Home Help Service

Ceisteanna (376)

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

376. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health his views on reports that the HSE has instructed officials to block new home help applications until at least November 2019 as part of a series of cost cutting plans; the rationale for this instruction; the supports that will be made available to persons in need of these supports from now until November 2019; the steps that will be taken in relation to applications after November 2019; and the impact this will have on services in County Louth and CHO area 8. [25143/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

It is not correct to say that no new clients will be allocated home supports for the next five months. The allocation of new hours will be based on clients’ needs and the resources available. Recycling of hours will continue, in line with budgetary management.

Home supports enable older people to remain in their own homes and communities, as well as facilitating timely discharge from hospital. The Government has made improved access to home support services a priority. This is reflected in the ongoing additional investment made in these services in recent years with the budget growing from €306 million in 2015 to almost €446 million in 2019. That is about a 45% increase in the annual budget for home support.

In 2018, the total budget for the service was €416.8 million, providing over 17.5 million hours. In 2019 almost €30 million has been added to the home support budget. This year the HSE intends to provide over 18.2 million home support hours, including intensive home care packages, to over 53,000 people. When one looks at the year-on-year targets, this means that this year’s National Service Plan aims to deliver about 800,000 more hours than the 2018 target.

The allocation of funding for home supports, though significant, is finite and services must be delivered within the funding available. The Home Support Service is not demand led and is therefore operated in line with agreed budgetary limits and targets as set out in the HSE National Service Plan.

To achieve compliance with its funding allocation, the HSE must ensure that the value of the total number of hours provided does not exceed the budget. This means that the HSE has to manage its service delivery over the course of the year to align with the total funding available. It also has a responsibility to ensure that activity is planned so as to anticipate critical demand pressures, most particularly emergency pressures in the initial and latter parts of the year.

While the existing home support service is delivering crucial support to many people across the country, the Government fully accepts that it needs to be further improved to better meet the changing needs of our citizens.

It is for that reason that my Department is progressing the development of a new statutory scheme and system of regulation for home support services. The Sláintecare Implementation Strategy commits to the introduction of the new scheme in 2021.

Home Care Packages Data

Ceisteanna (377, 378, 379, 380, 381, 382)

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

377. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the number of persons in hospital in County Louth experiencing a delayed discharge which is dependent on a home care package, home help hours and home support hours; and length of time by which these discharges have been delayed. [25144/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

378. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the number of persons in County Louth awaiting provision of home care packages, home help hours and home support hours. [25145/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

379. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the number of home care packages, home help hours and home support hours provided in County Louth in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [25146/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

380. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the number of persons in County Louth in receipt of home help hours, home care packages and home support hours. [25147/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

381. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the number of persons in County Louth who applied for home care packages, home help hours and home support hours in 2018 and to date in 2019; and the number of applications approved. [25148/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

382. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the steps he is taking to deal with the crisis in the provision of home help hours in County Louth and CHO area 8; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25149/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 377 to 382, inclusive, together.

As these are service matters I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Home Care Packages Provision

Ceisteanna (383)

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

383. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health his plans to build, plan and increase provision for home care packages and home help hours in County Louth and CHO area 8 in line with the increased demand for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25150/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Home supports enable older people to remain in their own homes and communities, as well as facilitating timely discharge from hospital. The Government has made improved access to home support services a priority. This is reflected in the ongoing additional investment made in these services in recent years with the budget growing from €306 million in 2015 to almost €446 million in 2019. That is about a 45% increase in the annual budget for home support.

In 2018, the total budget for the service was €416.8 million, providing over 17.5 million hours. In 2019 almost €30 million has been added to the home support budget. This year the HSE intends to provide over 18.2 million home support hours, including intensive home care packages, to over 53,000 people. When one looks at the year-on-year targets, this means that this year’s National Service Plan aims to deliver about 800,000 more hours than the 2018 target. The Home Support Budget for CHO 8 has risen from €40.6m in 2018 to almost €43.2m in 2019 and the target is to provide over 1.7m home support hours this year.

The allocation of funding for home supports, though significant, is finite and services must be delivered within the funding available. The Home Support Service is not demand led and is therefore operated in line with agreed budgetary limits and targets as set out in the HSE National Service Plan.

To achieve compliance with its funding allocation, the HSE must ensure that the value of the total number of hours provided does not exceed the budget. This means that the HSE has to manage its service delivery over the course of the year to align with the total funding available. It also has a responsibility to ensure that activity is planned so as to anticipate critical demand pressures, most particularly in respect of emergency pressures in the initial and latter parts of the year.

The level of funding that will be available for the HSE in 2020 will be considered as part of this year's national Estimates and Budgetary process.

Elder Abuse

Ceisteanna (384)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

384. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if he will report on proposed legislation which would allow powers to be given to State agencies to investigate cases by which an elderly parent or parents are being abused physically or by which an elderly person is having their financial situations being interfered with by another person; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25152/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Deputy's question is well timed as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day took place last Saturday 15 June. The day serves as a call to action for individuals, organisations and communities to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.

The safety and protection of adults (including older people) who may be at risk of harm or abuse is a key objective of Government and society. This is why the Minister for Health sought Government approval in December 2017 for the development of an adult safeguarding policy for the health and social care sector and any underpinning legislation as required. This will be the first such overarching policy for the health sector.

The Department's ongoing work in this area addresses the Government's Decision to approve this proposal. An overarching sectorial policy of this nature is a complex undertaking, not least because it will cover adult safeguarding in the public, voluntary and private health and social care sector. Consideration will be given to appropriate health sector adult safeguarding measures including investigation of physical and financial abuse.

The Department of Health's focus is on delivering a comprehensive health and social care sector policy and, subsequently, any required legislation to underpin it. It is however, recognised that adult safeguarding (including protection from elder abuse) is a matter for every sector. For example, the type of abuse referred to by the Deputy may often be criminal in nature, and An Garda Síochána can investigate such matters.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

Ceisteanna (385)

Bobby Aylward

Ceist:

385. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health when the 7.5% property rate within the fair deal scheme capped at three years for the vast majority of persons will be extended to farming families; if the extension will be applied retrospectively to current participants of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25156/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The proposed policy change to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS), to cap contributions based on farm and business assets at 3 years where a family successor commits to working the productive asset, has been approved by Government. My Department developed draft Heads of Bill while considering a number of complex ancillary policy and operational matters which may need to be addressed in the proposed legislation.

It is intended that this proposed policy change, the 3 year cap, will be extended to eligible existing participants in long term residential care so that they are not disadvantaged, but that there would be no retrospective recoupment of contributions for those who have paid contributions over and above the 3 year period. The cost of applying the change to existing residents who will qualify from the coming into effect of the provisions has been factored into the overall cost of this proposed legislative change.

The Heads of Bill were circulated to Government last week. The changes to the Scheme will come into effect as soon as the legislative process is successfully complete. I intend to progress this as quickly as possible, however, the timeline for completion of the legislation will also depend on how it passes through the Houses.

Hospital Staff Data

Ceisteanna (386)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

386. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the number of full-time permanent nurse posts that Beaumont Hospital offered graduate nurses in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of posts that were accepted in each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25160/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Long-Term Illness Scheme

Ceisteanna (387)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

387. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if an application for inclusion on the long-term illness scheme will be granted on appeal to a person (details supplied). [25163/19]

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.

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Ceisteanna (388)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

388. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if a wheelchair will be provided for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25164/19]

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 Applications

Ceisteanna (389)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

389. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health the reason a medical card application was closed even though the requested information was submitted on time for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25185/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Departmental Correspondence

Ceisteanna (390)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

390. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health if all communication, correspondence and documents, or all of the above, between him, his office, his advisers, his Department and a person (details supplied) and or their team and officials and a company from 1 January 2019 and to date in 2019 will be published. [25198/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Records such as this are not routinely retrieved and compiled for publication by my Department. I understand that the particular records in question are the subject of an FOI request submitted by the Deputy in recent days, and this will of course be dealt with by my Department in the normal manner in accordance with FOI legislation.

Cross-Border Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (391)

Bobby Aylward

Ceist:

391. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health the reason for the delay in reimbursement payment by the HSE to a person (details supplied) who availed of the cross-Border directive for a procedure six months ago; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25200/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The management of the Cross Border Directive (CBD) is a matter for the Health Service Executive.

As the issue raised is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond the Deputy directly.

Medical Treatment Complaints

Ceisteanna (392)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

392. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health his views on the misdiagnosis and termination of an unborn child at Holles Street following prenatal genetic testing that appeared to originally confirm the presence of Trisomy 18, or Edward's Syndrome; if an independent statutory inquiry will be established and a review of genetic testing protocols undertaken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25205/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I am aware of the case the Deputy refers to in his question, however, it would be highly inappropriate for me to comment on an individual case. Our overriding concern at this time must be for the couple involved.

I have been advised that steps are being taken to have an independent review of this case undertaken. It is important to await the results of that review, which will allow for a better understanding of what has occurred. It will also allow for any learning that may emerge to be disseminated throughout the health system.

I have requested that the HSE reply to you directly on the operational issues that you have raised.

Abortion Services Provision

Ceisteanna (393, 419)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

393. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health if he is satisfied that sufficient infrastructural and staff supports are in place to support the implementation of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25206/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

419. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health the measures he took in response to the concerns raised by a person (details supplied) at a meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health on 19 September 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25312/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 393 and 419 together.

As the issues raised in the Deputy's questions are operational matters, I have requested that the HSE replies directly to you.

Mental Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (394)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

394. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health the number of private companies and organisations providing mental health services under contract with the HSE; the amount paid to same in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25207/19]

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.

Paediatric Services

Ceisteanna (395)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

395. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health if investigations have been carried out into appointing a paediatric neurology team to an area (details supplied); the service in place for neurology patients in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25237/19]

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 reply to the Deputy directly.

Bed Availability

Ceisteanna (396)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

396. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health if a long-term bed made will be made available to a person (details supplied). [25238/19]

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.