Drugs Payment Scheme Threshold

Ceisteanna (143)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

143. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of lowering the drugs payment scheme monthly threshold by amounts (details supplied) in tabular form. [27253/19]

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 Card Data

Ceisteanna (144, 156)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

144. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of reducing the medical card prescription charge by one euro; and the estimated cost of abolishing prescription charges [27254/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

156. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the estimated additional cost of extending free prescription medicines to the entire population and of abolishing prescription charges. [27266/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 144 and 156 together.

The estimated cost of reducing the prescription charge by one euro for all medical card holders is €47 m.

The estimated cost of abolishing prescription charges is €82 m.

It is not possible to estimate the additional cost of extending free prescription medicines to the entire population as the HSE does not have reliable data in relation to sub-threshold DPS and private dispensing.

Health Services Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (145)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

145. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of training and recruiting 110 advanced paramedics. [27255/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Ambulance Service Data

Ceisteanna (146)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

146. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the estimated operating cost of an additional three ambulances, including personnel, for each of the four HSE regions. [27256/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Neuro-Rehabilitation Services Data

Ceisteanna (147)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

147. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of providing a community neuro-rehabilitation team. [27257/19]

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.

National Dementia Strategy Implementation

Ceisteanna (148)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

148. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of implementing the national dementia strategy in full. [27258/19]

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.

Home Care Packages Expenditure

Ceisteanna (149)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

149. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of putting home care entitlements on a statutory footing. [27259/19]

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.

The development of a new statutory scheme and system of regulation for home-support services is a complex process which will require costing, and this work is currently on-going.

Hospitals Funding

Ceisteanna (150)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

150. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of ceasing private activity in public hospitals, assuming the revenue lost was replaced with public funding. [27260/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Deputy is aware, this matter has been considered by the Independent Review Group established to examine the removal of private activity from private hospitals (“the de Buitléir Group”). I have received the Report from the Group. It is a comprehensive examination of private activity in public hospitals and contains a small number of recommendations, including on the practical approach to take to remove private practice from public hospitals, the impacts that this removal will have, what timeframe should apply and how to phase it over time.

The Sláintecare Report contained estimated financial costings for the removal of private practice from public hospitals. Detailed consideration of the De Buitléir report by my Department officials is ongoing and covers a range of issues including further work on costings, which have also been discussed in engagement with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of the Taoiseach. It is intended that the De Buitléir report will be published when this consideration is complete.

HSE Funding

Ceisteanna (151)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

151. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of increasing the information technology budget of the HSE by 1%. [27261/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE ICT Capital budget is currently at €85 million for 2019 and is targeted to support those business functions and areas that are driving the change agenda in the Programme for Government and supporting Sláintecare priorities set by my Department. A 1% increase in the HSE ICT capital 2019 budget of €85 million represents an additional investment of €850,000.

Additional investment in eHealth and ICT was secured for the period 2018-2021 as part of the Mid-Term Capital Review. The capital provision for eHealth and ICT to 2021 is set out in the table below and will allow for a multi-annual rolling programme of work on multiple projects including Electronic Health Records, ePharmacy and telehealth:

2019

2020

2021

€85m

€100m

€120m

Maternity Services

Ceisteanna (152, 153, 154)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

152. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the estimated additional cost of implementing the national maternity strategy in full. [27262/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

153. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the estimated additional cost of ensuring each maternity hospital has access to foetal anomaly screening, including a breakdown in terms of equipment and staff. [27263/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

154. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the estimated additional cost of ensuring all maternity hospitals meet the birthrate plus standard for midwifery staffing. [27264/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 152 to 154, inclusive, together.

The National Women and Infants Health Programme in the HSE is leading on the implementation of the National Maternity Strategy. As such, the Programme has developed a detailed Implementation Plan which will see the National Maternity Strategy implemented on a phased basis over the lifetime of the Strategy. The Implementation Plan is presented under the Strategy's four strategic priorities and details how each of the 77 actions will be implemented. The funding requirement for the Strategy will vary from year to year and the Implementation Plan will inform the annual estimates process.

Given that the Deputy’s specific queries relate to the implementation of the Strategy and the associated cost, I have asked the HSE to reply to the Deputy directly.

General Practitioner Data

Question No. 156 answered with Question No. 144.

Ceisteanna (155)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

155. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the estimated additional cost of extending free general practitioner care to the entire population. [27265/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

GMS contractors receive a range of capitation rates, fee per service payments and practice supports. It is not possible to definitively calculate the cost of extending universal GP access given the wide range of payments and variables that have to be accounted for.

Such a calculation would require a complex and detailed modelling exercise to account for a range of demographic changes, future projections of service demands and variation in the number of GPs and the allowances that could be paid.

The cost of GP visit and medical cards varies significantly with the age of the cardholder. The table below outlines the current indicative average annual cost for GP visit card eligibility and medical card eligibility, by age group.

Age Group

Cost per

GP Visit Card

Cost per Medical Card

0 – 4 Yrs

€243

€390

5 – 15 Yrs

€165

€268

16 - 44 Yrs

€154

€688

45 – 64 Yrs

€223

€1,286

65 – 69 Yrs

€252

€1,663

Aged 70 and over

€500

€2,130

Note: Indicative costings compiled by the HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service, based on claims for the 12-month period to December 2018.

Extension of free GP care to all citizens who do not currently hold a medical card or GP visit card would encompass a further 2.8 million people approximately.

Question No. 156 answered with Question No. 144.

Hospital Charges

Ceisteanna (157)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

157. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of abolishing charges for emergency departments and inpatient care, respectively. [27267/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

In 2018, €29.3 million was raised through the statutory inpatient charge in the Acute Hospitals, with a further €18.6 million was raised through the outpatient charge.

Therefore, it would cost approximately €47.9 million to abolish these charges.