Brexit Data

Ceisteanna (319)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

319. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of applicants and participants in Brexit schemes and supports provided by her Department or agencies under her remit in tabular form; the counties these companies are located in; and the amount allocated and expended to each such scheme in each year since being established. [37567/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Since 2016, my Department and its agencies have put in place extensive supports, schemes and advisory resources to prepare Irish businesses for the potential challenges posed by Brexit by helping them to assess their preparedness and helping them to implement practical action plans in areas such as customs, supply chain and sourcing, and financial management. These measures aim to assist businesses in identifying and managing key risk areas and develop practical preparatory actions regardless of the circumstances of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

The Government’s suite of Brexit supports include preparedness vouchers, consultancy and mentoring supports, tariff advisory services, research on new markets and innovation supports and are provided through Enterprise Ireland, the Local Enterprise Offices and InterTrade Ireland.

The first table attached sets out the uptake of the different Brexit-related supports available through the Department and its agencies as at 30 August 2019. Businesses in all counties in Ireland have availed of one or more of these Brexit-related supports.

The second table attached sets out the respective exchequer increases in allocations to ITI, EI, IDA and the LEOs between 2018 and 2019 and the cost/expenditure of the supports available. Whilst these increases are not all due to Brexit, they are mainly provided to assist the enterprise agencies in their responses to the challenges posed by Brexit.

While I have seen a very positive uptake of the supports available, I am conscious that the delays to Brexit may have led businesses to defer their immediate planning. However, the UK’s exit from the EU will mean changes for Irish businesses. With less than seven weeks to go to Brexit, I urge businesses to accelerate their preparations and avail of the wide range of State supports on offer. In particular, I would appeal to businesses that have not started these preparations to engage with my Department and its agencies as soon as possible.  By taking the necessary practical steps, businesses will be better placed to address the challenges they may face and in doing so, they can help future proof their businesses and continue to trade with the UK and other EU Member States.  I will take this opportunity to outline in more detail the various supports that are available to businesses.

The Local Enterprise Offices

The Local Enterprise Offices [LEOs] are the first-stop-shop for anyone seeking guidance and support on starting or growing their business. The LEOs have organised various events to enable companies to learn about the potential impacts and opportunities of Brexit.

In addition, 702 LEO clients have received one-to-one mentoring solely focused on Brexit. Technical Assistance Grants for Micro Export are offered as an incentive for LEO clients to explore and develop new market opportunities. 691 LEO clients have been approved for the Technical Assistance Grant.

The Local Enterprise Office interactive one day Prepare Your Business for Customs workshop helps businesses understand the key customs concepts, documentation and processes required to succeed in a post Brexit environment. 613 Participants have so far attended this Customs Training.

InterTrade Ireland

InterTrade Ireland [ITI] also plays a major role as part of Ireland’s Brexit response and offers Brexit-related advisory services to eligible businesses. So far this year, more than 3,300 SMEs have directly engaged with the Brexit Advisory Service. 

ITI offers a Brexit Start to Plan voucher and Brexit Implementation Voucher schemes, which enables businesses to get professional advice on how best to plan, prepare and implement for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union. These supports help businesses obtain advice on specific areas such as tariffs, currency management, regulatory and customs issues and movement of labour, goods and services.

ITI Brexit Start to Plan vouchers are worth up to €2,250 (inclusive of VAT) each. 1,770 businesses have applied for a Brexit Start to Plan voucher, of which over 1,500 have been approved. ITI’s Brexit Implementation Voucher provides financial support up to £5,000/€5,625 (inclusive of VAT), with InterTradeIreland paying 50%. This will allow businesses to implement critical changes making them better prepared to deal with a new trading relationship.

In August, ITI launched a new advertising campaign and a new online resource to encourage and assist firms in preparing for Brexit. The online “Bitesize Brexit” resource is a one-stop-shop for cross-border traders, presenting information in easily digestible segments and includes specific actions businesses should take in preparing for Brexit.

Brexit Loan Schemes

The Brexit Loan Scheme, launched in March of 2018, provides relatively short-term working capital, 1 to 3 years, to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees to help them to innovate, change or adapt to mitigate their Brexit challenges. Businesses can confirm their eligibility with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland [SBCI] and, if deemed eligible, can apply to one of the participating finance providers for a loan under the scheme. 

As at 6 September, there have been 778 applications for eligibility under the scheme, of which 704 have been approved to date by SBCI. 185 of those applications have progressed to sanction at bank value, to a total value of €41.062 million.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme makes up to €300 million of loans available with a term of 8-10 years. This scheme is available to eligible businesses in Ireland and the primary agriculture (farmers) and seafood sectors to support strategic long-term investment. The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, the scheme operator, opened for eligibility applications on 17th April and up to 30 August it received 1,112 eligibility applications and issued 1,061 eligibility letters.

Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland [EI] has established a Prepare for Brexit online portal and communications campaign, as well as an online “Brexit SME Scorecard” to help Irish businesses self-asses their exposure to Brexit and a “Be Prepared Grant” to support SME clients in planning to mitigate risks arising from Brexit. It has also launched a new Eurozone Strategy to help SMEs broaden their export footprint beyond the UK.

Over 6,100 business have used Enterprise Ireland’s Brexit Scorecard to date and 85% of EI client firms have a plan in place, while 211 applications for the Be Prepared grant have been approved. 272 EI clients have received funding under its “Act On” programme, which supports the engagement of a consultant to help clients identify weaknesses and improve resilience. EI has also hosted 16 Brexit Advisory Clinics around the country.

EI also launched a Customs Insights Online course at the beginning of the year. This is a new online training support to help all businesses understand how customs work including the documentation and process required to operate and succeed post Brexit. The Customs Insights course explains in clear and simple terms the main customs rules and included the key actions companies can take to prepare for customs after Brexit and the options from Revenue that are available to make the customs process more efficient. This will be available for any company to use whether they are importers or exporters and also whether they are agency clients or not. There have been over 1,500 Customs Insights Course participants.

Enterprise Ireland also recently revealed 12 ‘Brexit Essential’ questions aimed at helping exporting businesses further prepare and take action ahead of the UK’s impending withdrawal from the EU.  The Brexit Essentials campaign highlights the key questions and documentation that businesses need to address in order to trade successfully with the UK post 31 October.

The Irish Government, in association with key industry partners, also launched a new support measure to help customs agents, intermediaries and affected Irish businesses develop the capacity to deal with the additional customs requirements due to the UK’s departure from the EU. The new initiative called Clear Customs comprises of a training programme and a customs financial support to assist with the costs of recruiting and assigning new staff to customs roles.

Supports and advice are also available from the National Standards Authority of Ireland, the Health and Safety Authority, IDA Ireland, Revenue, Skillnet Ireland, the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, Bord Bia and Failte Ireland. 

Brexit preparedness supports - uptake of available schemes 30.08.2019

Brexit preparedness supports - expenditure - 20.05.2019

Brexit Supports

Ceisteanna (320)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

320. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the reason for the high number of reapplications for the Brexit loan scheme in view of the fact that as at 2 September 2019, 145 applications were reapplications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37624/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Brexit Loan Scheme is just one of an extensive range of supports, schemes and advisory resources established by my Department and its agencies to help businesses to prepare for Brexit.

The Brexit Loan Scheme provides relatively short-term working capital, 1 to 3 years, to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees to help them to innovate, change or adapt to mitigate their challenges.

To apply for this Scheme businesses must first confirm their eligibility with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI). If deemed eligible, this eligibility code lasts for a period of 4 months. If the business has not applied to one of the participating financial providers for a loan under the scheme within this four months, they must confirm their eligibility again with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI). 

While I have seen a very positive uptake of the supports available, I am conscious that the extension agreed between the EU and the UK for Brexit may have led businesses to defer their immediate planning and therefore, delay their applications to finance providers for a loan under the Brexit Loan Scheme. As a result of this extension, the eligibility of individual applicants may have expired requiring a reapplication for the Scheme.  I am encouraged that firms are reapplying so as to ensure that they have the necessary safety nets in place for whatever form Brexit takes.

In addition, some businesses did not proceed with their original application after they had received their eligibility code and some businesses applied for more than one loan under different eligibility codes. A number of businesses supplied incorrect information in their first applications and updated this information in their reapplications for eligibility.

Despite the continuing uncertainty around the nature of the UK's departure from the EU, I strongly urge businesses to continue to plan for Brexit, and to start planning without delay if they have not done so already.

Services for People with Disabilities

Ceisteanna (321)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

321. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health if one-to-one support will be granted in the case of a person (details supplied); and if the application for funding submitted in April 2019 will be expedited and approved. [37340/19]

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 a service issue, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Vaccination Programme

Ceisteanna (322, 336, 340, 353, 359)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

322. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health his plans to make the HPV vaccine available on the medical card and or provide a subsidy for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36968/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

336. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health his plans to introduce a HPV immunisation scheme for boys in line with the scheme for girls when it was first introduced (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37014/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

340. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health his plans for a catch-up HPV vaccination programme for older boys; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37041/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Ruth Coppinger

Ceist:

353. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Health if funding will be provided for a catch-up HPV vaccination programme (details supplied) for males in second and subsequent years of second-level education; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37107/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

359. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health the reason the HPV vaccine has not been offered to boys in second year of secondary school as part of the latest roll out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37121/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 322, 336, 340, 353 and 359 together.

The immunisation programme in Ireland is based on the advice of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC).  The committee's recommendations are based on the prevalence of the relevant disease in Ireland and international best practice in relation to immunisation.  It makes recommendations on vaccination policy to my Department.  NIAC continues to revise recommendations to allow for the introduction of new vaccines in Ireland and to keep abreast of changes in the patterns of disease.  Therefore, the immunisation schedule will continue to be amended over time.

In 2009 the NIAC recommended HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination for all 12-13 year old girls to reduce their risk of developing cervical cancer when they are adults.  In September 2010 the HPV vaccination programme was introduced for all girls in first year of secondary school.  Gardasil is the vaccine used by the HSE in the School Immunisation Programme and is provided free of charge to girls in first year of secondary school.

During the 2019/20 school year, girls attending secondary school can still join the HPV girls only programme with appointments offered in HSE mop up clinics.  It must be noted that vaccinated women and girls may still be at risk from other high risk types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer and will therefore need to continue to have regular cervical smear tests.

As you are aware, NIAC recommended that the HPV vaccine should also be given to boys.  On foot of NIAC’s recommendation, my Department asked the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to undertake a health technology assessment (HTA) to establish the clinical and cost-effectiveness of extending the current immunisation programme, which offers HPV vaccination to all girls in their first year of second level education (generally 12 to 13 year olds), to a programme that also offers the vaccination to boys in their first year of secondary school.

HIQA completed the HTA in December 2018, recommending that the HPV immunisation programme be extended to include boys.  A policy decision was made to extend the HPV immunisation programme to include boys starting in September 2019 with the introduction of a 9-valent HPV vaccine.  However, the HIQA report published in December 2018 did not recommend an HPV catch-up programme for older boys for several reasons:

- Vaccinating boys in the first year of secondary school provides the best possible protection against HPV infection;

- Boys are already benefitting from the indirect herd protection provided by the girls' HPV vaccination programme which started in 2010.

The ages at which vaccines are recommended in the immunisation schedule are chosen by NIAC in order to give each child the best possible protection against vaccine preventable diseases.  As the HPV vaccine is preventative it is intended to be administered, if possible, before a person becomes sexually active, that is, before a person is first exposed to HPV infection.  Therefore, the gender neutral HPV vaccination programme targets all girls and boys in first year of secondary school to provide maximum coverage.  All vaccines administered through the School Immunisation Programme are provided free of charge.

Extending the HPV vaccine to boys will also provide direct protection to boys against HPV-related disease.  It also provides indirect herd protection to girls who have not been vaccinated.  Another important factor includes the additional protection provided by a gender neutral programme to vulnerable groups (for example, men who have sex with men) and the potential to improve the resilience of the immunisation programme to fluctuations in vaccine uptake and to the movement of individuals into and out of the country.

For older children who did not receive the vaccine as part of the School Immunisation Programme the HPV vaccine can only be obtained privately from a GP.  If your child is 15 years of age or older they will require three doses of the HPV vaccine in order to be fully protected.  Those who have a medical card are eligible to have the vaccine administered free of charge by their GP.  However, the cost of purchasing the vaccine privately is not covered by the medical card.

My Department will continue to be guided by NIAC's recommendations on any emerging evidence on this issue in the future.

Hospital Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (323)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

323. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health when a second endocrinologist will be appointed to University Hospital Waterford; the position regarding the recruitment process for such an appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36969/19]

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.

Hospital Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (324)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

324. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health when a diabetes nurse specialist will be appointed to University Hospital Waterford; the position regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36970/19]

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.

Hospital Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (325)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

325. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health when University Hospital Waterford will be receiving more diabetes nurse specialists as per the recommendations of the National Survey of Diabetes Care Delivery in Acute Hospitals 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36971/19]

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.

Hospital Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (326)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

326. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health when a diabetes dietitian will be appointed at University Hospital Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36972/19]

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (327)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

327. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Health if an appointment for a person (details supplied) will be expedited. [36977/19]

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.

Disability Support Services

Ceisteanna (328)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

328. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of recruiting a minimum of 300 therapy staff for children’s services over the next four years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36985/19]

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.

Transport Support Scheme

Ceisteanna (329)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

329. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of establishing the transport support scheme to replace the mobility allowance; if this is due to take place as part of budget 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36987/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The clear instruction from Government is that eligibility criteria for a new Transport Support Payment scheme must focus on those with the greatest need who have the least resources available to them.  In order to make the eligibility criteria for the scheme very broad, opening up newer categories of eligibility the effects of which are difficult to estimate, would carry major budgetary implications.  Competing demands within the disability budget and elsewhere must be considered.

In line with the Government decision in 2013, persons who were in receipt of the Mobility Allowance at the time that the scheme closed have continued to receive the monthly payment.  I can assure the Deputy of our efforts to find a solution which is fair, financially affordable and legally sound. 

With regard to the Deputy's reference to Budget 2020, as Minister for Disabilities it is not appropriate for me to comment on budgetary matters.

Services for People with Disabilities

Ceisteanna (330)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

330. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health the amount refunded and or paid to date following a HSE audit of an organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36990/19]

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 Appointments Delays

Ceisteanna (331)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

331. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 364 of 25 June 2019, when a person (details supplied) will receive a date; the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36994/19]

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.

Cross-Border Health Initiatives

Ceisteanna (332)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

332. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Health the status of the cross-border health directive in view of reports that users of the initiative are facing delays to be refunded by the HSE; the measures under way to address these issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37000/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE is responsible for the operation of the Cross Border Directive and the management of the HSE Cross Border Directive (CBD) office is an operational matter for the HSE.  Officials of my Department recently met with the HSE to discuss this matter and have requested the Executive to examine current resourcing of the CBD office, and to identify necessary actions to mitigate waiting times arising from current demands for the Scheme.  As the HSE have operational responsibility for the CBD office I have also referred the Deputies question to them for direct reply.

HSE Staff Remuneration

Ceisteanna (333)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

333. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to issues regarding a new payroll software in use by the HSE in respect of persons and various grades and or rank and or duty in which the software cannot calculate correctly and in a timely manner regular payments and overtime payments due to staff for hours worked (details supplied); the status of progress made by the HSE on addressing the various issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37001/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

HSE Expenditure

Ceisteanna (334)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

334. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health the year to date expenditure in the HSE based on the accrual method of accounting; the budgeted year to date expenditure based on the same method; if an up-to-date table 1 from the briefing paper issued to the Oireachtas Select Committee on Budgetary Oversight on 9 July 2019 will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37011/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE’s latest income and expenditure position at 31 July 2019 shows a revenue deficit of €226m which represents 2.5% of the available budget for the same period, a significant improvement on the same period last year.  The main drivers of the deficit are acute hospitals, disability services, pensions, State Claims, PCRS and overseas treatments.

July YTD Actual Spend vs YTD Budget

Division

Annual Budget

YTD Spend

YTD Budget

YTD Variance

YTD Variance

 

€m

€m

€m

€m

%

Operation Service Areas

 

 

 

 

 

Acute Operations

5,524.7

3,238.5

3,140.4

98.1

3.1%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Primary Care Division

1,136.2

635.9

647.8

(11.9)

-1.8%

Mental Health Division

972.0

555.7

561.4

(5.7)

-1.0%

Older Persons Services Division

876.1

521.8

510.4

11.3

2.2%

Nursing Home Support Scheme

976.3

566.5

561.7

4.8

0.8%

Disability Services

1,913.8

1,143.3

1,101.6

41.7

3.8%

Regional

17.7

12.9

10.1

2.8

27.9%

Community Services Total 

5,892.2

3,435.9

3,392.9

43.0

1.3%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Operations/Service Areas

707.5

354.6

365.3

(10.6)

-2.9%

Total Operation Service Areas

12,124.4

7,029.0

6,898.5

130.5

1.9%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pensions and Demand Led Services

 

 

 

 

 

Total Pensions

483.5

284.6

285.2

(0.6)

-(0.0)

State Claims Agency

340.0

241.0

203.2

37.8

0.0

Primary Care Reimbursement Service

2,697.8

1,642.3

1,596.3

46.0

0.0

Local Demand Led Schemes

262.4

154.2

152.6

1.6

0.0

Treatment Abroad and Cross Border Healthcare

22.9

25.5

13.5

12.1

0.0

Eu Schemes: EHIC

14.2

6.7

8.3

(1.6)

-(0.0)

Total Pensions & Demand Led Services

3,820.8

2,354.3

2,258.9

95.3

4.2%

Any risk of a significant deficit at the end of 2019 is a matter of concern for the Government. However, in general it is important that the service levels set out within the HSE’s National Service Plan are delivered within the allocation notified by the Minister. It is acknowledged that certain issues can arise in-year due to costs associated with decisions outside the HSE – such as increases associated with pay agreements or Labour Court rulings – or policy decisions such as the Governments establishment of an ex-Gratia scheme in respect of Cervical Check. 

The Department is working with the HSE to gain further clarity on the projected year end position and working to mitigate any deficit in so far as is possible, in co-operation with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

General Practitioner Training

Question No. 336 answered with Question No. 322.

Ceisteanna (335)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

335. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of increasing the intake to the annual general practitioner training scheme to 240 places; the first and full year cost of same in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37013/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As GP training is currently the responsibility of the Health Service Executive, I have arranged for this question to be referred to the Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Question No. 336 answered with Question No. 322.

Assisted Human Reproduction Services Expenditure

Ceisteanna (337)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

337. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Health the status of plans to fund IVF treatment through the HSE; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37017/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

In October 2017, the Government approved the drafting of a bill on assisted human reproduction (AHR) and associated areas of research, based on the published General Scheme of the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill.  The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health published the report of its review of the General Scheme on 11 July 2019, as part of the pre-legislative scrutiny process, which began in January 2018. The Committee makes 11 main recommendations, which include proposals both related to broad policy objectives and more technical amendments.  Given the comprehensive scope of the legislation and the ethical, legal and social issues which arise from AHR practices, it is anticipated that certain areas of the General Scheme will require further consideration and refinement during the ongoing process of drafting the bill.  The Joint Committee’s Report and its recommendations will be considered as part of this process.

Interlinked with the legislation, officials in my Department, in conjunction with the HSE, are developing a model of care for infertility and an associated public fund for AHR.  This work includes developing proposals on the allocation of the €1 million fund for use in relation to AHR which was announced in December 2018.

Accordingly, options in relation to the parameters of any potential public funding model, including what eligibility criteria may be included, are still under consideration, and an announcement will be forthcoming once the relevant decisions have been finalised.

It should be noted that while AHR treatment is not currently funded by the Irish Public Health Service, a defined list of fertility medicines needed for fertility treatment is covered under the High Tech Arrangements administered by the HSE.  Medicines covered by the High Tech Arrangements must be prescribed by a consultant/specialist and authorised for supply to the client’s nominated community pharmacy by the High Tech Hub managed by the Primary Care Reimbursement Service.  The cost of the medicines is then covered, as appropriate, under the client’s eligibility, i.e., Medical Card or Drugs Payment Scheme.  I understand that the impact on the total cost of AHR treatment for individuals who avail of these schemes is not insignificant.

In addition, there is other support available in that patients who access IVF treatment privately may claim tax relief on the costs involved under the tax relief for medical expenses scheme. 

Overall, the development of a model of care for infertility will help to ensure the provision of safe, effective and accessible services through the public health system as part of the full range of services available in obstetrics and gynaecology.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (338)

Peter Fitzpatrick

Ceist:

338. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will receive a hospital appointment. [37037/19]

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 Appointments Status

Question No. 340 answered with Question No. 322.

Ceisteanna (339)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

339. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Health if a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied) will be expedited; the status of their position on the waiting list; when the person will receive an appointment date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37038/19]

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.

Question No. 340 answered with Question No. 322.

Vaccination Programme

Ceisteanna (341)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

341. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health his plans for a catch-up vaccination programme for meningitis B for children that do not qualify for the current HSE programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37043/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) is an independent committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland comprising of experts from a wide range of specialties, including infectious diseases, paediatrics, and public health.  NIAC makes recommendations to my Department on vaccination policy in Ireland.  Its recommendations are based on the prevalence of the relevant disease in Ireland and international best practice in relation to immunisation.  NIAC continues to revise its recommendations to allow for the introduction of new vaccines in Ireland and to keep abreast of changes in patterns of disease.  Therefore, the immunisation schedule will continue to be amended over time. 

On foot of a previous recommendation by NIAC, the Primary Childhood Immunisation Schedule was amended in 2016 to include the introduction of the Meningitis B vaccine for all babies born on or after 1 October 2016.  This change to the immunisation schedule took effect from 1 December 2016.  The first dose of the vaccine is administered to children when they reach two months of age; a second dose is administered at four months and a third and final dose at twelve months.  As Meningitis B disease is most common in babies under the age of 1 year old, the scheduling of the administration of the vaccine under the immunisation programme takes this into account. 

In Ireland, Men B; Men C; PCV and Hib vaccines are offered to young children to protect them against meningitis and septicaemia.   Ireland was the second country in Europe to make the Men B vaccine available free of charge as part of its national immunisation programme.  All vaccines administered through the Primary Childhood Immunisation Schedule are provided free of charge.  

 There are no plans to introduce a catch-up programme for the Men B vaccine to be given to older children as NIAC has never recommended a catch up programme for children born before 1 October 2016.  However, parents may choose to have their older children vaccinated privately if they wish.  While the purchase of the vaccine itself is not covered by the medical card scheme, those who have a medical card are eligible to have the vaccine administered free of charge by their GP.

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Ceisteanna (342)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

342. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Cork will receive an electric wheelchair they have been measured for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37044/19]

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.