply them to the public. It will apply to manufacturers, wholesalers and pharmacy owners and pharmacists equally.

The Regulation provided a 3-year transition period, starting in 2016, to facilitate preparation for its introduction. Details of the requirements of the Delegated Regulation have been communicated to all sectors throughout this period by the Irish Medicines Verification Office, the Health Products Regulatory Authority, the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland and the Irish Pharmaceutical Union.

I recognise concerns raised by stakeholders regarding the practical implementation of the Regulation. I also want to ensure that, above all, the normal supply of medicines to patients is maintained. I therefore intend to implement the system in a pragmatic manner and defer operating the offences provisions in the legislation for an initial period.

This will allow everyone involved to develop familiarity with the new arrangements and overcome any teething issues before we proceed to introduction of the provisions that deal with offences.

Abortion Services Provision

Ceisteanna (393)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

393. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health the status of the availability and national distribution of termination of pregnancy services in hospital settings; the number of hospitals providing termination of pregnancy services under sections 9 to 12, inclusive, of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018; the adequacy of hospitals to meet demand; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5324/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Deputy's question relates to a service matter, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Abortion Services Provision

Ceisteanna (394)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

394. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health the legal guidance that has been provided to hospitals, general practitioners and specialist reproductive healthcare providers participating in termination of pregnancy services to support the implementation of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5325/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Deputy is aware, I published the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 on 1 October 2018. The Act was passed by the Houses of the Oireachtas on 13 December 2018 and signed into law by the President on 20 December 2018.

The Act makes it clear that termination of pregnancy may be carried out in cases where there is a risk to the life, or of serious harm to the health, of the pregnant woman; where there is a risk to the life, or of serious harm to the health, of the pregnant woman in an emergency situation; where there is a condition present which is likely to lead to the death of the foetus either before or within 28 days of birth; and without restriction up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Following the enactment of the legislation, I signed a number of Statutory Instruments into law on 21 December last. These include the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 (Certification) Regulations 2018, which sets out the form to be used by medical practitioners who are certifying that a termination may be carried out; the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 (Applications for Review) Regulations 2018, which sets out the form to be used where a person wishes to apply for a review of a medical decision; and the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 (Notifications) Regulations 2018, which sets out the form to be used by medical practitioners when notifying me, as Minister, that a termination of pregnancy has been carried out.

Services for termination of pregnancy commenced on 1 January 2019.

Abortion Services Provision

Ceisteanna (395)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

395. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health the status of the availability to women of a choice of method of abortion; the availability nationally of surgical termination of pregnancy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5326/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Deputy's question relates to a service matter, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Healthcare Infrastructure Provision

Ceisteanna (396)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

396. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health the progress in relation to the provision of a health centre on Inisbofin, County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5339/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.

HSE Reports

Ceisteanna (397)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

397. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health if a publication (details supplied) was funded by the HSE or from a hospital group budget and if so, the full cost of the publication from marketing and distribution costs, including distribution through all media formats including press. [5346/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to you directly as soon as possible.

HSE Agency Staff Expenditure

Ceisteanna (398)

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

398. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Health the agency spend on nurses in 2018. [5383/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on this.

Oireachtas Joint Committee Reports

Question No. 400 answered with Question No. 94.

Ceisteanna (399)

John Curran

Ceist:

399. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health the progress made to date on the recommendation in the Report on Tackling Childhood Obesity by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs (details supplied); the amount of funding allocated to progress research to better identify obesity hotspots; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52340/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

A Healthy Weight for Ireland’, the Obesity Policy and Action Plan (OPAP), was launched in September 2016 under the auspices of the Healthy Ireland agenda.

The OPAP covers a ten year period up to 2025 and aims to reverse obesity trends, prevent health complications and reduce the overall burden for individuals, families, the health system, and the wider society and economy. Indeed it must be emphasised that every sector of our society has a role in reducing the burden of obesity and the OPAP clearly acknowledges this.

The OPAP prescribed short-term (five-year) targets for overweight and obesity as follows:

- a sustained downward trend (averaging 0.5% per annum as measured by the Healthy Ireland Survey) in the level of excess weight averaged across all adults

- a sustained downward trend [averaging 0.5% per annum as measured by the Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI)] in the level of excess weight in children, and

- a reduction in the gap in obesity levels between the highest and lowest socioeconomic groups by 10%, as measured by the Healthy Ireland and COSI surveys.

The annual cost of the Healthy Ireland Survey, which collects data on a wide range of health and wellbeing issues including those relevant to the OPAP, under current contractual arrangements will be €719,346 (€884,796 including VAT). Through grants, the HSE provides support for the operations of the National Nutrition Surveillance Centre to coordinate COSI.

The OPAP policy prescribed 'Ten Steps Forward' that would be taken to prevent overweight and obesity. A new Obesity Policy Implementation Oversight Group was established in October 2017. The current position with implementing some of these is as follows:

1. Embed multi-sectoral actions on obesity prevention with the support of government departments and public sector agencies

An Obesity Policy Implementation Oversight Group (OPIOG) has been established under the Chair of the Department of Health. It is comprised of representatives from the following Departments and Agencies: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Department of Children and Youth Affairs; Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection; Department of Education and Skills; Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government; University College Cork; the Food Safety Authority of Ireland; the Health Service Executive (HSE) - including the National Clinical Lead for Obesity; and Safefood. The OPIOG held its inaugural meeting in October 2017 with further meetings arranged at agreed intervals for the purposes of providing oversight to the implementation of the national Obesity Policy & Action Plan (OPAP).

At its next meeting, the OPIOG will consider the Report on Tackling Childhood Obesity from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs for the purposes of, among others, aligning both sets of recommendations. In the meantime, the preparation of a Progress Report on the implementation of OPAP is continuing so that it can be considered at this next OPIOG meeting. The development of an annual bulletin or score card to evaluate progress in relation to the national Obesity Plan and dissemination of results, has also been initiated.

The OPAP recommended that proposals be developed relating to the rollout of evidence based fiscal measures, including a levy on sugar-sweetened drinks, in support of healthy eating. As the Deputy is aware the Sugar-Sweetened Drinks Tax commenced on the 1st of May 2018. It represents a positive step in our national policy to deal with the problem of obesity.

2. Regulate for a healthier environment

The development of legislation for calorie posting to support people to make healthy choices is underway by the Department of Health. Currently, a behaviour study on how best to make the posting of calories meaningful to customers and more likely to impact on their behaviours is being finalised by the ESRI.

A number of Government policies aim to support the design and development of built environments that enhance health, wellbeing and quality of life for all. The National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) and OPAP both require that joint action is taken to promote the importance of physical activity and to reduce the obesogenic nature of the built environment.

In line with Actions 31 of the NPAP and 2.1 of the OPAP, which commit to developing guidelines and support materials for those working in developing the built environment in order to promote the importance of physical activity, and Action 59 of the NPAP which commits to developing a programme of on-going stakeholder communication and engagement, a Stakeholder Forum was held on the 21st of November last.

The event was planned in partnership, with substantial input from three Government Departments, (Health; Transport, Tourism and Sport; and Housing, Planning and Local Government). Work will progress in 2019 based on the outcomes of the forum's discussions.

3. Secure appropriate support from the commercial sector to play its part in obesity prevention.

At its inaugural meeting, the OPIOG agreed to establish two sub-groups for Reformulation and Healthy Eating. Both sub-groups have met on a number of occasions since being established and agreed their Terms of Reference.

The Reformulation sub-group is technical in its work programme. The work of the sub-group will primarily set targets on reformulation of food and drink. It will also make recommendations on addressing reduction of portion sizes and on monitoring and validation procedures.

One of the priority actions under Step 3 of the OPAP was to ‘Establish a forum for meaningful engagement with industry on best practice initiatives towards a healthy food environment’. It is intended to progress this action under the auspices of the OPIOG. And in this regard, a workshop between the Reformulation sub-group of the OPIOG and Food Sector Stakeholders on reformulation took place last September. This workshop provided an opportunity for detailed engagement with key Food Sector Stakeholders on the challenges and opportunities of reformulation in the interest of promoting the health and wellbeing of the population. Another similar engagement has been scheduled for late February.

A code of practice for food and beverages promotion, marketing and sponsorship has also been developed involving representatives from the food industry, advertising sector, statutory agencies, and various Government Departments. It was chaired by the former CEO of the statutory Food Safety Authority of Ireland, and published in 2018. Work on the implementation of the Codes of Practice is continuing.

4. Implement a strategic and sustained communications strategy that empowers individuals, communities and service providers to become obesity aware and equipped to change, with a particular focus on families with children in the early years.

The Healthy Ireland 2018 communications and citizen engagement campaign sought to encourage people to make small, healthy changes under the themes of Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Mental Wellbeing, and to link them with partner organisations and initiatives providing information and support. This campaign will continue in 2019.

In addition, under Healthy Ireland, the Department, safe food and the HSE run a campaign called START which aims to inspire, empower and support parents to start building and persist with healthy lifestyle habits in the family to prevent childhood obesity.

5. The Department of Health, through Healthy Ireland, will provide leadership, engage and co-ordinate multi-sectoral action and implement best practice in the governance of the Obesity Policy and Action Plan.

As referred to at step 1 above, an Obesity Policy Implementation Oversight Group was established to oversee implementation. New Healthy Eating Guidelines, Food Pyramid and supporting resources have already been published, disseminated and communicated in 2017, including dissemination of the new Guidelines to all primary and post-primary schools.

Work has also commenced on developing Healthy Eating Guidelines for the 1-5 year old age group. As a first step in this work, the Scientific Committee of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is currently developing scientific recommendations for food based dietary guidelines for 1 to 5 year olds.

New Nutrition Standards for schools, with an initial focus on school meal programmes funded by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, have also been developed. These Nutrition Standards were published in September 2017. The Nutrition Standards were developed by the Department of Health with the assistance of safe food and the Health Service Executive, in cooperation with the members of the School Meals Programme in the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and the Department of Education and Skills.

6. Mobilise the health services to better prevent and address overweight and obesity through effective community-based health promotion programmes, training and skills development and through enhanced systems for detection and referrals of overweight and obese patients at primary care level.

A Healthy Eating, Active Living Programme has been established as a Policy Priority Programme within the HSE and a three-year plan for the programme has been finalised. The GP contract for the provision of free care to children under 6 years, already provides that the medical practitioner shall take an active approach toward promoting health and preventing disease through the provision of periodic assessments to child patients.

The HSE is also implementing a Breastfeeding Action Plan and a new Making Every Contact Count brief intervention framework which aims to capitalise on the opportunities that occur every day within the health service to support people to make healthy lifestyle choices.

On the issue of nutrition in hospitals, the HSE, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Healthy Ireland, is to roll out a new Food, Nutrition and Hydration Policy for patients in acute hospitals in the coming months. A Clinical Specialist Dietitian was appointed to work across Acute Hospital Services to lead on the development of a National Food, Nutrition and Hydration Policy. A team working at national level, composed of all relevant staff including catering, (managers and chefs), dietitians, management, medical, nursing , occupational therapy and speech and language have worked together to develop the policy. Support and guidance to aid implementation of the policy will be provided in an accompanying toolkit. The policy and toolkit are due for publication and implementation over the coming months.

7. Develop a service model for specialist care for children and adults.

A National Clinical Lead for Obesity was appointed in 2017. This appointment is important in further advancing the implementation of many of the recommendations in the OPAP including the development of a national integrated service model for the health and social care of overweight and obese people and for developing quality assurance guidance for obesity services.

8. Acknowledge the key role of physical activity in the prevention of overweight and obesity.

'Get Ireland Active! The National Physical Activity Plan for Ireland' (NPAP) is one of the key developments arising from Healthy Ireland, and implementation of that Plan is well underway in collaboration with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and a range of other stakeholders. An updated progress report on the implementation of the NPAP will be published in Q1 2019.

9. Allocate resources according to need, in particular to those population groups most in need of support in the prevention and management of obesity, with particular emphasis on families and children during the first 1,000 days of life

The implementation of the Healthy Eating and Active Living Plan within the HSE is supporting work in the education sector, as well as with parents, families and communities in delivering a more co-ordinated approach to prevention and early intervention in child obesity.

Question No. 400 answered with Question No. 94.

Hospitals Funding

Question No. 402 answered with Question No. 69.

Ceisteanna (401)

Seamus Healy

Ceist:

401. Deputy Seamus Healy asked the Minister for Health the level of funding included in budget 2019 and the HSE National Service Plan 2019 for equipping and staffing the 40 bed modular unit at South Tipperary General Hospital in view of the reply to Topical Issue no.3 on 29 January 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5422/19]

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.

Question No. 402 answered with Question No. 69.

Disabilities Assessments

Ceisteanna (403)

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

403. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health his views on the failure of the HSE to complete assessment of needs for children with disabilities within a reasonable timeframe (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52343/18]

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.

Disabilities Assessments

Ceisteanna (404)

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

404. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health the mode of operation in relation to assessment of needs in view of the fact that parents are reporting mixed messages from his Department (details supplied) in relation to procedure; if the new standard operating procedure remains suspended; the measures being taken to clear the substantial waiting lists for an assessment of needs; the reason some assessments are being outsourced to private contractors while other parents are being informed that there is no budget to do so; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52344/18]

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.

Disabilities Assessments

Ceisteanna (405)

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

405. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that some parents are being refused an assessment of need following the parent questionnaire stage in view of the fact that English is not their first language or there may be literacy difficulties and they may not have the necessary skills to recognise the red flags of disability; if his attention has been further drawn to the need for professionals to review the child as best practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52345/18]

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.

Services for People with Disabilities

Ceisteanna (406)

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

406. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health the steps he will take to prevent the closure of a society (details supplied); his views on the potential loss to the deaf community of the only national representation and advocacy organisation should the society close; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4170/19]

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.

People with disabilities, including those who are deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind, can access the broad range of Acute Care, Primary Care and Community based services that are provided by the HSE. They can also avail of specialist disability services, which are provided in a variety of community and residential settings in partnership with service users, their families and carers and a range of statutory, non-statutory and community groups.

There are a number of non-statutory organisations specifically focussed on addressing the needs of the deaf community. Services offered include family and support services, assistive technology and assistive listening devices, communication therapy and lip-reading classes, information and advice, sign language classes, and a mental health and deafness service.

Most of these organisations receive funding from the HSE, either through local grants of varying amounts and/or direct funding. The HSE had 35 separate service level agreements with organisations providing services for the deaf or hard of hearing in 2018.

I am aware of the financial difficulties that the Irish Deaf Society is currently experiencing and the concerns regarding its future sustainability.

The Irish Deaf Society focuses its service delivery on advocacy, training and development as distinct from the delivery of health and social care supports to the deaf community and for this reason, it does not receive core-funding from the Health Vote. However, there are a number of other funding options available to the Irish Deaf Society. It has received funding, in the past, from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Department of Education & Skills. It has also received grants from the Department of Justice and Equality and the National Lottery.

I am currently working with colleagues in Government to see if this issue can be resolved and I remain hopeful of a positive outcome.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (407)

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

407. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) can expect to receive an appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5455/19]

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.