Primary Care Centres Provision

Ceisteanna (1505)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

1505. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health the status of the progress of the establishment of a primary care centre in Millstreet, County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33220/19]

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.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (1506)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

1506. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health the waiting time for funding to be approved for persons who are eligible for the nursing home support scheme in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33221/19]

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 (1507)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

1507. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that some service providers are advising parents of adults with intellectual disabilities to consider nursing homes for respite care; if this is now the policy of the HSE; if this advice is in accordance with the Disability Act 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33222/19]

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.

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 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

Ceisteanna (1508)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

1508. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health the number of children under six years of age waiting for assessment of need and associated therapies in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33223/19]

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

Ceisteanna (1509)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

1509. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health the level of engagement he has had in the past 12 months with service providers for persons with intellectual disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33224/19]

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.

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 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.

HSE Expenditure

Ceisteanna (1510)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

1510. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health when the HSE capital plan for 2019 will be published; the reason it has not been published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33225/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

My Department has been working with the Health Service Executive and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to develop a multi annual capital plan for the health services.

The Summer Economic Statement, published recently by the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, provides an expenditure reserve of up to €200m in 2020 to accommodate funding requirements for the new children's hospital and the National Broadband Plan.

This will allow my Department and the HSE to finalise a multi-annual Capital Plan.

Medical Card Applications Data

Ceisteanna (1511)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

1511. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health the number of medical card applications closed prior to a decision being made by the PCRS in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33226/19]

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.

Medical Card Administration

Ceisteanna (1512)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

1512. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health if the HSE will review the processing system in place for medical cards; if his attention has been drawn to the significant difficulty many persons experience in their communication with the PCRS; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33227/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Medical cards are processed by the National Medical Card Unit (NMCU) in the HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service. I have been assured by the HSE’s NMCU that there are currently no delays or significant communication difficulties arising as part of the processing of medical card applications. However if the Deputy wishes to provide further details about a specific application, I will request the NMCU to provide a response on the matter.

With regard to the processing system in place for the application of medical cards, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy.

Tobacco Control Measures

Ceisteanna (1513)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

1513. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health the section 38 and 39 residential, mental health and disability residential centres that are not currently implementing the HSE tobacco free campus policy by CHO in tabular form. [33254/19]

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.

Care of the Elderly Funding

Ceisteanna (1514, 1515, 1516)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

1514. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health the original budget allocation for older persons services in 2018 by CHO; the outturn for same in 2018; and the budget allocation for 2019. [33255/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Mary Butler

Ceist:

1515. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health the reason for the disparities between CHO areas in the outsourcing of the provision of home support hours for older persons. [33256/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Mary Butler

Ceist:

1516. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health the number of private companies used by the HSE for the provision of home support hours for older persons; the funding provided to each in 2018 and 2019; and the number of home support hours delivered in 2018 and to be delivered in 2019. [33257/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1514 to 1516, inclusive, together.

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

Drugs Payment Scheme

Ceisteanna (1517)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

1517. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Health if he will implement a monthly cap or limit on the amount paid by sufferers of chronic illnesses for treatment or medication or medical costs related to that illness; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33260/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The community drug schemes, which are operated by the HSE on behalf of the State, assist citizens with ongoing expenditure on medicine costs. The main schemes are as follows.

The Drugs Payment Scheme (DPS) is a non-means tested scheme which is open to any person who is ordinarily resident in the State, regardless of illness. Under the scheme, no individual or family pays more than €124 a month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme significantly reduces the cost burden for families and individuals with ongoing expenditure on medicines.

Medical card holders pay a prescription charge of €2.00 per item, with a monthly cap of €20.00. For medical card holders aged 70 and over, this charge is €1.50 per item, with a monthly cap of €15.00.

Under the Long Term Illness (LTI) Scheme, people with a specified condition receive drugs, medicines and medical and surgical appliances directly related to the treatment of their illness free of charge.

The Programme for Partnership Government contains a commitment to reduce the cost of medicines. In line with this commitment, I intend to consider proposals for further reductions in the DPS threshold and the prescription charge, in the context of the implementation of the health commitments in the Programme for Government and with regard to the funding available.

Disability Services Funding

Ceisteanna (1518)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

1518. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the funding deficit reported by the disability sector to his Department; the actions being taken to address the deficit; the services which will be impacted if the deficit is not addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33261/19]

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.

Assisted Decision Making

Ceisteanna (1519)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

1519. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health when Part 8 of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 will be implemented; the progress which has been made to establish a functioning decision support service; the estimated cost of establishing the Act in full; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33263/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Part 8 of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 provides a legislative framework for advance healthcare directives (AHDs). An AHD is a statement made by a person with capacity setting out his or her will and preferences regarding treatment decisions that may arise in the future when he or she no longer has capacity. On 17 October 2016 the Minister for Health established a multidisciplinary working group to prepare a detailed series of recommendations for the Director of the Decision Support Service (DSS), in relation to the code of practice under section 91(2) of the Act. In anticipation of the completion of that process, the Minister for Health commenced the remainder of section 91 on 17 December 2018 [S.I. No. 527 of 2018]. This enabled the Director of the DSS to progress the preparation of the code of practice on the AHD provisions, based on the working group’s recommendations, and in accordance with the specific process outlined in the Act. The multidisciplinary working group submitted its recommendations on the code of practice to the Director of the DSS on 21 December 2018.

The Director of the DSS will go out to consultation of the recommendations and once completed the final code of practice can be published by the Director with the Minister's consent. It is not possible to give a timeline for implementation of Part 8 of the Act at this time but work is ongoing to address the various requirement of this Part before commencement.

HSE Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (1520)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

1520. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the number of additional therapy positions filled in 2019 further to the announcement of 100 additional posts in budget 2019; if the recruitment process for these posts is still under way; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33264/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Respite Care Services Data

Ceisteanna (1521, 1522, 1523)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

1521. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the number of respite care places available; the annual budget provided for such places; the waiting lists for same by CHO area in tabular form; the recommended additional places needed; the estimated cost of increasing respite care funding by 20%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33265/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

1522. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the estimated additional expenditure required for home support services to end the current waiting lists being experienced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33266/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

1523. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the estimated additional expenditure required to increase provided home support services by 10%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33267/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1521 to 1523, inclusive, together.

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

Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (1524)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

1524. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of placing home support services on a statutory footing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33268/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The development of a 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 encompasses 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.

Disability Services Data

Ceisteanna (1525)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

1525. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the number of personal assistant hours allocated by the HSE in each of the past five years by CHO in tabular form; the average amount of hours allocated per person; the cost of allocating these hours per year; the estimated unmet need existing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33271/19]

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.

Neuro-Rehabilitation Services Provision

Ceisteanna (1526)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

1526. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of providing an additional neurorehabilitation team; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33272/19]

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.

Autism Support Services

Ceisteanna (1527)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

1527. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health if he has considered introducing an autism empowerment Act; if meaningful negotiations have taken place towards the introduction of such an Act; if an estimated cost has been calculated on this measure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33275/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Following the publication of an Autism Spectrum Disorder Bill in 2017, Minister Harris asked the HSE to prepare a report detailing models of good practice across the Health Service. The HSE Report was published in December 2018 by the Minister alongside a Department of Health research paper on the prevalence of Autism in Ireland. The Minister then instructed the HSE to proceed with the establishment of a Programme Board who will further the implementation of the recommendations of the Review.

The HSE 2019 National Service Plan reflects this commitment and an Autism Plan is to be published later this year.

A national working group has been established focused on the implementation of the Plan. This builds on the substantial work already commenced in relation to improving Autism services, and the assessment of need process in particular.

Key priorities for the group include the Establishment of a Programme Board, Programme of Awareness Raising and Engagement and Guidance to Clinicians and Service Development. The Programme Board has been established and are making progress on the other key priorities mentioned.

The multi service needs of people with Autism are broader than the remit of the Department of Health and span a number of Government Departments. The Department of Justice and Equality has responsibility for providing a focal point for the promotion and co-ordination of disability policy, including the development of the National Disability Inclusion Strategy. In this context, the Department of Justice oversees the implementation of the Strategy and the accompanying Programme of Additional Actions on Autism.

The Government and the Minister for Health are committed to supporting all people with disabilities in maximising their individual potential. The continuous improvement of services for all children with additional need including those with Autism is particularly important to achieve this Government priority.

National Dementia Strategy Implementation

Ceisteanna (1528)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

1528. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the progress made towards the full implementation of the national dementia strategy; the number of the priority and additional actions which have been met to date; the gaps which remain in access to services and the differences in services across the country; the number of dementia community activation co-ordinators recruited; the cost of each of these; the estimated cost of full implementation of the strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33276/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As a response to the challenges facing people with dementia and their families and carers, the National Dementia Strategy was launched in December 2014. The Strategy contains 14 priority and 21 additional actions and its implementation is being led by the National Dementia Office in the HSE.

The Strategy’s implementation was boosted at the time of its launch through a joint programme of investment by the HSE and the Atlantic Philanthropies. This €27.5 million investment allowed for a number of key actions within the Strategy to be advanced, including the establishment of the National Dementia Office, the provision of intensive homecare packages for people with dementia and the Understand Together awareness campaign. A mid-term review published in May 2018 found that, of the Strategy's 35 actions, one had been completed, substantial work had been completed on 16, with preliminary work conducted on 17 others.

As part of the memorandum of understanding between the Atlantic Philanthropies, Department of Health and the HSE, funding was allocated for an external, independent evaluation of the impact of the Strategy. The report on the outcome of the evaluation is at an advanced stage and will be considered by the National Dementia Monitoring Group later this month, prior to completion.

In 2016 and 2017, the National Dementia Office partnered with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland on a baseline study to map dementia-specific community-based services and supports around the country. The study has been used to inform a service finder hosted on the National Dementia Office’s website, which allows people to search for dementia-specific community services in their area.

The Dementia Community Activation Coordinator is a position jointly operated by the HSE and the Alzheimer Society of Ireland. The Coordinator is working with national organisations and key community stakeholders to increase the number of community dementia champions across Ireland in order to create sustainable dementia inclusive communities. €90,000 in Dormant Accounts funding was secured to fund salary costs for the position and costs for the community programme in 2018 and 2019.

With regard to the cost to fully implement the Strategy, as this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Industrial Disputes

Ceisteanna (1529, 1547, 1952)

Bobby Aylward

Ceist:

1529. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health the steps he will take to ensure the HSE engages in talks with an association (details supplied) with a view to resolving the dispute which is affecting front-line ambulance personnel and members of the National Ambulance Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33277/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

1547. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health if he will take all necessary steps to urgently resolve the dispute between the HSE and a union (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33385/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

1952. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health if he will bring the industrial dispute involving ambulance staff to a close by encouraging the HSE to recognise an organisation (details supplied). [34397/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1529, 1547 and 1952 together.

As you are aware, a branch of the Psychiatric Nurses Association called the National Ambulance Service Representative Association (NASRA) has been engaged in industrial action. The Psychiatric Nurses Association state that their industrial action is in connection with two substantive issues. The first is the automated deduction of union subscriptions. The second is the refusal by the HSE to engage in negotiations with the PNA or to recognise the PNA as representing ambulance personnel.

To be clear, NASRA, which is affiliated with the PNA, is a group which is not recognised by the HSE and, therefore, does not have negotiating rights. The PNA does not have negotiating rights for ambulance personnel. It should be noted that the HSE deducts subscriptions at source for those ambulance staff that are members of a number of unions. These are SIPTU, FORSA and UNITE. The deduction of subscriptions is not a legal right but rather a concession granted to recognised unions.

While it is regrettable that the PNA has taken this industrial action, it is not possible to negotiate with a union which is not recognised as having negotiating rights for ambulance grades.

Industrial relations policy has had a long-standing objective of avoiding fragmentation in worker representation in public sector employments, and the trade union movement generally, to facilitate the orderly conduct of bargaining and other aspects of industrial relations.

Officials in my Department have engaged with HSE management to explore ways forward to see if a resolution to the dispute can be progressed. These discussions have taken place, but an appropriate solution has yet to emerge. On that basis, the fact remains that the PNA does not have negotiating rights for ambulance grades and hence the HSE cannot negotiate with them in respect of this group.