Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Ceisteanna (407)

Michael Harty

Ceist:

407. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Health if the HSE has completed a review on the cost effectiveness of providing FreeStyle Libre sensors to assist persons in managing diabetes; his plans to provide this technology in the near future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27670/19]

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.

Hospital Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (408, 454)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

408. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health when the emergency department at Mayo University Hospital will be extended and capacity increased. [27680/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

454. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health when an extension will be made to the emergency department in Mayo University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27816/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 408 and 454 together.

The Health Service Executive's National Capital & Property Steering Group are currently considering an application for capital developments at the Emergency Department, the Medical Assessment Unit and additional bed capacity at Mayo University Hospital. The HSE has informed my Department that further information has been requested by the Steering Group in relation to this application. It is expected that this information will be provided in advance of the next meeting of the Steering Group in September 2019.

This project at Mayo University Hospital is at the very early stages of development. It is important to recognise that all capital development proposals, including this one, must progress through detailed appraisal, planning and design, procurement, construction and commissioning stages before a firm timeline or funding requirement can be established.

The availability of funding, the relative priority and the stage in the project's lifecycle determines the timeframe for the delivery of capital projects such as the proposed capital developments at the Emergency Department and the Medical Assessment Unit at Mayo University Hospital.

Our plans for the 2019 bed capacity programme include preparation of 202 beds, including 10 additional beds in Mayo University Hospital, during 2019, with a view to bringing this extra capacity into operation early in 2020

Mayo University Hospital is an integral part of the Saolta Hospital Group providing health services and care to the people of Mayo and the west of Ireland. The Hospital provides quality patient care, delivered safely by skilled and valued staff, through the best use of available resources. This Government is committed to developing services and infrastructure at Mayo University Hospital.

Patient Data

Ceisteanna (409)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

409. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health the number of persons that presented to the emergency department at Mayo University Hospital in 2018 and to date in 2019. [27681/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The hospital system is currently operating at close to full capacity. The number of patients attending Emergency Departments continues to increase year on year, with approximately 1.3 million attendances in 2018, up 3.5% on 2017. This reflects increasing demand for unscheduled care, especially by patients in the 75 and over age group.

For the first five months of 2019, the number of patients attending hospital EDs increased by 4.9%, and the number of ED admissions increased by 3.3% compared to the same period last year. Despite the significant increase in demand, our health services have managed better for the first five months of 2019 than in the previous year, and the numbers of patients waiting on trolleys nationally were 6.8% lower than the same period last year.

With regard to the numbers of presentations at the emergency department of Mayo University Hospital, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly with the requested information.

Hospital Staff Data

Ceisteanna (410, 411, 412)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

410. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health the number of midwives employed at Mayo University Hospital; and the number of vacancies for midwives at the hospital. [27682/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

411. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health the number of women that went through the maternity unit at Mayo University Hospital in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019. [27683/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

412. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health the number of babies born at the maternity facilities in Mayo University Hospital in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019. [27684/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 410 to 412, inclusive, together.

As the queries raised by the Deputy relate to operational matters, I have asked the HSE to reply to you directly.

Hospital Consultant Remuneration

Ceisteanna (413)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

413. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the further proposals he is considering to restore salary levels for the cohort of hospital consultants employed since 2011 and in the context of budget 2020. [27688/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The issue of new entrant consultant pay has been examined by the Public Sector Pay Commission. The Commission found that evidence of recruitment campaigns with very low levels of applications was indicative of on-going difficulties in regard to recruitment of consultants. Research undertaken on its behalf identified a number of relevant factors including relative pay, training opportunities and the lack of attractiveness of specific posts, particularly in smaller hospitals.

The Commission acknowledged that the difference in pay between the pre-existing and new entrant consultants is greater than for other categories of public servants. It did not view the measures announced last September for new entrant public servants generally, as being sufficient to address the degree of pay differential which exists for Consultants. Given its analysis, the Commission proposed that the Parties to the Public Service Stability Agreement jointly consider what further measures could be taken, over time, to address the pay differential.

The Government accepted the Report of the Commission and recognises that there are significant recruitment and retention challenges in relation to consultant posts. The proposal of the Commission does need to be addressed. The next step is to engage with the representative organisations of medical consultants.

Notwithstanding the current recruitment challenges, the number of consultants working in the public health service continues to grow year on year. It increased by 125 whole time equivalents or just over 4 per cent in the year to the end of May 2019. In the five years to the end of May 2019 the number of consultants has increased by 533 - over 20 per cent - and now stands at 3,121 WTE's.

Primary Care Centres Staff

Ceisteanna (414)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

414. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the steps he is taking to ensure that all primary care centres have the necessary complement of general practitioners in view of reports that more than 20% of those centres have no practitioner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27689/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the HSE has responsibility for the provision, along with the maintenance and operation of Primary Care Centres and other Primary Care facilities, the Executive has been asked to reply directly to the Deputy

State Claims Agency Data

Ceisteanna (415)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

415. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the current level of claims against the HSE; the cost of these liabilities over the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27690/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The State Claims Agency (SCA) has a statutory remit to manage personal injury claims, including claims in respect of clinical negligence, on behalf of Delegated State Authorities (DSA’s) including the Health Service Executive. 

The specific details relating to the Deputy's question have been provided to me by the State Claims Agency and are set out in the following report. I have been informed by the State Claims Agency (SCA) that the information contained in this document has been extracted from the National Incident Management System (NIMS). It reflects active claims figures as at 27/06/2019 and transactional expenditure over the 5 full year period 2014 – 2018. The figures only relate to claims against the HSE, and exclude claims against TUSLA and other clinical schemes, which are also funded by the HSE. 

Claims against HSE

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (416, 418)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

416. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health if a person transfers assets in 2014, makes an application for the fair deal scheme in 2015 but does not take up the nursing home placement and continues to reside and be cared for at home until 2019, the reason their application for fair deal in 2019 is based on their financial circumstances in 2015 rather than 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27692/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

418. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health if fair deal assessment remains valid in circumstances (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27696/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 416 and 418 together.

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS), commonly referred to as A Fair Deal, is a system of financial support for those in need of long-term nursing home care. Participants contribute to the cost of their care according to their income and assets while the State pays the balance of the cost.

The Scheme aims to ensure that long-term nursing home care is accessible and affordable for everyone and that people are cared for in the most appropriate settings. An applicant to the scheme can choose any public, voluntary or approved private nursing home. The home must have availability and be able to cater for the applicant's particular needs.

Participants in the Scheme contribute up to 80% of their assessable income and a maximum of 7.5% per annum of the value of assets held. Assets include cash assets and all forms of property whether situated in the State or not. The capital value of an individual’s principal private residence (PPR) is only included in the financial assessment for the first three years of their time in care. This is known as the three year cap.

In line with the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009 a transferred asset, is assessed as per its value on the date application for State support was first made. This is provided in Schedule 1 of the Act. In the context of a transferred asset, it relates to an asset which has been transferred at any time in the period of 5 years prior to, or at any time on or subsequent to, the date on which an application for State support is first made by or on behalf of that person. It relates to circumstances in which the transfer was made for no consideration, for nominal consideration, or for consideration which is less than 75 per cent of the estimated market value of the interest of the person in the asset at the time of the transfer, with some exceptions relating to the transfer of assets in the context of the maintenance of a child or other matrimonial proceedings.

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Question No. 418 answered with Question No. 416.

Ceisteanna (417)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

417. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the position of the review into making the FreeStyle Libre device available to all patients with type 1 diabetes; if the findings of a survey (details supplied) will form part of the review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27693/19]

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.

Question No. 418 answered with Question No. 416.

Prescriptions Charges

Ceisteanna (419)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

419. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of reducing a charge (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27699/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The estimated cost of reducing the prescription charge for medical card holders over the age of seventy to €1.25, to €1.00 and abolition for over seventies is as follows.

€1.25

€6 m

€1.00

€12 m

€0

€36 m

Prescriptions Charges

Ceisteanna (420)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

420. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of reducing a charge (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27700/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The estimated cost of reducing the prescription charge for all medical card holders to €1.50 is €11.5 m.

The estimated cost of reducing the prescription charge for all medical card holders to €1.00 is €35 m.

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

Drugs Payment Scheme

Ceisteanna (421)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

421. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of reducing a family charge (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27701/19]

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.

General Practitioner Contracts

Ceisteanna (422)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

422. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if payments under the GMS contract for general practitioners can be made in advance or monthly for new practices (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27710/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Drugs Payment Scheme

Ceisteanna (423)

John Brassil

Ceist:

423. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 112 of 28 March 2019, the length of time he expects the review will take; when the results will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27711/19]

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.

General Practitioner Services Provision

Ceisteanna (424)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

424. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health the financial supports available for general practitioners who wish to take over or set up new practices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27712/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Under the General Medical Services (GMS) contract, GPs are reimbursed for a range of services they provide to medical card and GP visit card holders. GPs are remunerated for these services primarily on a capitation basis, with a range of additional support payments and fees for specific items of service. GPs are also remunerated for services they provide on behalf of the HSE under other public health schemes, such as the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme, Primary Childhood Immunisation Scheme etc.

Under the GMS scheme GPs are also paid a subsidy towards the cost of employing a practice nurse and/or a practice secretary. The rate payable depends on the GP's GMS panel size and the level of experience of the nurse or secretary.

GPs working in rural areas who meet the qualifying criteria will also qualify for the rural support allowance of €20,000 per annum.

I am pleased that we have recently been able to conclude an agreement with the Irish Medical Organisation on a major package of GP contractual reforms which will benefit patients and general practitioners and make general practice a more attractive career option for doctors.

Agreement has been reached on the provision of new services and on a wide-ranging set of modernisation and reform measures. In return for cooperation with these service developments and reforms, the Government will increase investment in general practice by approximately 40% (or €210 million) over the next 4 years. This will see significant increases in capitation fees for GPs who participate in the reform programme and the introduction of new fees and subsidies for additional services such as the chronic disease programme.

There will be increased support for GPs working in rural practices and for those in disadvantaged urban areas. Improvements in the maternity and paternity leave arrangements have also been agreed, in recognition of the need to ensure that general practice is compatible with doctors’ family friendly commitments.

Each GP who holds a GMS contract has been invited to sign up to the reform measures which will allow them to access the new fees from 1 July 2019. I am informed that a high proportion of GPs holding a GMS contract have already responded positively to this invitation.

Nursing Staff Provision

Ceisteanna (425)

John Brassil

Ceist:

425. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the assistance that will be given in the form of funding for the training to advance nurse practitioner level for a nurse (details supplied) in view of the general practitioner contract agreement that recognises that there is need for 247 new practice nurses here to support the contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27727/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I am pleased that we have recently been able to conclude an agreement with the Irish Medical Organisation on a major package of GP contractual reforms which will benefit patients and make general practice a more attractive career option for doctors.

The outcome of the talks process is a comprehensive service development and reform agreement in return for significant phased increases in funding for general practice services provided by GPs to medical card and GP visit card patients. In return for cooperation with a wide range of service developments and reforms, the Government will increase investment in general practice by approximately 40% (or €210 million) over the period 2019-2023.

The agreement includes the introduction of a structured chronic disease management programme, to be rolled out on a phased basis commencing in 2020, which will benefit over 430,000 medical card and GP visit card patients. New fees and subsidies will be available to participating GPs. Several enabling measures will be put in place to support the introduction of the programme, including supports to GP practices to enhance practice nurse capacity. Any required learning material will be made available on the HSE's online learning and development portal (HSE LanD) as is current practice.

It will not be a requirement for practice nurses providing patient care under the direction of GPs participating in the chronic disease management programme to be trained to Advanced Nurse Practitioner level.

Health Services Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (426)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

426. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health the position of a person (details supplied) on the panel for healthcare assistant; if there are upcoming vacancies in this regard; and if the panel will be extended over two years. [27729/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Home Care Packages Administration

Ceisteanna (427)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

427. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 431 of 11 June 2019, when a response will issue to same from the HSE. [27733/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I understand that a response to Parliamentary Question No. 431 of 11 June 2019 (PQ23286/19) issued from the HSE on Wednesday 26 June. A copy of that response is in the following link.

Letter

Rare Diseases

Ceisteanna (428)

Frank O'Rourke

Ceist:

428. Deputy Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Health the services and treatments available to persons with Friedreich's ataxia; the level of funding provided for research for treatments; his plans to increase funding for future treatments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27734/19]

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.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (429)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

429. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will be called for a procedure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27776/19]

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.