Site Acquisitions

Question No. 419 answered with Question No. 393.

Ceisteanna (418)

James Browne

Ceist:

418. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health if he will consider purchasing a property (details supplied) to be used as a resource for community members, including persons with disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25309/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare services and infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.

Question No. 419 answered with Question No. 393.

Cross-Border Health Initiatives

Ceisteanna (420)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

420. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health his plans to review the efficiency of resources in the Cross Border Directive office in view of the volume of claims it receives from patients accessing healthcare in the United Kingdom; and his plans to increase staff numbers to deal with the backlog; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25316/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE is responsible for the operation of the Cross Border Directive and the management of staffing levels for the HSE Cross Border Directive (CBD) office is an operational matter for the HSE. I have, therefore, asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy.

It should be noted that the numbers of persons availing of the Directive has been increasing steadily for a number of years with a corresponding increase in the workload for the CBD office. I am aware that the HSE is currently considering a business case, and other interim steps, to address the issues which have arisen with regard to the processing of reimbursements.

Assisted Human Reproduction

Ceisteanna (421)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

421. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Health the steps he has taken to put in place a consent form to be signed by sperm donors granting permission for them to be added to a central register; when this consent form will be available to fertility clinics; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25326/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 (Act of 2015) was enacted to modernise family law in a way that is inclusive of and sensitive to the reality of contemporary family life in Ireland and to meet the needs of children living in diverse family types. The Minister for Health is responsible for the commencement of Parts 2 and 3 of the Act of 2015 and associated regulations.

Parts 2 & 3 of the Act of 2015 contain provisions relating to the consents required of parties to donor assisted human reproduction (DAHR) procedures (both donors and intending parents). These provisions include requiring the consent of the donor(s) to the recording of certain information about the themselves on the National Donor-Conceived Person Register (to be established under Part 3) to allow the rights of donor-conceived people to access (should they wish) information about their genetic heritage when they reach the age of 18 from the Register.

Regulations to be made under the Act of 2015 include a declaration of consent to be signed by a donor before they make a gamete donation for use in a DAHR procedure in the State. If the gamete is acquired from outside the State the donor must provide consent that is substantially the same as the statutory regulation. In advance of the commencement of these Regulations a sample information sheet on donor consent forms has been provided to fertility clinics on these requirements.

Home Help Service Data

Ceisteanna (422, 423, 429, 431, 432, 435, 446, 455)

John Brassil

Ceist:

422. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health when the HSE will communicate with persons on waiting lists to advise them that new and additional hours are suspended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25329/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brassil

Ceist:

423. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the other services being funded from the homecare budget that are not related to the homecare service or direct homecare client hours; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25330/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brassil

Ceist:

429. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the homecare hours being delivered for the HSE by third party private providers; the cost of the provision in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25339/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brassil

Ceist:

431. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the examination carried out to ensure compliance to the promise of equity by the HSE when allocating homecare hours to persons awaiting discharge from acute hospital beds versus the community waiting list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25341/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brassil

Ceist:

432. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the services, both pay and non-pay, being funded from the homecare budget that are not directly related to the homecare service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25344/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brassil

Ceist:

435. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the number of home support hours allocated to persons in acute hospital beds in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25351/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brassil

Ceist:

446. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health when the HSE plans to communicate with healthcare support assistants in relation to the embargo on new and additional hours; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25368/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brassil

Ceist:

455. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the reason healthcare support assistants were informed regarding the embargo on the delivery of a new or additional home support hours through the media; the reason the HSE did not communicate this decision with its staff; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25425/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 422, 423, 429, 431, 432, 435, 446 and 455 together.

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. This year the HSE intends to provide over 18.2 million home support hours, including intensive home care packages, to over 53,000 people. In 2019 almost €30 million has been added to the home support budget. 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.

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 must 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 to anticipate critical demand pressures, most particularly emergency pressures in the initial and latter parts of the year.

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 normal budgetary management. 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 the 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.

The level of funding that will be available for the HSE in 2020 will be considered as part of the national Estimates and budgetary process for 2019.

As the Deputy has raised a number of service matters I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Home Help Service

Ceisteanna (424)

John Brassil

Ceist:

424. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health if the attention of the HSE was drawn to the intention to move to a fair deal type scheme for homecare; if so, the date on which its attention was drawn to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25331/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The development of a new, standalone statutory scheme and system of regulation for home-support services is a long-standing objective of the Government, which the Department of Health is currently progressing. Work is ongoing to determine the optimal model for, and approach to the development of, the statutory scheme within the broader context of the Sláintecare reforms.

The HSE is aware of this on-going work, and meets with the Department on a regular basis to discuss the development and implementation of Government policy.

European Court of Justice Rulings

Ceisteanna (425)

John Brassil

Ceist:

425. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health if the HSE has budgeted for the implementation of a ruling by the European Court of Justice (details supplied); if so, the budget allowed for implementation of the legalisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25335/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

European Court of Justice Rulings

Ceisteanna (426)

John Brassil

Ceist:

426. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health if the requirement to make travel time payments to staff from within the existing 2019 home support budget was to bring the staff in line with the outcome of a ruling of the European Court of Justice (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25336/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Home Help Service

Ceisteanna (427)

John Brassil

Ceist:

427. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the additional procedures put in place to safeguard persons in the community that await a service; if the timeframe for reviewing the needs of persons has been narrowed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25337/19]

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.

Health Services Staff

Question No. 429 answered with Question No. 422.

Ceisteanna (428)

John Brassil

Ceist:

428. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the specific implications for healthcare support assistants in terms of envisioned change to their current working structure or terms and conditions of employment as a result of the implementation of the fair deal scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25338/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Question No. 429 answered with Question No. 422.

Home Help Service

Questions Nos. 431 and 432 answered with Question No. 422.

Ceisteanna (430)

John Brassil

Ceist:

430. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the reason the decision has been taken to reduce care hours in view of the fact the revised contract in WRC agreements guaranteed additional hours and states that the service would not be impacted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25340/19]

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.

Questions Nos. 431 and 432 answered with Question No. 422.

HSE Staff Data

Ceisteanna (433)

John Brassil

Ceist:

433. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the amount spent on HSE staff attending meetings, paperwork, time and travel negotiating and partially implementing the WRC agreement of 2017; the areas this was funded from; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25347/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Open Disclosures Policy

Question No. 435 answered with Question No. 422.

Ceisteanna (434)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

434. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a person (details supplied) allegedly issued a perceived threat against a senior clinician that had requested assistance for a proposed open disclosure meeting with a patient whose cancer diagnosis had suffered delayed treatment for 18 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25348/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Question No. 435 answered with Question No. 422.

Home Help Service

Ceisteanna (436)

John Brassil

Ceist:

436. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the purpose the fair deal for homecare income will be used for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25352/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The development of a new, standalone statutory scheme and system of regulation for home-support services is a key objective of the Government, which the Department of Health is currently progressing. This includes work to determine the optimal model for, and approach to the development of, the statutory scheme within the broader context of the Sláintecare reforms.

In preparation for the development of the statutory scheme, the Department commissioned the Health Research Board to carry out a review of the home-care systems in four European countries. In addition, the Department conducted a public consultation on home-care services, on which a report was published in 2018. These reports are available on the Department’s website and will help to ensure that the new scheme is informed both by international experience and by the views of stakeholders, including service-users.

The development of a new statutory scheme and system of regulation for home-support services is a complex process and no final decisions have been taken, at this time, on the broader issue of the financing of the scheme and any possible income arising.

Home Help Service

Ceisteanna (437)

John Brassil

Ceist:

437. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the implications of the fair deal template for homecare on the agreed and partially implemented revised contract of employment for healthcare support assistants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25353/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The development of a new, standalone statutory scheme and system of regulation for home-support services is a long-standing objective of the Government, which the Department of Health is currently progressing. Work is on-going to determine the optimal model for, and approach to the development of, the statutory scheme within the broader context of the Sláintecare reforms.

The development of such a scheme is a complex process, building on the HSE's continual enhancement of existing service-provision and on emerging good practice across the current system of health and social care delivery, including in relation to workforce planning, will be central to this.

In relation to the revised contact of employment for healthcare support assistants, in April 2014, following a Labour Court Recommendation, the HSE implemented new contracts for its directly employed home help staff. More recently, in 2017, the HSE engaged with SIPTU under a WRC Conciliation to review current home help staff contracts, as provided for in the 2014 Home Help Agreement. The aim was to ensure that contracted arrangements reflect the needs of the service, to maximise contracted hours for HSE directly employed staff and to take further steps towards professionalising the Home Support Service.

The agreement, under the auspices of the WRC will provide for:-

- an increase in contracted hours for over 90% of home support staff if they choose to accept the HSE offers

- a change of title from Home Help Worker to Health Care Support Assistant to better reflect the nature of the services being provided

- the introduction of rostered arrangements to give staff greater certainty regarding their hours of attendance with travel time factored into these arrangements

- assignment of work bases

- a requirement that all new Home Help staff should possess, on recruitment, the minimum qualification equivalent to a relevant QQI approved major award at Level 5 or higher.

The contracts for Home Help staff have been agreed and are being rolled out. Their roll out is subject to available resources and in conjunction with FÓRSA instruction to Home Help Managers.

HSE Expenditure

Ceisteanna (438)

John Brassil

Ceist:

438. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the number of hours paid to the national committee for the healthcare support assistant staff in addition to HSE staff that were involved in reaching an agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25354/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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