Treatment Abroad Scheme

Ceisteanna (795)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

795. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 181 of 15 May 2019, if a referral under the treatment abroad scheme will be expedited and approved for a person (details supplied). [34732/19]

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.

Departmental Correspondence

Ceisteanna (796)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

796. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health if a copy of all correspondence will be provided between his Department and a person (details supplied). [34734/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

In response to the Deputy's recent request under Freedom of Information legislation for these records, I understand that records up to the date of 25 July were issued to the Deputy on 29 August last.

I can advise the Deputy that my Department is arranging for the retrieval and collation of any additional records which may have been created since that date. This will necessarily involve a process of review, having regard to the Department's other legal obligations including in respect of data protection.

HSE Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (797)

Joan Collins

Ceist:

797. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Health if there are major issues with referrals to ear, nose and throat, ENT, care for children (details supplied). [34739/19]

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.

Dental Services Data

Ceisteanna (798)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

798. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health the number of appointments under the school dental service in Cork city in each of the past 15 years by child. [34741/19]

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.

Dental Services Data

Ceisteanna (799)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

799. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health the average age at which children had their first appointment under the school dental service in each of the past 15 years. [34742/19]

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.

Hospital Appointments Delays

Ceisteanna (800)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

800. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) is still waiting for an operation in view of the fact their condition was diagnosed over three years ago; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34747/19]

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.

Hospital Waiting Lists Data

Ceisteanna (801, 832)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

801. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the number of women waiting for colposcopy appointments by hospital on 19 July 2019, in tabular form. [34758/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

832. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the waiting times in each colposcopy clinic in each month since January 2018; and if the waiting times committed to for CIN 1 and CIN 3 women are being kept to in each month since January 2018, in tabular form. [34919/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 801 and 832 together.

CervicalCheck has established a network of quality assured colposcopy clinics for women requiring further investigation following a smear test. A woman can be referred to one of 15 colposcopy clinics located nationwide.

The HSE has advised that time taken in a clinical setting is considerably longer to facilitate answering queries and putting women at ease. The HSE advises that extra clinical sessions have been added to reduce waiting lists, and extra efforts are being made when appointments are cancelled to fill the vacant slot to further reduce waiting lists, and to ensure the increased referrals are categorised promptly. Notwithstanding these efforts, clinics have been experiencing service pressures, and my Department and the HSE have been engaging closely in relation to resources to alleviate pressures.

In relation to the specific data requested, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Ceisteanna (802)

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

802. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Health if a vitamin B12 injection supplied by a general practitioner is covered under the full medical card; if the patient is charged for this service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34760/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Under the terms of the current GMS contract, GPs are required to provide eligible patients with ''all proper and necessary treatment of a kind usually undertaken by a general practitioner and not requiring special skill or experience of a degree or kind which general practitioners cannot reasonably be expected to possess." There is no provision under the GMS GP contract for persons who hold a medical card or GP visit card to be charged for medical services provided under the contract.

It is a matter for the treating GP to determine in the case of each individual patient what is proper and necessary care. In circumstances where a GP, in the exercise of his/her clinical judgement, determines that a particular treatment or service requested by a patient is not clinically necessary, but the patient still wishes to receive same, it is at the GP's discretion whether he/she imposes a charge for providing the service/treatment in question.

Consultation fees charged by GPs outside the terms of the GMS contracts are a matter of private contract between the clinicians and their patients. My Department has no role in relation to such fees.

In line with the criteria under Section 3 of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, only products that are generally prescribed by a medical practitioner are on the HSE reimbursement list. Vitamins and minerals do not generally need a prescription. However, there is a limited range of products that were historically available on the GMS reimbursement list. Injectable Vitamin B 12 is one such product on the reimbursement list and, subject to the statutory prescription charge, is available to medical card holders without charge.

Hospital Investigations

Ceisteanna (803)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

803. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health if he and his officials have considered requesting HIQA to review the circumstances in relation to a recent termination (details supplied) in Holles Street Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34765/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the House will be aware, a termination took place at the National Maternity Hospital in March of this year on the grounds that a condition incompatible with life was present. It has subsequently emerged that the circumstances surrounding the decision to terminate may require review.

I would firstly like to stress the need to respect the privacy of the family at the centre of this case. My overriding concern as Minister for Health is for the couple involved and ensuring their questions are appropriately answered.

Section 11 of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 sets out the law on access to termination of pregnancy in cases where there is a condition present affecting the foetus that is likely to lead to the death of the foetus before or within 28 days of birth.

Section 9 of the Health Act 2007 sets out that the Minister for Health may require the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to undertake an investigation into HSE services if they have reasonable grounds to believe that there is a risk to the health or welfare of a person receiving those services, and the risk is the result of any act, failure to act or negligence on the part of the HSE or a service provider.

There is full agreement between the Department, the National Maternity Hospital and the family that an independent and external review into this case is required. I have been advised that the National Maternity Hospital is making arrangements to organise such a review of this case. I have also recently met with the family to hear directly of their concerns.

It is of vital importance that all parties are confident in both the independence of the review panel and its capacity to provide the requisite expertise to fulfil its remit, in line with the HIQA/Mental Health Commission's National Standards for the Conduct of Reviews of Patient Safety Incidents and the HSE Incident Management Framework. It is imperative that the review is now progressed so as to provide answers to the family and identify any learnings that may be applicable for the maternity services as a whole. I will also examine the findings of the review closely in order to consider any further actions that may be necessary.

Abortion Services Provision

Ceisteanna (804)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

804. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health the assurances he has received from Holles Street Hospital regarding the ongoing safety of termination services at the hospital; if this included practices at a clinic (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34766/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

With regard to the ongoing safety of termination of pregnancy services at the National Maternity Hospital, my Department sought, and received, assurances from the Hospital that the termination of pregnancy legislation is being correctly implemented by the Hospital and that appropriate policies, practices and procedures are in place to ensure compliance with that legislation. I met recently with the Master and these assurances were offered to me in person.

As the clinic in question is a private one, it falls outside the remit of the HSE and my Department. The Deputy may however wish to note that a Patient Safety Licensing Bill, which underwent pre-legislative scrutiny in 2018, will introduce a licensing requirement for all public and private hospitals, as well as clinics and facilities engaged in certain designated high-risk activities.

Health Services Appeals

Ceisteanna (805)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

805. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of an appeal by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34771/19]

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 Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (806)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

806. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will be called for an assessment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34773/19]

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.

Hospital Waiting Lists Data

Ceisteanna (807)

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

807. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health the number of children waiting for spinal fusion operations; the steps he will take to ensure there is more access to operating theatres for such children including clearer pathways to facilities in Cappagh Hospital for adolescents in need of spinal fusion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34776/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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.

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.

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 action 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. 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.

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.

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 251 such procedures.

In relation to the particular query raised regarding the number of children waiting for spinal fusion operations, and pathways to facilities in Cappagh Hospital for adolescents in need of spinal fusion operations, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy.

Vaccination Programme Data

Ceisteanna (808)

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

808. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health the breakdown of vaccine rates in County Wicklow by town; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34781/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Health Service Executive collects and maintains vaccination records, I have asked them to reply directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (809)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

809. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health if an outpatient appointment for a person (details supplied) who has been on the waiting list for two years will be expedited. [34782/19]

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.

Medical Card Applications

Ceisteanna (810)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

810. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health when a medical card will issue in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34784/19]

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.

Speech and Language Therapy Provision

Ceisteanna (811)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

811. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health when speech therapy will be restored in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34785/19]

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.

Medical Card Applications

Ceisteanna (812)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

812. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health when a medical card will be provided in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34786/19]

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.

Medicinal Products Availability

Ceisteanna (813)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

813. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if he will address a matter regarding cancer drugs (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34803/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Health insurance providers operate in a competitive market and are free to design products with a range of differing benefits, providing they comply with minimum benefit regulations. As Minister for Health I have no role in the commercial decisions of any health insurer and am therefore not in a position to determine or direct insurers to provide cover for any particular procedure or service, or indeed how that cover is provided, other than those outlined in the regulations.

Access to the drug the Deputy names is not provided for under minimum benefit regulations. Any insurer is free to make a commercial decision to provide for a differing level of service so long as it does not go below what is provided for in minimum benefit regulations.

It should be noted that in the public setting, the HSE at all times ensures that the systems that it has in place are designed to provide equitable access to all medicines across all therapeutic areas, cancer and non-cancer, from the resources provided to it.

Mental Health Services

Ceisteanna (814)

Joan Collins

Ceist:

814. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Health if it is HSE policy to house patients who have mental health problems in communities (details supplied). [34805/19]

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.

Thalidomide Victims Compensation

Ceisteanna (815)

Seán Crowe

Ceist:

815. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Health his plans to address the issues facing persons with thalidomide-related injuries, both those acknowledged by the State and those who remained unacknowledged, in view of the fact they have sustained significant adverse injury consequences. [34808/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Following an Irish Government Decision in January 1975, the Government granted an ex-gratia sum equivalent to 4 times the German lump-sum and an ex-gratia monthly allowance for life equal to the German monthly allowance, to each of the Irish children found to have thalidomide related injuries. There are currently 29 Irish people in receipt of ex-gratia monthly payments from my Department and all are now in their late 50s.

The German monthly payments are made by the Contergan Foundation, which is established under German legislation. From 01 August 2013, the Foundation substantially increased its monthly payments to thalidomide survivors, including Irish survivors. Both the German payments and the Irish ex-gratia payments made to the survivors are exempt from tax, including DIRT and are not reckonable as means for the purpose of Social Welfare payments. The rate of payment is related to the survivors' level of thalidomide related injury.

In addition to the initial lump sum and the monthly payments for life, the supports provided to each Irish survivor include a medical card on an administrative basis regardless of means, provision of appliances, artificial limbs, equipment, housing adaptations, and access to a full range of primary care, hospital and personal social services. There is a designated senior manager in the Health Service Executive to act as a liaison with regard to the ongoing health and personal social service needs of Irish survivors.

The Contergan Foundation has confirmed that since 2013, it is accepting applications from individuals for compensation for thalidomide related injury. It is open to any Irish person to apply to the Foundation for assessment of their disability as being attributable to thalidomide. Any Irish person who establishes that their injury is attributable to thalidomide, will be offered appropriate supports by the Irish Government commensurate with those currently provided to Irish thalidomide survivors, outlined above.

Work is underway in the Department to bring forward Heads of a Bill to provide on a statutory basis for health and personal social services for the Irish survivors of thalidomide.

Hospitals Capital Programme

Ceisteanna (816)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

816. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health the status of the development of the 80-bed community hospital in Ballyshannon, County Donegal; if the estimated €25 million has been put in place to carry out the work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34813/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Health Service Executive recently published its Capital Plan for 2019-2021, outlining 250 projects to be progressed over the three-year period. The Capital Plan provides for €220m capital funding to the Community Nursing Unit programme over the period 2019 to 2021 and also sets out the current status of all projects within the programme, including new CNU in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal.

The Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects and has advised that the tender for the new South Donegal CNU in Ballyshannon was issued to contractors in April 2019. Subject to approval of the tender, it is intended to proceed to construction later this year with completion due in early 2021.

The delivery of capital projects is a dynamic process and is subject to the successful completion of the various approval stages, in line with the Public Spending Code, which can impact on the timeline for delivery.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Ceisteanna (817)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

817. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if the FreeStyle Libre glucose monitor will be added to both the medical card cover and long-term illness card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34818/19]

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.

Home Help Service Provision

Ceisteanna (818)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

818. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of home help for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34819/19]

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.

Emergency Departments Data

Ceisteanna (819)

Kate O'Connell

Ceist:

819. Deputy Kate O'Connell asked the Minister for Health the year-on-year change in the number of patients attending the emergency department of Tallaght University Hospital in comparison to the year-on-year change in the number of patients on trolleys; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34830/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

This is a very busy period for our health services, with many hospitals reporting significant numbers of patient attendances. For the first seven months of 2019, the number of patients attending hospital Emergency Departments (EDs) increased by 3.3%, and the number of ED admissions increased by 2.3% compared to the same period last year.

In the first six months of 2019, our health services managed better and the numbers of patients waiting on trolleys nationally were 4.7% lower than for the same period last year despite the significant increase in demand.

Tallaght University Hospital was identified as one of the nine focus sites requiring additional investment and support during the winter period 2018/2019. This included additional home support packages, transitional care beds, and bed capacity.

An independent expert review aimed at identifying the specific factors that contributed to performance over the winter period is now under way. The group will carry out a comparative analysis of unscheduled care performance across the nine hospital sites and the relevant Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs) that were the subject of specific focused support through Winter 2018/2019. This will include TUH and CHO 7. My Department and the HSE will receive the report of the independent review group and its recommendations in due course.

In relation to the comparison between the year on year change in attendances and the number of patients on trolleys at Tallaght University Hospital, I have asked the HSE to provide a response to the Deputy directly.