Primary Care Services Provision

Ceisteanna (441)

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

441. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 161 of 24 January 2019, if comparable data can be supplied for each CHO; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8367/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for reply to the Deputy.

Protected Disclosures

Ceisteanna (442)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

442. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the reason the HSE has yet to provide a response other than to confirm its receipt to a protected disclosure of information it received on 16 February 2018 (details supplied); the status of the disclosure and the associated investigation into the allegations contained therein; the reason none of the complainants or witnesses involved have been called upon to give evidence in relation to the disclosure; when the complainants will receive further correspondence from the HSE in relation to the disclosure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8376/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Under Section 21 of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014, all public bodies must establish and maintain procedures for the making of protected disclosures by workers who are or were employed by the public body and for dealing with such disclosures.

As this protected disclosure relates to the HSE, I have referred the question to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

HSE Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (443)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

443. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the way in which two formally vacant HSE posts were filled (details supplied); if the recruitment processes and execution of same were identical with respect to both posts; if not, the reason for such variation; if interviews were part of the recruitment process to choose a successful candidate in the case of both these roles; if so, the number of candidates interviewed respectively for both; if tenure was considered in both instances as part of the formal assessment and evaluation process of the candidates; if so, the number of individual years of service the chosen candidates had accumulated, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8377/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.

Pharmaceutical Sector

Ceisteanna (444)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

444. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the status of pharmaceutical assistants following recommendations by a society (details supplied). [8382/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Section 30 of the Pharmacy Act 2007 provides for an exception to the general provision in the Act which requires the sale and supply of medicines at a pharmacy to be conducted under the personal supervision of a registered pharmacist, and specifies that no offence is committed where a registered pharmaceutical assistant “acts on behalf of a registered pharmacist during the temporary absence of the registered pharmacist”.

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

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

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

Following a period of public consultation, the Council of the PSI considered the proposed draft Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (Temporary Absence of Pharmacist from Pharmacy) Rules 2018 at its meeting of 20 September 2018, where the Council approved the draft rules without amendment.  Following this, the PSI undertook to redraft the Rules in relation to what may or not be done by a registered pharmaceutical assistant when acting on behalf of a registered pharmacist.

On 6 December, the Council of the PSI approved a revised draft of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (Temporary Absence of Pharmacist from Pharmacy) Rules 2018 for issuance for public consultation. This public consultation commenced on 13 December 2018 and ran until 11 January 2019, affording any interested party the opportunity to make representations on the matter directly to the PSI.

Following completion of the public consultation phase, the Council of the PSI considered the proposed draft Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (Temporary Absence of Pharmacist from Pharmacy) Rules 2018 at its meeting on the 14th February 2019.

My role in relation to this process is limited to the consideration of any such Rules once submitted for my consent. I must consider any Rules presented to me from a fair and impartial perspective, without prejudice or prejudgment.

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

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (445)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

445. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied). [8392/19]

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 (446)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

446. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) will be admitted to have an operation carried out at the Midland Hospital, Tullamore; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8402/19]

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.

Nursing Home Services

Ceisteanna (447)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

447. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health the progress made to date in providing an alternative nursing facility to both St. Anne's Nursing Home and Clifden Hospital in Clifden, County Galway; the details of the facilities it is proposed to provide in the new facility; if there will be two hospice beds; if there will be provision there for the administering of intravenous antibiotics; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8410/19]

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.

Departmental Contracts Data

Ceisteanna (448)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

448. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to cost overruns on contracts within his Department with a value in excess of €10 million that came in more than 10% over budget in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; if so, the details of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8425/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

My Department does not enter contracts for capital projects. 

The HSE is the main agency with responsibility for the delivery and management of healthcare infrastructure. 

As Minister for Health, I am responsible for the approval of the Health Service Executive’s capital plans in accordance with the Health Acts, in particular, Part 7 of the Health Act 2004 as amended. My Department oversees the implementation of the capital programme through the allocation of funding, the negotiation and approval of HSE corporate and annual plans and the monitoring of the implementation of annual plans.

Agencies under the aegis of my Department are required to comply with the  Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies and the Public Spending Code. The management of contracts on capital projects is a matter for each agency. Variations can occur in the cost of capital projects for a number of different reasons, including amendments to specifications after the original contract is signed.

 

Long-Term Illness Scheme Eligibility

Ceisteanna (449)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

449. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health the status of the recognition of fibromylagia as a debilitating disease; the research the HSE or his Department have undertaken to better understand fibromylagia, its symptoms and possible treatments; if there is a record of the number of persons affected by the disease; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8431/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

There are no plans at present to add Fibromyalgia to the list of conditions currently listed under the Long Term illness scheme.  However, any patient with a condition, not listed under the Long Term Illness Scheme, is eligible to apply to the Drugs Payment Scheme or to apply for a Medical Card.

As elements of this PQ refer to service matters, it is being referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply. 

Health Screening Programmes

Ceisteanna (450)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

450. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the status of the cervical results for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8447/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE advises that the results of a cervical screening test (smear test) are sent to the GP or clinic of the woman who took the test, and that the HSE then writes to the woman to let her know when her results are available. In this instance I take it that the Deputy is referring to a delay in the receipt of results following a smear test and will respond on that basis.

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.

Rare Diseases Strategy

Ceisteanna (451)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

451. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health if a grant for treatment that has been approved by the rare disease technical review committee can be denied. [8449/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter, relating to the work of the Rare Diseases Medicinal Products/Technology Review Committee, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Appointments Administration

Ceisteanna (452)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

452. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if an appointment will be scheduled for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8491/19]

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 Administration

Ceisteanna (453)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

453. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if an appointment will be scheduled for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8492/19]

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 (454)

Frank O'Rourke

Ceist:

454. Deputy Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will receive a hospital appointment for cataract surgery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8493/19]

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.

Public Procurement Contracts Data

Ceisteanna (455)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

455. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the number of State contracts that were not awarded to the lowest tender or bid in each year since 2011 to date in his Department or bodies under the aegis of his Department; the reason the lowest tender or bid was not chosen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8808/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I thank the Deputy for the clarification received regarding contract value. However, the information requested by the Deputy is not routinely available within the Department. I will arrange for the question to be circulated within the Department and provide a reply of collated responses as soon as possible. 

Information regarding agencies under the aegis are operational matters for the relevant  CEO/Director/Chairperson.  I have also forwarded the question for their investigation and direct reply to the Deputy.

Hare Coursing

Ceisteanna (456)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

456. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason for a perceived inconsistency regarding hunting laws here in which it is legal to hunt hares with beagles and harriers for open coursing but illegal to hunt for hares for open coursing with greyhounds and lurchers. [7672/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Coursing is regulated under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly by the Irish Coursing Club (ICC), subject to the general control of Bord na gCon. The ICC is committed to maintaining high standards in the sport of coursing, and it actively promotes the protection and conservation of the Irish hare.

Coursing operates in a highly regulated environment coupled with a comprehensive set of rules directly applied by the ICC. Hares are sourced under a licence from the Minister of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, issued annually with a total of 26 conditions. These include a variety of measures, including a requirement that a qualified veterinarian attends at all coursing meetings to report on the health of the hares, a prohibition on the coursing of hares more than once in the same day, a prohibition on the coursing of sick or pregnant hares and a requirement that hares be released back into the wild during daylight hours.

In addition, the ICC undertakes a range of actions to address issues related to health and welfare. Coursing clubs are required to comply fully with directives, instructions and guidance notes issued by the ICC in all matters relating to the capture, keeping in captivity, tagging, marking, coursing and release of hares, and the muzzling of greyhounds.

A monitoring committee on coursing is in place, comprising officials from my Department, the ICC and the National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS), to monitor developments in coursing and in that regard the situation is kept under constant review to ensure that coursing is run in a well controlled and responsible manner in the interests of both hares and greyhounds.

The committee meets after each coursing season to review the outcome of all coursing meetings, having particular regard to hare and greyhound welfare.

I believe that it is critically important that those involved in coursing operate in accordance with the regulatory framework and that the welfare of both hares and greyhounds is at the forefront at all times.

The other issues raised by the Deputy are beyond my Department’s remit.

Farm Inspections

Ceisteanna (457)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

457. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if an inspection and-or investigation regarding the condition of sheep at a farm (details supplied) in County Kildare has been carried out; and if so, the outcome of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7673/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I thank the Deputy for this information, which has been assigned for investigation.

The Deputy may be aware my Department operates a confidential animal welfare helpline through which members of the public can report incidents of animal cruelty and neglect for investigation:

Call Save 0761 064408

01 6072379

Email address - animalwelfare@agriculture.gov.ie. All calls received are followed up as appropriate.

Land Issues

Ceisteanna (458)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

458. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a landowner can lease out land to another person if there are no issues in relation to the division of commonage (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7704/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The leasing of land is a civil matter and the persons involved should seek their own independent legal advice. However, with regard to the parcel mentioned by the Deputy, the townland of Cloonacool has not been declared as common land in the past, nor does the folio for said lands indicate that the lands are legally considered as land farmed in common.

In certain circumstances, grazing rights to hill land can only be leased to an individual where the appurtenant lowlands are also leased to this individual. However as the lands in Cloonacool are not subject to grazing rights then it does not apply in this instance.

Any lands declared under the various area based payment schemes operated by this Department (BPS, Greening, ANC, GLAS etc.) must adhere to the various land eligibility rules as set out in the Terms and Conditions of said schemes and the Guide to Land Eligibility which have been provided to all claimants and are available on the Department's website.

Bord Bia

Ceisteanna (459)

John Brassil

Ceist:

459. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the 70-day rule under the quality assurance scheme will be reviewed and altered (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7748/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The 70 day residency rule which is part of Bord Bia's quality assurance scheme states that the animal must have spent the last 70 days (unbroken) in the Quality Assured Chain.

It does not preclude movements to marts. Bord Bia place no restrictions on the number of movements a bovine has had, for it to be deemed Quality Assured.

Beef Industry

Ceisteanna (460, 463)

John Brassil

Ceist:

460. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the four-movement rule on cattle will be amended (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7749/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brassil

Ceist:

463. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he is satisfied that the 4-movement rule on cattle is the most effective way to ensure quality assurance and the best prices for farmers; if there is evidence to show that additional movement between farms prior to slaughter affects the quality of meat; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7834/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 460 and 463 together.

A Quality Payment System (QPS) for the payment in respect of certain categories of cattle at slaughter plants was introduced in 2009 by agreement between Meat Industry Ireland (MII) and the Irish Farmers Association (IFA).

My understanding is that any additional bonus payments and the conditions attached to qualification for such bonus payments are determined by processors and their customers. Such conditions include a limit on the number of movements of cattle in their lifetime prior to slaughter. This is a private arrangement and my Department has no role in its design.

Bord Bia Strategy

Ceisteanna (461)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

461. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the plans Bord Bia has to establish a distinctive marketing strategy for grass-fed beef; if beef produced from feedlots can avail of the Bord Bia quality assurance mark; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7831/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Bord Bia and Teagasc are undertaking initial exploration of the development of “Grass fed” standards in the dairy sector, with the potential to extend to other livestock types.

Producers who can adhere to the terms of the Bord Bia quality assurance schemes are eligible to participate, regardless of their system type.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (462)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

462. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 213 of 30 January 2019, if the application forms will be forwarded again to a person (details supplied). [7833/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

As requested by the Deputy, the necessary forms have been re-issued to the person named on 13 February 2019.