Primary Medical Certificates Applications

Ceisteanna (85)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

85. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Health if there are designated persons dealing with applications for primary medical certificates in County Roscommon; the number dealing with such applications; the waiting period to process applications for a primary medical certificate in County Roscommon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23066/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Speech and Language Therapy Staff

Ceisteanna (86)

James Lawless

Ceist:

86. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Health when the recruited speech therapist is due to commence further to the vacancies in the mid-Kildare NDT; and his plans to address a backlog in referrals which have arisen from the position being vacant. [23067/19]

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.

Audiology Services Provision

Ceisteanna (87)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

87. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health when the audiologist position in the eye and ear department at the Midland Regional Hospital will be filled (details supplied). [23068/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Services for People with Disabilities

Ceisteanna (88)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

88. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health the reason payments have ceased to residents of a centre (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23076/19]

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.

The Deputy's office were unable to provide more details about which specific service or payment the Deputy is referring to in the question, and understood that this may impact the HSE's ability to provide an answer to the question.

Hospital Procedures

Ceisteanna (89)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

89. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of a procedure for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23082/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Medicinal Products Availability

Ceisteanna (90)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

90. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health the position in relation to the availability of Versatis patches for persons on a medical card or long-term illness card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23084/19]

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. I fully support the objectives of the HSE Medicines Management Programme.

Child Abuse

Ceisteanna (91)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

91. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health the steps he will take further to the report investigating the abuse of a number of children in a foster home in the west of Ireland; the way in which persons within the HSE involved in this case will be held accountable; the steps he plans to take to ensure this will not occur again; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23095/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Responsibility for child protection and welfare services transferred to Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, under the aegis of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs a number of years ago. However, I have referred the Deputy's question to the HSE's National Director of HR for a direct reply to the Deputy regarding persons who may have remained in the employ of the HSE.

I am advised that with regard to the investigative report mentioned, my colleague the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is giving the findings and recommendations due consideration.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (92)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

92. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health the status of an appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23098/19]

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 Reviews

Ceisteanna (93)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

93. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health when a medical review of a medical card application by a person (details supplied) will be finalised; if this will be processed as soon as possible in view of the significant medical need; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23099/19]

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.

Medical Card Eligibility

Ceisteanna (94)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

94. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health the reason further financial evidence is being sought in the case of a person (details supplied) for a medical card eligibility when the review was sought on the basis of medical need; the reason further financial evidence has now been requested for a second time despite the previously requested financial information being provided in full; if the application will be finalised immediately in view of the medical need associated with same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23101/19]

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.

Medical Card Applications

Ceisteanna (95)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

95. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health if a decision will be made on a medical card application by a person (details supplied) in view of the complex medical need involved in same; the reason further financial details are being requested despite a review being sought on medical need and in view of the fact that financial details have already been provided as part of the review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23106/19]

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.

HSE Funding

Ceisteanna (96)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

96. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the detail of 40% budget cuts to an organisation (details supplied) from 1 July 2019; the background to such large cuts; if this decision will be urgently reviewed and full funding restored; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23109/19]

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 a service issue, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Medical Card Eligibility

Ceisteanna (97)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

97. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) qualifies for a medical card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23115/19]

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.

Orthodontic Services Provision

Ceisteanna (98)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

98. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) can obtain orthodontic treatment on their medical card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23122/19]

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.

Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (99)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

99. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health the status of treatment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23135/19]

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.

Orthodontic Services

Ceisteanna (100)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

100. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the steps which can be taken by a person (details supplied) in relation to orthodontic treatment [23136/19]

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.

Medical Card Eligibility

Ceisteanna (101)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

101. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health the steps he will take in the course of budgetary negotiations to review the cap imposed in respect of means testing for medical cards for persons over 70 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23154/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Under the Health (Alteration of Criteria for Eligibility) (No. 2) Act 2013, when a person attains the age of 70, the medical card income limits are €500 gross income per week for a single person and €900 gross income per week for a couple. While there are no plans at present to revise the income thresholds for medical cards, it is vitally important that the medical card system is responsive and sensitive to people's needs. In that regard my Department keeps medical card issues, including existing thresholds under constant review. The gross medical card income limits for the over 70's are reviewed annually in line with the Consumer Price Index and considered in the context of the budget. It is important to note that if a person's sole income is derived from a social welfare payment, even where this payment is in excess of the current income thresholds, the persons will be awarded a medical card. In addition, the Deputy may be aware, that from August 2015 all persons aged 70 or over qualify for a GP visit card, regardless of income.

Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (102)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

102. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) will be called for an assessment as soon as possible. [23155/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Afforestation Programme

Ceisteanna (103)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

103. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the recent forestry proposal put forward by the European Commission and the one hectare initiative in the next CAP. [23102/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I welcome Commissioner Hogan's support of afforestation and, in particular, his recognition that farmers, through planting trees, have an important to role to play in producing public goods which contribute to our biodiversity and climate objectives. We currently support afforestation by farmers with generous grants and premiums under the Forestry Programme 2014 -2020 and encourage farmers to avail of the opportunity to complement their farming enterprise with income support from afforestation.

I recognise that the new CAP offers opportunities for farm forestry and these will be fully examined by my Department in the context of producing a CAP Strategic Plan for the next programming period.

Animal Disease Controls

Ceisteanna (104)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

104. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the contingency plans he has deployed in terms of monitoring and biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of African swine fever here; and the supports which will be available to pig farmers. [23158/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

African Swine Fever (ASF) is a very serious and usually fatal viral disease of pigs. The disease has spread to a number of EU Member States (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Belgium) as well as to countries in Asia. The disease does not affect other animal species or humans and there are no food safety implications.

ASF has never been detected in Ireland. The introduction of ASF into Ireland would have very serious implications for the pig industry here. For this reason, it is important that everyone plays their part in keeping these disease out of Ireland. The most likely routes of introduction would be through the import of infected live pigs (including wild boar) or pig products from affected countries.

Members of the public should not bring in pigmeat products from affected countries and should ensure that all food waste is disposed in a way that animals cannot get access to it. Keepers of pigs are reminded that they must be registered with my Department. Keepers of pigs, including those with only one or two pigs, are reminded that the feeding of food waste containing meat and meat products is strictly prohibited.

To protect their animals and their businesses, all keepers of pigs should implement strict biosecurity measures including tight controls on who has access to their pigs. Under the current Rural Development Programme (2013-2020), funding is available to all commercial pig farmers, through the Targeted Advisory Service for Animal Health (TASAH) mechanism, to have a comprehensive and objective ‘Biocheck.UGent’ biosecurity review carried out on their farms by a trained private veterinary practitioner. This service is free of charge to pig farmers. Animal Health Ireland (AHI) delivers the TASAH funded biosecurity reviews on behalf of my Department. To avail of the Biocheck review, farmers should contact their private veterinary practitioner or Animal Health Ireland.

As part of measures aimed at minimising the risk of the introduction of exotic diseases such as ASF into Ireland, my Department has been involved in a range of activities including monitoring the international disease situation, working with international partners and monitoring the movement of pigs into Ireland via the EU TRACES online platform. Keepers of pigs are reminded that the import of wild boar into Ireland is prohibited.

My Department has engaged in an intensive communications programme aimed at highlighting the risk of ASF entering Ireland to all stakeholders. Disease factsheets are available for both vets and farmers, and a letter was circulated to all registered pig keepers as part of the annual pig census. Posters have been placed in airports and on ferries warning people travelling abroad about the risk of bringing home meat products. Tailored biosecurity information including a multilingual poster has been produced for farmers and farm personnel. The Department circulated specific advice regarding ASF for international general hauliers in conjunction with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. Tailored biosecurity leaflets have been produced for international livestock hauliers and hunters who may travel to ASF affected countries. An awareness campaign reminding all that the feeding of food waste containing meat products to pigs is prohibited is now being launched. Checks are carried out by both Revenue and the Department at ports and airports using a risk based approach. Manual checks along with a trained Customs dog and scanning equipment is used at Dublin airport to detect food in luggage.

Specific EU legislation (Directive 2002/60/EC) is in place that sets out the control measures to be implemented in the event of an ASF outbreak in an EU member state in order to control the disease and prevent any spread. These control measures include, for example, culling of animals in affected herds, animal and animal product movement restrictions, investigation into the source of disease and surveillance of susceptible populations. These control measures are being implemented in the affected countries and my Department stands ready to implement such measures in the event ASF were to be introduced into Ireland.