Hepatitis C Compensation Payments

Ceisteanna (1455)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

1455. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health the number of families that applied for assistance from the hepatitis C and HIV compensation tribunal that are still waiting for their cases to be resolved; and the legal fees paid to solicitors by the tribunal to date. [32967/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Hepatitis C & HIV Compensation Tribunal was established on a non-statutory basis in December 1995 and was put on a statutory footing in November 1997 by means of the Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal Act.  An amending Act was passed in 2002 extending the remit of the Tribunal to include HIV. The 2002 Act also introduced additional heads of claim for the relatives of infected persons: loss of consortium, dependency losses, loss of society, post-traumatic stress and care claims. The legislation also provides for the right of appeal to the High Court in respect of decisions of the Tribunal.

The Tribunal has been hearing claims on a continuous basis since March 1996.  The Tribunal advises that there are 434 claims outstanding, of which 371 relate to secondary claimants (i.e. spouses, carers and/or dependents of primary claimants).  The Tribunal further advises that generally, once all the documentation has been received and the claimants Solicitor has indicated that the case is ready to proceed, a suitable hearing date is allocated.

Also, the Tribunal regularly requests updates from the legal representatives of claimants as to whether outstanding cases can be listed for hearing. 

A total of €181,520,135 has been paid in legal fees to solicitors by the Tribunal to date.  This includes legal fees associated with High Court Appeals.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (1456)

John Brassil

Ceist:

1456. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health if an appointment will be expedited for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32973/19]

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.

Services for People with Disabilities

Ceisteanna (1457)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Ceist:

1457. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health if CHO 7 has reviewed the home support service in disabilities in order to deliver a €0.3 million reduction in the cost of the service; if this reduction will be made; and if there will be a reduction in the number of home support hours for persons with disabilities in CHO 7 in 2019. [32978/19]

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.

Congregated Settings Report

Ceisteanna (1458)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Ceist:

1458. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health the target for persons to be moved out of congregated settings in 2019 by CHO in tabular form; and the number of persons that have moved on to date in 2019. [32979/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Report “Time to Move on from Congregated Settings - A Strategy for Community Inclusion” proposes a new model of support in the community moving people from Congregated settings to the community in line with Government policy. The Report identified around 4000 people (based on 2008 census) with disabilities in Ireland living in congregated settings, defined as a residential setting where people live with ten or more people.

The Programme for Partnership Government contains a commitment to continue to move people with disabilities out of congregated settings, to enable them to live independently and to be included in the community.  The objective is to reduce this figure by one-third by 2021 and ultimately, to eliminate all congregated settings.

By the end of this year, we will have exceeded this target and under 2,100 people with a disability will remain living in congregated settings. I want to emphasise that the appropriate supports and resources are being put in place to ensure that people are supported as they move out of residential centres. The model of care for individuals will be based on a person centred plan (PCP). The PCP may change over time in line with an individual’s needs and circumstances and the model of service delivery applicable at a particular time.

Any opportunity for residents to live in smaller settings in the community will come after considerable planning and discussion with those residents and their families. It will be on the basis that it will enhance their life, and anyone who moves will continue to access the services they require.

The HSE has prioritised the transition of a further 160 people from congregated settings in 2019 under its Service Plan, and I am informed that 49 people have moved into their homes in the community to the end of March this year.

As the HSE is responsible for leading out on the recommendations of "Time to Move on from Congregated Settings - A Strategy for Community Inclusion", I have asked the HSE to reply directly to the Deputy in relation to the questions posed.

Services for People with Disabilities

Ceisteanna (1459)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Ceist:

1459. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health the original budget allocation for disability services including to non-statutory providers in 2018 by CHO area in tabular form; the outturn for same in 2018; and the budget allocation for 2019. [32980/19]

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.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

Ceisteanna (1460)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

1460. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health his views on a matter regarding a set-down and pick-up area for wheelchair taxis at UHK (details supplied). [33058/19]

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.

Rehabilitation Training Allowance Payments

Ceisteanna (1461)

Seán Crowe

Ceist:

1461. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Health the reason for the proposal to end the rehabilitation training allowance for new entrants with an impairment from September 2019. [33059/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE’s New Directions policy seeks to reconfigure and personalise HSE funded adult day services to offer a flexible and individualised set of supports to enable each person to live a life of their choosing in accordance with their own wishes and needs.

Rehabilitative Training (RT) Programmes are designed to equip participants with basic personal, social and work-related skills. Approximately 2,300 people attend RT programmes, with 400 new attendees due to start this coming September.  Payable in addition to Disability Allowance, the RT Bonus payment is currently payable at a rate of €31.80 per week to attendees of these RT Programmes, who can attend for a period of up to 4 years.  The RT Bonus was introduced in 2001, aligned with a similar FÁS Training Bonus. This FÁS Training Bonus later became the Solas Vocational Training Programme payment, which was reduced in 2011 and discontinued in 2012.

Over the next four years, from September 2019, the RT Bonus will not apply to new attendees while this measure will have no impact on current participants as their payments will continue until they complete their 4 year programme. Importantly, the phasing out of the RT Bonus will mean that HSE Community Healthcare Organisations will have some funding to reallocate towards increasing the number of days per week available to those who did not receive a full service during the recession, or who are on a waiting list for a day service. 

The phasing out of this Bonus payment by the HSE will ensure more people have access to a day service on an equitable basis, consistency in treatment of all day service users and maximise the use of finite resources.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Staff

Ceisteanna (1462)

Seán Crowe

Ceist:

1462. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Health the staff shortages in personnel awaiting to be filled in view of the fact that there is an almost 60% shortage in child and adolescent mental health services in the south-west area of County Dublin; the impact this is having on waiting lists; the waiting times to access services; and the measures being introduced to recruit new personnel. [33060/19]

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.

Services for People with Disabilities

Ceisteanna (1463)

Seán Crowe

Ceist:

1463. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Health the timeframe for a child seeking supports in a catchment area in view of the growing waiting list for children with profound speech and language difficulties in the CHO 7 area; the key staff posts or personnel required to fill vacant positions; and the measures being applied to deal with the lengthening waiting times. [33061/19]

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.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (1464, 1551)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

1464. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that waiting lists for spinal fusion surgery are growing with the latest figures showing 102 children waiting across the children's' hospitals; the reason the orthopaedic theatre in Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, is only open three days per week in the context of the growing waiting list; his plans to deal with the waiting lists for surgery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33062/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

1551. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there are up to 69 children waiting at the beginning of January 2019 for spinal fusion and that since July 2019 there are 102 children waiting; the steps which will be taken in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33396/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1464 and 1551 together.

I sincerely regret that children can experience a long waiting time for treatment for scoliosis, and I am conscious of the burden that this places on them and their families.  

Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) published the update on the Scoliosis 10-Point Action Plan on 12th July. This marks the second update to the plan, following an interim progress report which issued in October 2018. The plan, which was co-designed by clinicians and managers in paediatric orthopaedics and with the three scoliosis advocacy groups-Scoliosis Advocacy Network Group (SANG), Scoliosis Support and Awareness Ireland, and Scoliosis Ireland - sets out how additional funding provided by the HSE is invested to support children and young people with scoliosis.

The July publication provides an update on the progress made to date up against the 10 actions points and demonstrates the completion of four of the actions with a commitment to implementing the remaining six actions this year.

CHI advise that their priority for 2019 is to ensure that capacity is available to schedule patients that require surgery based on clinical priority. More broadly, waiting list figures for the end of June 2019 indicate the impact of the plan, with overall waiting list figures for scoliosis surgery at the end of June recording a 20% reduction since January 2018. The addition of a new orthopaedic consultant post and the extension of theatre opening hours will continue to support the management of general orthopaedic waiting lists and enable consultants to better manage both spinal referral patients, and general orthopaedics, in order to reduce the number of patients waiting for a surgical procedure.

In terms of activity, across CHI a total of 418 scoliosis-related surgical procedures were performed in 2018, compared with 371 in 2017 and 224 in 2016. To date this year, CHI have carried out 179 such procedures.

CHI further advise that as part of the Action Plan, additional Multidisciplinary Team staff appointments have been made across CHI increasing support to the service. In this regard, 88% of HSE funded posts, as per the 2019 National Service Plan, are in place, with the remaining posts at various stages of the recruitment process.

With regard to children with complex clinical needs, I have met regularly with the Senior Management of the HSE and the CEO of Children’s Health Ireland to discuss their short term and long-term plans to provide a better service for patients and their families. The CEO has provided assurances to me and advised that while there are a number of very complex and difficult cases at present, the Hospital will continue to provide all the support and services required to children and their patients. In situations where a child has multiple clinical complexities and medical conditions, a multidisciplinary team of specialist consultants always work in consultation with parents on the development and management of an appropriate treatment plan.

In relation to the particular query raised regarding the opening days of the orthopaedic theatre in Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (1465)

Peter Fitzpatrick

Ceist:

1465. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will receive a hospital appointment. [33063/19]

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.

Respite Care Services

Ceisteanna (1466, 1467, 1468)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

1466. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health when he last met with chief executives and boards of section 38 and 39 organisations; if the issue of access to overnight respite care was raised at those meetings; and if so, his response. [33085/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

1467. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health if persons with intellectual disabilities are expected to take up respite beds outside of their county; and if so, the furthest distance from the residence of the person considered to be appropriate. [33086/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

1468. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health the number of families in each county waiting for overnight respite care for children and adults with intellectual disabilities; and the average length of waiting times in days, months and years. [33087/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1466 to 1468, inclusive, together.

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

Medical Card Appeals

Ceisteanna (1469)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

1469. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) is waiting on a medical card appeal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33092/19]

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.

Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (1470)

John Brassil

Ceist:

1470. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health if the case of a person (details supplied) will be reviewed in order to sanction funding for therapy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33106/19]

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.

Hospital Procedures

Ceisteanna (1471)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

1471. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Health the position with regard to the mandatory reporting of injuries caused by knives, firearms and other potentially dangerous implements which present in hospital settings; the monitoring of the reporting to ensure the quality of data provided; the publication regime for the data; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33111/19]

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.

Rehabilitation Training Allowance Payments

Ceisteanna (1472)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

1472. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health the steps he will take with the HSE and if he will request it to suspend its plans to abolish the rehabilitative training allowance for disabled school leavers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33125/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE’s New Directions policy seeks to reconfigure and personalise HSE funded adult day services to offer a flexible and individualised set of supports to enable each person to live a life of their choosing in accordance with their own wishes and needs.

Rehabilitative Training (RT) Programmes are designed to equip participants with basic personal, social and work-related skills. Approximately 2,300 people attend RT programmes, with 400 new attendees due to start this coming September.  Payable in addition to Disability Allowance, the RT Bonus payment is currently payable at a rate of €31.80 per week to attendees of these RT Programmes, who can attend for a period of up to 4 years.  The RT Bonus was introduced in 2001, aligned with a similar FÁS Training Bonus. This FÁS Training Bonus later became the Solas Vocational Training Programme payment, which was reduced in 2011 and discontinued in 2012.

Over the next four years, from September 2019, the RT Bonus will not apply to new attendees while this measure will have no impact on current participants as their payments will continue until they complete their 4 year programme. Importantly, the phasing out of the RT Bonus will mean that HSE Community Healthcare Organisations will have some funding to reallocate towards increasing the number of days per week available to those who did not receive a full service during the recession, or who are on a waiting list for a day service. 

The phasing out of this Bonus payment by the HSE will ensure more people have access to a day service on an equitable basis, consistency in treatment of all day service users and maximise the use of finite resources.

Home Care Packages

Ceisteanna (1473)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

1473. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health if home help hours and home care packages will be increased in counties Laois and Offaly for the elderly and persons with disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33126/19]

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.

Services for People with Disabilities

Question No. 1475 answered with Question No. 1208.

Ceisteanna (1474)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

1474. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health if speech and language services and occupational therapy services will be increased for children with disabilities who are waiting long periods of time to access the services in counties Laois and Offaly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33127/19]

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.

Question No. 1475 answered with Question No. 1208.

Health Services Charges

Question No. 1477 answered with Question No. 1211.

Ceisteanna (1476)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

1476. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the measures he is taking in budget 2020 to reduce charges for cancer patients; the estimated cost of removing the prescription charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33137/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Programme for Partnership Government contains a commitment to reduce the cost of medicines by reducing the prescription charge for medical card holders. 

In line with this commitment, in Budget 2019 I announced a reduction in the prescription charge to €1.50, subject to a monthly cap of €15, for all medical card holders over the age of 70. This reduction came into effect on 1 April 2019. 

This reduction followed from my commitment in Budget 2018, where I reduced the prescription charge to €2 for medical card holders aged under 70. 

The estimated cost of abolishing prescription charges for all medical card holders is €82 m.

I intend to consider further proposals for reductions in the prescription charge for medical card holders, in the context of the implementation of the health commitments in the Programme for Government and with regard to the funding available. However, at present I have no plans to reduce prescription charges specifically for medical card holders with a cancer diagnosis.

Question No. 1477 answered with Question No. 1211.

HSE Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (1478)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

1478. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health when the clinical lead in sexual health will be filled; the number of persons that applied for the post; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33153/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter, I have referred the Deputy's question to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to him.

Medical Aids and Appliances Applications Data

Ceisteanna (1479)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

1479. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health the number of children in the Cork and Kerry CHO4 area awaiting for an appliance by the different types of appliances including, for example, a specialised wheelchair, hoist, shower chair and orthotics for periods (details supplied) in tabular form; the estimated funding needed to clear the waiting list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33155/19]

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.