Immigration Policy

Ceisteanna (292)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

292. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the timeline for the review and updating of the Employment Permits Act 2006. [25489/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Review of Economic Migration Policy which was completed in 2018 found that, overall, the State’s vacancy-led employment permits system provided a robust basis for the management of economic migration, but that the current legislation imposed a degree of inflexibility on the operation of the system. The Review contains a range of recommendations to adapt the system to make it more agile, and easier to modulate to meet changing economic circumstances, and proposes that changes to the Employment Permits Acts 2003-2014 be made to give effect to those recommendations. A commitment to implement the recommendations of the Review is included in Future Jobs Ireland 2019.

Work has begun on consolidating the existing legislative framework and on identifying the changes required to implement the legislative recommendations in the review. This is a priority for me and I have asked my officials to complete this work as soon as possible, so that drafting of the new Employment Permits Bill can commence. It would be my intention to publish the revised Employment Permit Bill during quarter 4, this year.

HSE Staff Remuneration

Ceisteanna (293)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

293. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) can claim incremental credit for a period of time worked; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24910/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Disability Services Funding

Ceisteanna (294)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

294. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if additional funding will be put in place to support the work of RehabCare in providing services in view of the fact this service may be withdrawn due to the lack of funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24837/19]

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. The Government's primary concern is to ensure the continuity of disability services delivered in line with strong governance mechanisms in a cost-effective and equitable manner consistent with care and support needs. As one of many service providers, Rehab provide invaluable services and supports to people with disabilities and their families.

Minister Harris and I held meetings with Rehab and the HSE last month. We want to acknowledge the positive and transparent level of engagement by Rehab with the HSE and their commitment to continue to work closely in the future. We recognise the additional expenditure requirement, as set out and agreed at our meeting, is attributable in the main to a number of specific regulatory challenges and associated service pressures. We have committed to the provision of an additional €2 million in funding to Rehab. Provision of this additional funding is subject to the completion of a process of financial and service review.

Occupational Therapy Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (295)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

295. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the waiting times for paediatric occupational therapists in the Saolta area; the number of paediatric occupational therapists employed in the Saolta area; the locations of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24853/19]

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (296)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

296. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if a hospital appointment will be expedited for a person (details supplied). [24854/19]

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 Transfers

Ceisteanna (297)

Pat Deering

Ceist:

297. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will be transferred from Waterford University Hospital to Tallaght Hospital for pelvic surgery following an accident. [24855/19]

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (298)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

298. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24857/19]

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 (299)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

299. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied). [24859/19]

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 Charges

Ceisteanna (300)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

300. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health his plans to introduce exemptions and cap registration fees in relation to the number of times a child visits the emergency department regarding a life long illness which could be twice or three times a month with fees of €100 per visit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24868/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Health (Out-Patient Charges) Regulations 2013, provide that, subject to specified exemptions, a charge shall be made for out-patient services provided at an emergency department, or any other facility providing similar services, in respect of the first occasion the service is provided in relation to each episode of care.

The Regulations sets out a number of categories of persons who are exempt from this charge including: a person with full eligibility; a child up to the age of 6 weeks; a child in respect of prescribed diseases of a permanent or long term nature; a person who has a letter of referral from a registered general practitioner, and a person whose attendance results in admission as an in-patient.

There are currently no plans to revise the format of the charge or exempt further categories of persons from the charge.

However, if the Deputy wishes to provide details of an individual case, including the person's identification details and long-term medical condition, I will ask the Health Service Executive to investigate the circumstances of the case and reply directly to the Deputy on the matter.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (301)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

301. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae 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. [24869/19]

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.

Home Care Packages Administration

Ceisteanna (302)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

302. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health when an approved increase in home support will be in place for a person (details supplied) in County Leitrim. [24874/19]

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.

Treatment Benefit Scheme Eligibility

Ceisteanna (303)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

303. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health the options available to a person (details supplied) who requires surgery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24876/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Deputy is aware, the HSE currently operates two schemes that facilitate patients accessing treatment abroad.

The Treatment Abroad Scheme (TAS) allows public patients to be referred to another EU/EEA Member State for treatment, in their public healthcare system, that is not available in Ireland, subject to qualifying criteria. A patient's Irish based consultant is responsible for referring the patient abroad under the terms of the TAS, after having exhausted all treatment options including tertiary care within Ireland. The HSE provides information for patients on the TAS on its website.

An alternative where the treatment is available in Ireland is the Cross Border Directive (CBD), which the HSE operates in Ireland. Under the terms of the CBD patients in Ireland can be reimbursed for medical treatment, that is available in the public health service in Ireland, but received in another EU\EEA Member State. The patient may access the overseas service in either the public or private health sector of the other Member State they choose to receive the service in. The patient pays for the treatment and claims reimbursement from the HSE at the cost of that treatment in Ireland or the cost of it abroad, whichever is the lesser.

Referral for care under the CBD may be made by a GP, a hospital consultant and certain other clinicians. The HSE through the National Contact Point (NCP) provides information for patients on the operation of the CBD on its website and by phone on 056 7784546

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly on the specific query raised.

Medicinal Products Availability

Ceisteanna (304)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

304. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health his plans to make Spinraza treatment available to SMA sufferers (details supplied); the status of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24879/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Health Service Executive has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicines under the community drug schemes, 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 that on 11 June 2019, the HSE Leadership Team approved access to the drug Nusinersen (Spinraza) for children with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type I, II or III on an exceptional and individualised basis.

The recommendation is to approve access for children with genetically confirmed SMA Type I, II or III, in accordance with the controlled access criteria recommended by the Rare Diseases Technology Review Committee. The rare diseases committee recommendation was clearly targeted at the youngest and most severely affected SMA patients, and this group is the clear priority for the HSE. The actual patient assessment and approval process will be the means for determining access on an individual case by case basis.

Respite Care Services Availability

Ceisteanna (305)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

305. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health the number of respite beds nationally by CHO; if they are for adults or children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24883/19]

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

Respite Care Services Provision

Ceisteanna (306)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

306. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health the provision of respite services nationally; if they are run directly by the HSE or by section 39 companies, charity services and or NGOs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24884/19]

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

Respite Care Services Funding

Ceisteanna (307)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

307. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health the impact on respite services due to budgetary constraints in view of the overspend on the national children’s hospital; if funding for existing beds will be affected; if planned respite beds for both adult and paediatric patients that were planned to be delivered over the next five years will be fully funded or not; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24885/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

My Department is continuing to work with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Health Service Executive in a process to finalise as soon as possible a multi-annual Capital Plan for the HSE, which will include capital projects to be funded in 2019 and beyond, having regard to the available capital funding, the number of large national capital projects currently underway and the cashflow requirements attaching to each project.

Projects that are currently in construction and are contractually committed will not be affected.

Departmental Contracts

Ceisteanna (308)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

308. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health if he will report on the details of an extended deal with a company (details supplied); if whether there were changes to indemnity arrangements on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24889/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Following a global search for capacity, Quest Diagnostics was identified by the HSE as having the necessary capacity to sustain the national cervical screening programme and a contract for the provision of this additional capacity was signed on 7 June. The HSE has advised that the financial arrangement entered into with Quest Diagnostics is commercially sensitive as the release of these details has the potential to compromise the competitive element of planned procurement processes. In addition to the capacity at its current laboratory, which had been inspected by Dr Scally, new capacity has been provided by Quest at four other Quest facilities in the United States, all of which have been inspected and approved by the HSE. Finalisation of these arrangements ensures that ongoing capacity is available to continue to invite eligible women at normal or recommended intervals, replacing the capacity which would previously have been provided by Medlab, which ceased taking new slides from 1 May last.

I remain fully committed to the continuation of the CervicalCheck screening programme without interruption in the interest of public health, and welcome the confirmation of this additional capacity to support the delivery of cervical screening to women.

Home Care Packages Administration

Ceisteanna (309)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

309. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health when an increase in home support will be in place for a person (details supplied) in County Sligo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24890/19]

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.

Substance Misuse

Ceisteanna (310)

Dessie Ellis

Ceist:

310. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Health the cost in total and for each year of the implementation of Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery 2017-2025 strategy addressing the harm caused by substance misuse in society over the next eight years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24893/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The national drug strategy, Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery, is the whole-of-government response to drug and alcohol use for the period 2017 to 2025.

The most recent figure on Irish Government drug related expenditure is €240.195 million (2017). The Department of Health allocates funding of almost €100 million to the HSE for addiction services. In addition, the Department provides a further €28 million to Drug and Alcohol Task Forces through various channels of funding including the HSE.

Each Department is responsible for the funding of their actions in the strategy and this is addressed as part of the estimates process each year.

An additional €6.5 million was provided in 2018 for drug-related actions. This additional funding was used to expand the availability of drug and alcohol treatment services.

An additional €1 million was secured for 2019 to develop an integrated mental health and addiction programme for co-occuring mental health and substance misuse concerns among at-risk groups (rising to over €2 million on an annual basis).

In March, I announced a further €1 million for the implementation of Reducing Harm Supporting Recovery . This funding, which will be provided on a recurring, multi-annual basis, will address the priorities set down in the strategy including responses to emerging trends in substance misuse, and improving services for groups with complex needs.

It is important that resources are directed towards interventions and services which are most likely to lead to a reduction in problem substance use. Measuring the overall effectiveness of drug and alcohol actions is a key component of public policy.

As in previous years, I will engage with the 2020 estimates process in the Dept of Health to secure additional resources to implement the key actions in national drugs strategy.

Drug and Alcohol Task Forces

Ceisteanna (311, 312)

Dessie Ellis

Ceist:

311. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Health the funding for each of the drugs and alcohol task forces in each of the years 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24894/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Dessie Ellis

Ceist:

312. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Health the estimated amount an increase of 5%, 10%, 20% and 30% in funding for each of the drugs and alcohol task forces based on current funding in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24895/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 311 and 312 together.

The Department of Health allocated funding of almost €100 million to the HSE for addiction services in 2019. The HSE National Service Plan for 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 €28 million to Drug and Alcohol Task Forces through various channels of funding including the HSE.

The following link outlines the estimated amount of an increase of 5%,10%, 20% and 30% in funding for drug and alcohol task forces and provide a breakdown of Task Force funding from 2011 to 2018.

In March 2019, I announced additional funding of €1 million for the implementation of Reducing Harm Supporting Recovery. This funding, which will be provided on a recurring, multi-annual basis, will address the priorities set down in the strategy including responses to emerging trends in substance misuse, and improving services for groups with complex needs.

Funding