Health Services Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (353)

James Browne

Ceist:

353. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the appointment of a consultant psychiatrist for weekdays and weekends at a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7836/19]

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.

Mental Health Services Data

Ceisteanna (354)

James Browne

Ceist:

354. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health if the HSE collects data relating to persons presenting to emergency departments with mental health associated incidences; if so, if the relevant data for each of the years 2015 to 2018 will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7837/19]

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.

Mental Health Services Staff

Ceisteanna (355)

James Browne

Ceist:

355. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the steps he will take to bring an area (details supplied) in line with A Vision for Change staffing recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7838/19]

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.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (356)

James Browne

Ceist:

356. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the steps he will take to improve locum cover for CAMHS services particularly in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7839/19]

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 Services Staff

Ceisteanna (357)

James Browne

Ceist:

357. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health if a general nurse will be appointed within a service (details supplied) to administer blood tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7840/19]

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 (358)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

358. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health the status of delays being experienced by women in relation to smear test results; his plans to ensure that smear test results are made available sooner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7861/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

In May 2018, I asked CervicalCheck to make the necessary arrangements to provide that any woman who had had a CervicalCheck smear test, and whose GP considered that she should have a further test as part of her reassurance, to access such a further test without charge. This decision was made in good faith to address the considerable fears of the many anxious women in Ireland, following issues which had emerged in relation to the CervicalCheck screening programme. 

In the months since then, there has been a significant increase in the volume of women presenting for smear tests. This includes women who have availed of the out of cycle tests, but also a greater number of women presenting for scheduled screening. This increased level of engagement with the programme is very welcome. However, the increased demand has undoubtedly put pressure on lab capacity and turnaround times. 

The HSE has been working actively with the labs to manage this issue and to improve turnaround times for smear tests. In addition, the HSE is aiming to source additional screening capacity, which would improve the turnaround time of results; however, sourcing capacity and resources is a global challenge as countries start to move to primary HPV screening, which vastly reduces the requirement for cytology screening staff.  The HSE is currently developing a capacity plan, which will take account of available capacity and expected demand, with the aim of bringing the programme into stabilisation this year. This is a priority concern for my Department and the HSE. 

The HSE advises that the CervicalCheck Programme has recently agreed with laboratories to prioritise those slides which originate from women who attended colposcopy, as this cohort of women are considered to have the most serious need. 

The HSE also advises that the natural history of cervical cancer would indicate that the disease would normally develop over a period of 10 to 15 years. Due to this very fact, it is important that any woman of screening age attends for cervical screening each and every time she is invited to participate. The HSE has advised that in this context, a delay in the return of cervical screening results, whilst undesirable, is not necessarily dangerous and poses a very low risk to women.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Ceisteanna (359, 411, 412)

James Browne

Ceist:

359. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health when the relevant stakeholders regarding a drug (details supplied) will be informed regarding the recent HSE leadership team meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7864/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

411. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Health when a decision will be made in respect of the application submitted in July 2018 by a company (details supplied) for the Translarna drug for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8199/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

412. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Health when the drugs committee will assess the new submission made by a company (details supplied) for the Translarna drug for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8200/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 359, 411 and 412 together.

The Health Service Executive has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicines, in accordance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013.

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

I am advised by the HSE that the application for Translarna (Ataluren) was discussed at the January HSE Leadership Team meeting and that the HSE is in the process of communicating its decision to the relevant company.

Disability Services Provision

Ceisteanna (360)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

360. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if the HSE disability services will provide a placement for a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7869/19]

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 an individual case, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Disability Services Provision

Ceisteanna (361)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

361. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if the HSE disability services will provide accommodation for a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7871/19]

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 an individual case, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Patient Transfers

Ceisteanna (362)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

362. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will be transferred from Mullingar General Hospital to University Hospital Galway; the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7872/19]

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.

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

General Practitioner Services Provision

Ceisteanna (363)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

363. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health the reason he has not engaged with an organisation (details supplied) in relation to the crisis in general practitioner healthcare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7873/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Officials from my Department have previously consulted with the organisation in question in relation to a range of issues affecting general practice.

Currently, the Department and the HSE are engaged with the Irish Medical Organisation as the established representative body for GPs around the modernisation and reform of the GMS GP contract.

Our goal is to develop a contractual framework that has a population health focus, providing in particular for health promotion, disease prevention and for the structured care of chronic conditions. This will enable GPs to better meet the needs of patients and will also promote general practice as a viable and rewarding career for both existing doctors and future medical graduates.

Discussions are ongoing in an effort to bring matters to a conclusion.  Agreement on the delivery of a range of service improvements and contractual reforms has the potential to facilitate a substantial increase in the resourcing of general practice on a multiannual basis.  

The Government is committed to the continued development of GP capacity to ensure that patients across the country continue to have access to GP services. As of 31st December 2018, 2,491 GPs hold GMS contracts with the HSE up from 2,098 in 2008. A further 430 GPs hold other contracts to provide services such as immunisation, Heartwatch, Methadone and cancer screening.  Currently less than 1% of GMS panels are vacant and in each case a locum or other appropriate arrangement has been put in place to maintain GP services to the communities in question.

The Government has implemented a number of measures to improve recruitment and retention in general practice in general practice. These include an increase in GP training places from 120 in 2009 to 202 places available in 2019; changes to the entry provisions to the GMS scheme to accommodate more flexible GMS contracts; the extension of the retirement age for GPs with GMS contracts to 72; and the introduction of an enhanced support package for rural practices.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Ceisteanna (364)

Peter Fitzpatrick

Ceist:

364. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) is being refused Versatis patches in view of the fact their general practitioner has appealed the decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7875/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Medicines play a vital role in improving the health of Irish patients. Securing access to existing and new and innovative medicines is a key health service objective. However, the challenge is to do this in a safe and sustainable manner. Treatment must be appropriate and proportionate and clinical decision-making, such as prescribing, should be based on both patient needs and sound medical evidence.

Lidocaine 5% medicated plasters are licensed for localised relief of post-shingles pain in adults. This is the patch's only licensed use in Ireland. It has been reimbursed in the community drug schemes since 2010.

Clinical concern arose as usage increased significantly, to the point where more plasters were being used in Ireland than in the entire UK National Health Service. In such situations, it is important and appropriate for clinicians to review usage and, in 2016, the HSE Medicines Management Programme (MMP) reviewed the use of the plasters. The review estimated that only 5-10% of prescribing was for the licensed indication.

From September 2017, following the clinical review, the HSE introduced a new reimbursement approval system for the patches, to support appropriate use and patient care. Under these arrangements, the patient's GP or consultant applies to the MMP for reimbursement approval on behalf of the patient. If an application is refused, the clinician may submit an appeal to the MMP, making a clear clinical case for the patient. Information for patients and practitioners is on the HSE MMP website at: hse.ie/yourmedicines.

The outcome of an application or an appeal for reimbursement of lidocaine patches is a matter between the MMP and the treating clinician. The Deputy will appreciate that, as Minister for Health, I cannot intervene in individual cases.

The decision to introduce a new reimbursement approval process for a particular treatment is a matter for the HSE. However, I fully support the objectives of the HSE Medicines Management Programme.

Addiction Treatment Services

Ceisteanna (365)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

365. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health when additional funding will be made available to task forces through an emerging needs fund; his strategy in terms of targeting those resources in favour of local needs identified by task forces in line with their key role in implementing the national drugs strategy; the way in which funding will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7880/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Department of Health allocated funding of almost €100m to the HSE for addiction services in 2019. The HSE National Service Plan 2019 sets out the type and volume of addiction services to be provided, having regard to the funding allocated.

In addition, the Department provides a further €28m to Drug and Alcohol Task Forces through various channels of funding, including the HSE.

Implementing the health-led national drugs strategy continues to be a Government priority. Task forces have an important role in delivering the strategy at the local level.

Within the limited envelope of resources available for drug and alcohol services in 2019, I am considering options for the provision of additional funding for addiction services and task forces.

I am committed to providing additional resources to enhance service provision under the national drugs strategy. These resources should be directed towards those interventions which are most likely to lead to a reduction in problem substance use and positive improvement in public health, safety and well-being. 

Primary Care Centres Provision

Ceisteanna (366)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

366. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health when building will commence for the proposed new primary care centre at Ballyboden, Dublin 16 in view of the fact that the site was purchased a number of years ago and has received planning permission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7888/19]

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 the proposed primary care centre at Ballyboden, Dublin 16. 

Health Services Funding

Ceisteanna (367)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

367. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health if HSE projects in an area (details supplied) will be affected by the cost overrun in the building of the national children's hospital, such as a new renal unit at Tallaght University Hospital, new primary care centres and care-of-the-elderly facilities in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7889/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The new children’s hospital is a vital and much needed project. The Government has examined the funding pressures associated with delivering this important project and has made adjustments to capital allocations to ensure that the new children’s hospital will be delivered. 

My Department and the Health Service Executive are currently engaged in a process to finalise the HSE Capital Plan for 2019.

The HSE Capital Plan will determine the projects that can progress in 2019 and beyond having regard to the total available capital funding and the relevant priority of each project. All Health capital projects, currently at various stages of development, such as the projects in the Dublin South-West constituency, are included as part of this process.

Once the HSE has finalised its Capital Plan for 2019, it will then be submitted to me for consideration.

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to reply to you directly and outline the current status of projects in Dublin South-West.

Ambulance Service Data

Ceisteanna (368)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

368. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Health the procurement process entered into by the HSE before the engagement of an organisation (details supplied); the requirements for qualification, duration of contract or engagement and qualifications required by applicants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7905/19]

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.

Ambulance Service Data

Ceisteanna (369)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

369. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Health the payments made to an organisation (details supplied) in each year in respect of all engagements, contracts, secondments and consultations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7906/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service issue, I have asked the HSE to reply to you directly. 

National Children's Hospital Expenditure

Ceisteanna (370)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

370. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health the payments made to date under the main contract in relation to the construction of the national children’s hospital; the amount expected to be paid in 2019 and for each subsequent year until the anticipated completion of the project, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7913/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) has responsibility for the design and building of the new children's hospital, I have asked that they respond to you directly.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (371)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

371. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Health the length of time a person (details supplied) must wait for an ear, nose and throat, ENT, appointment in University Hospital Limerick. [7918/19]

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (372)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

372. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if a hospital appointment will be expedited for a person (details supplied). [7922/19]

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.

Respite Care Services Provision

Ceisteanna (373)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

373. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if funding for respite care will be expedited for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7924/19]

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. 

The Programme for Partnership Government states that the Government wishes to provide more accessible respite care to facilitate full support for people with a disability.

As the Deputy's question relates to an individual case, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Groups

Ceisteanna (374, 390)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

374. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health if there are discussions within the HSE to remove Our Lady's Hospital, Navan and the Mullingar Regional Hospital from the Ireland East hospital group; the basis of these discussions; the impact it will have for the two hospitals; the impact on the connections that have been created between these two hospitals and the group; and if there has been a decision to move these hospitals in the RCSI hospital group. [7933/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

390. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the position regarding hospital groups here; the reason the group structure is being changed just a few years after a previous reorganisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8064/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 374 and 390 together.

In August 2018, I published the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy which provides the framework within which a system-wide health reform programme will be advanced. The Strategy contains specific commitments in relation to improving governance and accountability across the health service.

As set out in the Implementation Strategy, I am committed to the development of a new system of health structures and governance comprising a leaner national centre with responsibility for national planning, strategy and standard setting, complemented by regional integrated care organisations with responsibility for the planning and delivery of services at a regional level.

As the Deputies will be aware, administrative regional structures have been established in recent years. 9 Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs) and 7 Hospital Groups are now in place to plan and deliver community and acute care services respectively. These structures are not geographically aligned and there is broad consensus that having separate structures for acute and community care impedes the development of a more integrated health service as envisaged under the Sláintecare programme.

As a first step in the development of the new system of health structures to support an integrated care approach, and in line with the recommendations of the report of the cross-party Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare, my Department undertook a public consultation regarding the geographical alignment of CHOs and Hospital Groups in 2018. In addition, my Department has carried out detailed analysis work to determine the optimal geographical alignment of CHOs and Hospital Groups, and ultimately to determine the geographical areas of proposed new regional integrated care organisations. My Department is finalising proposals in this regard, and I hope to be in a position to bring proposals to Government shortly.