Health Services Data

Ceisteanna (463)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

463. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the number of persons who obtained dental and or optical benefits in each of the past three years to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5661/19]

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.

Hospital Waiting Lists Data

Ceisteanna (464)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

464. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on waiting lists for elective procedures, including orthopaedic, coronary, kidney or similar conditions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5662/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Improving waiting times for hospital procedures is a key commitment in the Programme for Government and €75 million was allocated to the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) in Budget 2019 to provide treatment for patients.

The waiting list figures for December 2018, show that the number of patients on the inpatient and daycase waiting list at the end of the year stood at 70,200. From a peak of 86,100 in July 2017, this represents a reduction of over 18% in the overall number of patients waiting for a procedure

Since July 2017 the number of patients waiting longer than 3 months has fallen from just under 58,000 to 40,200 at the end of December 2018. This is a decrease of 31% and at the lowest level since 2014.

I hope to publish the joint Department of Health/HSE/NTPF Scheduled Care Access Plan 2019 for inpatient, day case and outpatients shortly. The plan will ensure an appropriate balance between high volume activities and offering treatment to complex long-waiting patients. It will reflect activity targets from the HSE, in line with the National Service Plan, to reduce waiting times across specialties and improve access to appointments and procedures. The plan will also set out activity levels for the NTPF in line with their increased allocation of funding in 2019.

The NTPF will deliver this activity through working with hospital groups and individual hospitals as well as private health providers to maximise the number of patients treated in both a public and private capacity. Under the Plan the NTPF has committed to make offers of treatment to patients waiting for one of 75 hospital procedures, which will include orthopaedics. The longest waiting patients who are clinically suitable for one of these targeted procedures will be offered treatment in 2019.

The table in the link below provides a breakdown by specialty of the number of patients as at the end of December 2018 awaiting an Inpatient or Day Case procedure. These figures are published by the NTPF on their website ntpf.ie

IPDC

Health Services Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (465)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

465. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the number of vacancies that exist and are waiting to be filled at each public hospital nationally at all levels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5663/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE has been requested to respond directly to Deputy Durkan.

Home Care Packages Provision

Ceisteanna (466)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

466. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the degree to which the number of home care packages approved is sufficient to meet the need; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5664/19]

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.

Healthcare Policy

Ceisteanna (467)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

467. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health his plans for the implementation of the Sláintecare programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5665/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

In September, the Executive Director of the Sláintecare Programme Office commenced refining the Implementation Strategy into a detailed Action Plan for 2019. I can confirm that the Action Plan 2019 has been developed and, following the finalisation of the HSE's National Service Plan, Project Teams are now being established to drive delivery.

The Action Plan will be presented to Sláintecare's High Level Delivery Board and will be published thereafter. The Action Plan takes a strategic and programmatic approach to implementation, with a clear focus on the desired outcomes of reform. Successful implementation of the Sláintecare programme will be achieved through working in partnership with the wider health and social care system. The Sláintecare Programme Implementation Office is committed to transparency at all stages of the implementation of Sláintecare.

The Programme Implementation Office will publish rolling plans annually and progress reports will be published on a biannual basis.

Mental Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (468)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

468. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health his views on the number of children and adolescents awaiting treatment and or assessments from CAMHS (details supplied). [5668/19]

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 Data

Ceisteanna (469)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

469. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on outpatient waiting lists awaiting eye care procedures at the end of 2017 and 2018, respectively; his plans to reduce such waiting lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5687/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I am conscious that waiting times are often unacceptably long and of the burden that this places on patients and their families. In this regard, I am committed to improving waiting times for hospital appointments and procedures.

Last year, under the Inpatient/Day Case Action Plan for 2018 I sought real progress to drive down waiting lists for high volume procedures, but also to treat patients with life-limiting procedures such as cataracts. The waiting list figures for the end of December 2018 show that the efforts of the HSE, the NTPF and the individual Hospitals are delivering results. The total number of Inpatient/Daycase patients waiting for a cataract procedure fell from 10,024 in July 2017 to 6,440 by the end of 2018, a reduction of 36%. The numbers waiting more than 3 months showed a reduction of 55% in the same period, falling from 7,967 to 3,607, while those waiting more than 9 months fell from 4,371 to 554, a reduction of 87%.

I hope to publish the joint Department of Health, Health Service Executive (HSE) and National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) Scheduled Care Access Plan 2019 shortly. This will set out commitments aimed at improving access for patients waiting for hospital operations or procedures, as well as patients waiting for a first Outpatient appointment. My priority, under the Access Plan, is to ensure the continuation of the considerable progress made last year into this year.

A key element of this Plan will be the stabilisation of the Outpatient Waiting List which remains a significant challenge. The HSE, in line with the National Service Plan 2019 will provide 3.3 million outpatient appointments, more than 1 million of which will be first outpatient appointments.

In addition, the NTPF, with an increased allocation totalling €75 million in 2019, will fund an additional 40,000 first outpatient appointments through weekend and out of hour’s clinics and ‘see and treat’ clinics.

The NTPF will deliver this additional activity by working with hospital groups and individual hospitals as well as private health providers to maximise the number of patients treated in both a public and private capacity.

The data sought by the deputy is outlined in the following table.

Ophthalmology Outpatient waiting list – end of 2017 and 2018

0-3 mths

3-6 mths

6-9 mths

9-12mths

12-15mths

15-18 mths

18+ mths

Total

20/12/2018

10295

6260

4563

3310

3000

2675

10505

40608

29/12/2017

9410

6855

5224

4502

3380

2843

7589

39803

Dental Services Provision

Ceisteanna (470)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

470. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health his plans to provide additional resources for dental services in counties Cavan and Monaghan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5688/19]

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.

Medical Card Applications Data

Ceisteanna (471)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

471. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the progress to date in the determination of an application for a discretionary medical card in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5692/19]

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.

Disability Services Data

Ceisteanna (472, 473)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

472. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health the amount transferred from the HSE to an organisation (details supplied) for the provision of services since 2004; the number of times the service level agreement between the HSE and the organisation has been updated and or amended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5693/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

473. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health the number of times the HSE has audited the services provided by an organisation (details supplied) that it funds; if the HSE has identified shortfalls and or inadequacies in services that the organisation provides; the number of complaints received by the HSE in respect of the organisation from service users and or patients and or persons representing service users and or clients and or patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5694/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 472 and 473 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.

Disability Services Data

Ceisteanna (474)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

474. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health the number of service providers for full and part-time care of persons funded and or contracted by the HSE by CHO area; the number of clients in those service provider's care by CHO area in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5695/19]

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. 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.

Cancer Screening Programmes

Ceisteanna (475)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

475. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health the months in which the original smear tests took place for the up to 6,000 women likely to be called for a repeat test; and the number of tests that took place in each month in tabular form. [5737/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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 current issue first came to light due to ongoing improvement work across the screening programme, including strengthening of the programme’s quality assurance processes as recommended in the Scally Report. The HSE was advised by Quest Diagnostics that there was a concern in relation to secondary HPV testing within the manufacturers recommended timeframe. This issue relates to some smear tests taken between 2015 when HPV testing was introduced, and 2018, when the issue was discovered.

The HSE advises that approximately 4,600 women will require a retest, and that letters to the vast majority of these women have now been issued.

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. These tests will be processed by the laboratory as a priority.

In relation to the detail requested by the Deputy, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to him.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (476)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

476. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Health if surgery will be expedited for a person (details supplied) due to extenuating circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5738/19]

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.

Medical Card Applications Data

Ceisteanna (477)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

477. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Health the number of persons who renewed their medical card online; the number who commenced online renewal but did not complete the process; the number who requested paper forms for renewal; the completion rate for paper renewals; the number who did not respond to renewal correspondence in County Cork and nationally in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5749/19]

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.

Hospital Waiting Lists Action Plans

Ceisteanna (478)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

478. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the level of engagement by a hospital (details supplied) in resolving its orthopaedic waiting list; and if the hospital has requested assistance through the National Treatment Purchase Fund. [5753/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Improving waiting times for hospital procedures is a key commitment in the Programme for Government and €75 million was allocated to the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) in Budget 2019 to provide treatment for patients.

I hope to publish the joint Department of Health/HSE/NTPF Scheduled Care Access Plan 2019 for inpatient, day case and outpatients shortly. The plan will ensure an appropriate balance between high volume activities and offering treatment to complex long-waiting patients. It will reflect activity targets from the HSE, in line with the National Service Plan, to reduce waiting times across specialties and improve access to appointments and procedures. The plan will also set out activity levels for the NTPF in line with their increased allocation of funding in 2019.

The NTPF will deliver this activity through working with hospital groups and individual hospitals as well as private health providers to maximise the number of patients treated in both public and private capacity. Under the Plan the NTPF has committed to make offers of treatment to patients waiting for one of 75 hospital procedures, which includes orthopaedics. The longest waiting patients who are clinically suitable for outsourcing for one of these targeted procedures will be offered treatment in 2019. I would strongly encourage all hospitals to collaborate with the NTPF to identify waiting list initiatives.

In relation to the particular issue raised, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Brexit Supports

Ceisteanna (479, 502)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

479. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the date on which a request was made to the European Commission in view of confirmation at an event (details supplied) that the European Commission has been alerted to the fact that Ireland will seek emergency aid for the farming sector in the event of a no-deal Brexit; if the request was also submitted to the Brexit preparedness group under the European Commission Taskforce on Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom; if the attention of the Commission was drawn to the alert; and the EU legislative provision under which the request was made. [5357/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

502. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he has formally made a request to the European Commission under Article 219 of (EU) Regulation No 1308/2013 (details supplied); and if so, when the application was made. [5356/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 479 and 502 together.

I and my officials have been working very hard for quite some time to sensitise other Member States and the European Commission to the potentially very severe impacts of Brexit on the Irish agrifood and fisheries sectors, and to the likelihood of specific supports being required in order to deal with these impacts. The institutions of the European Union are very well aware of the likelihood of a significant impact of a disorderly Brexit on Ireland’s economy because this has been part of the discussion from the beginning, and indeed this is explicitly recognised in the Commission’s own communication on contingency planning.

Most recently, I held a bilateral meeting with Commissioner Hogan last week to discuss the potential impact of a disorderly Brexit on the Irish agrifood and fisheries sectors. We discussed the unique exposure of these sectors to the threat of a disorderly Brexit, and the challenges that it could present. I stressed the need to be ready to deploy a range of measures to mitigate the potential impacts on farmers and processors, including through traditional market supports and exceptional aid under the CAP's Single Common Market Organisation regulation, and increased flexibility under State Aid regulations. Commissioner Hogan reiterated the EU’s readiness to respond and support Ireland, and we will remain in contact on these issues as the situation evolves.

Regeneration Projects Status

Ceisteanna (480)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

480. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the work carried out to date at a site (details supplied); the amount spent; the details in relation to the south tip and a building in this regard; when the public park is expected to open; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5612/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department assumed responsibility for remediation works at Haulbowline Island on behalf of the Irish Government in 2012, primarily in order to comply with the terms of a CJEU judgment (Case C-494/01) under the Waste Framework Directive concerning the East Tip site. Funding for the remediation project is currently provided to my Department, in accordance with the specific conditions set out by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, on an annual basis up to the completion date of the remediation works.

The East Tip works are the most significant element of the remediation project. In the period up to 2017 expenditure was focussed on preparing for and securing the necessary planning and waste licence consents for the East Tip remediation and upgrading the island infrastructure in anticipation of works. Following the signing of contracts in July 2017, the remediation of the East Tip commenced. By the end of 2017 just over €13m had been spent on regularising the planning and licensing requirements, engaging in preparatory works and completing necessary site investigations amongst other elements. With the bulk of the East Tip remediation works having been completed during 2018, the expenditure on the project currently stands at €23m. I visited the site in December 2018 and I understand that there are some minor finishing works on the site to be completed early this year and the access road leading into the site is also being upgraded.

While the priority has been remediation of the East Tip, work on assessing a suitable solution for the former steelworks factory site has also been advanced in preparation for the next phase of the remediation project. Detailed site investigations have been undertaken and the preparation of an application for planning consent has also been advanced. The Government has decided that the Minister for Defence will be the ultimate owner of Haulbowline Island, in keeping with the main occupancy of the island, being the headquarters for the Irish Naval Service. Any remediation solution for these areas will need to be cognisant of their likely long term use. The Department of Defence has advised that it has engaged specialist engineers to examine the areas in question in order to explore the potential of these areas for naval operations in the future which will inform and direct remediation works in the first instance. Information from site investigation studies and assessments to date has been made available to the Department of Defence to assist in this work.

With regard to the opening of a public park on the island, I understand that Cork County Council has expressed a desire to open a public park at the East Tip site on completion of remediation works and has received agreement in principle from the Department of Defence for this. The relevant opening date will be a matter for those two bodies to determine.