Work Permits Data

Ceisteanna (121, 122)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

121. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if the quota of workers allowed under the EU permit scheme to bring in workers from non-EU countries that was specific for the dairy farm assistance launched on 4 June 2018 has been used; if so, her plans to create an extra quota of workers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22173/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

122. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if the quota of workers allowed has been used in relation to the EU permit scheme to bring in workers from non-EU countries that was launched in 2018 by her Department; if so, her plans to create an extra quota of workers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22186/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 121 and 122 together.

The employment permit system is managed through the operation of the critical skills and ineligible occupations lists. In May 2018, following a comprehensive review of the data/evidence available and consideration, by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as the lead policy Department for the sector, of a detailed business case a pilot quota based scheme was introduced for the occupations of horticulture worker, meat processing operative, and of dairy farm assistant which were removed from the employment permit ineligible occupation list. The quotas introduced were 500, 1500 and 50 respectively.  The scheme allows workers from non-EEA countries to access employment opportunities. To date this pilot scheme has proved very successful with the number of permits issued being 101 out of 500 horticulture worker permits. 1377 out of 1,500 meat processing operatives and 49 out of 50 for dairy farm assistants. 

These lists are subject to twice-yearly evidenced based review process involving consideration of  research undertaken by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (Solas), the Expert Group of Future Skills Needs (EGFSN), the National Skills Council, and input by relevant Government Departments in addition to the public consultation phase.  Submissions to the review process are also considered by the Economic Migration Policy Interdepartmental Group chaired by my Department which includes the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. 

The pilot scheme provides that additional employment permit quotas may be granted in response to progress reported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on commitments given by the sector to:

- the systematic and structured engagement with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection regarding sourcing labour from the live register and across the EEA;

- the development of training, upskilling and career opportunities;

- a commitment to examine the potential of innovation in the sector to ameliorate reliance on a model of low skill, low wage employment.  

I am advised that the sector is currently preparing a further business case for consideration initially by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for submission to my Department.  The next review  to consider changes to the lists of occupations is scheduled to commence before the of May.

Corporate Governance

Ceisteanna (123)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

123. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation further to Parliamentary Question No. 96 of 16 May 2019, the social partners her Department has been in contact with regarding the appointment of a national focal point; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22223/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Further to Parliamentary Question No. 96 of 16 May 2019 concerning the non-binding Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration), my Department has been in discussion with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and the employers' association Ibec in this regard. The Declaration encourages the appointment of tripartite agreed national focal-points to promote the use of the MNE Declaration and its principles, whenever appropriate and meaningful in the national context. The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Unit of my Department promotes the Declaration as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility for Larger Companies.

Narcolepsy Issues

Ceisteanna (124)

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

124. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Health the status of the development of an adult narcolepsy centre in St. James's Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22126/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Work on a centre of excellence for narcolepsy, based in St. James’s Hospital, for treating all forms of narcolepsy in adults and also in children transitioning from the paediatric services, was committed to in the HSE 2018 National Service Plan.  

The HSE has confirmed that the construction of the sleep lab is now complete with equipment installed and commissioned. The HSE has also confirmed that a consultant neurologist has commenced working full time and is seeing all narcolepsy related referrals.  In addition, the first sleep technician has been recruited. The recruitment process for  additional consultants and technical staff for the centre is ongoing.

Home Help Service Provision

Ceisteanna (125)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

125. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Health the status of an application for home help by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22135/19]

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.

Pharmacy Services

Ceisteanna (126, 127, 128, 129)

John Brassil

Ceist:

126. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the expected date for the implementation and roll out of a comprehensive pharmacy based minor ailment scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22137/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brassil

Ceist:

127. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health when contractual negotiations will commence with a union (details supplied) on the reform, modernisation and expansion of pharmacy services; the length of time the negotiations will last; when the resulting changes will be implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22138/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brassil

Ceist:

128. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the date on which he will commence discussions with pharmacy contractors regarding the unwinding of FEMPI for community pharmacists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22139/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brassil

Ceist:

129. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health when pharmacies will be permitted to dispense oral contraception without prescription under plans for free contraception being considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22140/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 126 to 129, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy is aware, the Programme for a Partnership Government contains a commitment to expand the role of community pharmacy in managing patient health, and this is an issue I intend to progress.

Work has been done in recent years on wider healthcare roles for pharmacies, including the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland’s Future Pharmacy report, concerning expansion of professional pharmacy practice. It is clear from this and other work that there is potential to increase the range of publicly funded health services delivered through community pharmacy. Important new services, in influenza vaccination and emergency contraception, have already been introduced.

To be funded by the taxpayer, new public health services in community pharmacy, as elsewhere, should improve health outcomes and provide value for money and benefits for patients. Any new or transferred services should be based on sound evidence with matching improvements in governance and administration.

I recently met with the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) and I attended their conference in Galway and these and other issues were discussed in both forums. It is my intention that further consultation will be carried out in 2019.

Mental Health Services Data

Ceisteanna (130)

James Browne

Ceist:

130. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the number of beds in the Central Mental Hospital; the number of operative beds there; the reason non-operative beds are not in use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22141/19]

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 Data

Ceisteanna (131)

James Browne

Ceist:

131. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the approved positions and vacancies within CAMHS services in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22142/19]

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.

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Ceisteanna (132)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

132. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health his views on a matter regarding FreeStyle Libre diabetes monitors (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22149/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, the HSE has statutory responsibility for the administration of the community drug schemes; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Mental Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (133)

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

133. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Health the status of a building project (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22151/19]

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.

Primary Care Centres

Ceisteanna (134)

Frank O'Rourke

Ceist:

134. Deputy Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Health his plans to carry out an audit of a primary care health centre (details supplied) to assess the needs of the patients and the local population which are perceived as not being met due to inadequate resources with a view to putting in place suitable medical services and sufficient personnel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22154/19]

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.

Disability Support Services

Ceisteanna (135)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

135. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health if concerns in relation to the provision of services by RehabCare in Galway city and county have been addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22156/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

This Government’s on-going priority is the safeguarding of vulnerable people in the care of the health service. We are committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives.

Significant resources have been invested by the health sector in disability services over the past number of years. Since this Government took up office, the budget for Disability Services has increased by €314million. This year alone, the Health Service Executive has allocated €1.9 billion to its Disability Services Programme.

My primary concern is to ensure the continuity of appropriate person-centred disability services is maintained and delivered in an equitable manner consistent with the care and support needs of individuals. I want to acknowledge the important services provided by Rehab and the commitment of the staff of Rehab to people with a disability and their families.

I am informed by the HSE that the total revenue allocation provided by the HSE to Rehab for social services has increased by €8.1 million to €56.1million in 2019 when compared with the allocation in 2016.

Rehab provides a range of services to young people and adults with physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities, mental health difficulties, autism, or acquired brain injury. Services are co-ordinated through Rehab’s three service delivery divisions, RehabCare, the National Learning Network and Rehab Enterprises.

Rehab and the HSE have committed to working intensively together with a view to making substantive progress in reaching a solution to the issues.

As the question relates to service provision I have asked the HSE to reply directly to the Deputy.

HSE Properties

Ceisteanna (136)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

136. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health if a centre (details supplied) is still in the ownership of the HSE; if so, if there are plans for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22160/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

National Children's Hospital

Ceisteanna (137)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

137. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health the reason a private facility that cannot be accessed by all children will be included as part of the new children’s hospital which is funded from public funds. [22162/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The vast majority of services in the new children’s hospital will be public services.

However, as part of  the National Contract for Consultants negotiated in 2008, some consultants holding specific contracts are entitled to engage in private outpatient practice outside of their public commitment and this commitment must be conducted on site - that is, in the hospital they are  contracted with. As a result, private outpatient clinics may be held on  the public hospital campus but these clinics must be held outside  contracted hours. 

The new children's hospital is obliged to provide  such facilities for consultants holding such contracts. The proposal is for consultants to pay a fee for use of the rooms and other operational costs. 

Within the plan for the hospital, an area has been planned which carries the designation of "private clinic". Within the ‘private clinic’ area the following has been drawn:

- 1 x reception desk area x 7m2

- 1 x feeding room x 4m2

- 1 x wait area x 16m2

- 1 x play area x 8m

- 8 x consult/examination rooms x 16m2

- 1 x WC x 3m2

- 1 x clean utility x 9m2

- 1 x dirty utility x 7m2

- Total area: 180m2

This work is planned to proceed at the building commissioning stage in the year before the building opens.

Medical Conditions

Ceisteanna (138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 144)

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

138. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health the criteria used to diagnose the neurological disease myalgic encephalomyelitis as described under G.93.3 WHO International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10);; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22163/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

139. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health if he will direct the HSE to develop guidelines for the diagnosis, treatment and management of myalgic encephalomyelitis using contemporary research; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22164/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

140. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health if he will direct the HSE to begin implementing the international consensus criteria for myalgic encephalomyelitis to enable those with the condition to get a clear diagnosis as soon as possible; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22165/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

141. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health if he will direct the HSE to develop a clear pathway of care for myalgic encephalomyelitis patients with prompt access to specialists and treatments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22166/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

143. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health if he will designate myalgic encephalomyelitis as a reportable health condition in order to obtain robust official collection of data on the number of children, young persons and adults with the condition and the degrees of severity of the condition; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22168/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

144. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health if he will direct the HSE to update its diagnostic and treatment procedures for persons with myalgic encephalomyelitis to reflect best international practice; if he will address the lack of specialist support within the health service for those suffering with ME; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22169/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 138 to 141, inclusive, 143 and 144 together.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) / myalgic encephalomyelitis (or encephalopathy) (ME) is a not uncommon, complex debilitating disorder which is characterised by severe fatigue accompanied by a range of other symptoms.

There is currently no known, specific, medical diagnostic test to determine or confirm a correct diagnosis of ME and no specific treatment which works for all sufferers is currently available. Assessment and interventions need to be tailored to the individual. There are assessments/tests which can be carried out in primary care settings by a General Practitioner. Specialised tests may be required when considering differential diagnoses.

Treatment for ME is tailored to address the varying symptoms presented by those affected by ME. In general, these treatments are delivered within the context of primary care, with referrals into secondary care for specialist interventions in the areas of Neurology, Rheumatology, Pain Specialists, Endocrinology, Immunology, Cardiology, etc. The challenge in relation to ME is that it does not sit within one specialty, but crosses a number of specialties, with patients attending different Consultants for management of symptoms as they arise.

I acknowledge waiting times for access to these services needs to be reduced. There is currently work under way as part of the implementation of the Strategy for the Design of Integrated Outpatient Services 2016-2020, specifically as regards addressing how and where the patient is treated and the classification of referrals with corresponding clinically recommended time-frames. Consideration is also being given to condition specific referral forms. This work should see significant improvements with respect to access to appropriate services.