Cancer Services Provision

Ceisteanna (360)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

360. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health his plans to improve services for survivors of cancer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38772/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026 places a strong emphasis on providing supports to patients throughout their cancer journey.

In line with Recommendation 41 of the Strategy, I recently launched the National Cancer Survivorship Needs Assessment - 'Living with and Beyond Cancer in Ireland'. This outlines key challenges involved, and actions to be taken, to better address the needs of cancer patients and their families.

While some healthcare professionals already provide the care and support recommended in the Needs Assessment, there is a need to strengthen, standardise and ensure access for patients to good survivorship services and supports across designated cancer centres, other hospitals and primary care services, as well as in community and voluntary services.

Also, Recommendation 43 of the Strategy highlights the need for the development of dedicated survivorship programmes emphasising the physical, psychological and social factors that affect health and wellbeing. Arising from this, Cancer ‘Thriving & Surviving’ Programmes, designed to assist patients in achieving optimal quality of life on completion of treatment, are being undertaken in a number of locations nationwide.

Dental Services Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (361)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

361. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the number of children waiting for a dental appointment at 31 December 2018 and 13 September 2019 in CHO area 9; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38776/19]

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 Consultant Contracts

Ceisteanna (362)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

362. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the reason many consultant doctors in the health system here are not on permanent contracts; the further reason for the large number of consultant vacancies in healthcare here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38777/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I have asked the HSE to reply directly to the Deputy on the first part of the question.

The Public Service Pay Commission identified difficulties in recruiting consultants and stated that there are a number of factors involved including the differential in pay between established consultants and those appointed post -October 2012. It proposed that the parties to the Public Service Stability Agreement jointly consider what measures could be taken over time to address this. It is my view a process should be commenced with the various bodies in the near future. However, any solution has to be realistic and affordable.

While there are significant recruitment and retention challenges, particularly in certain specialties and less attractive locations at present, the number of consultants employed (whole time equivalents) has continued to increase on an annual basis, typically by over 100 each year and the majority of vacant posts are filled on a locum or agency basis to support service delivery.

Disability Support Services Provision

Ceisteanna (363)

John Curran

Ceist:

363. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health his plans to increase both home and residential care to reduce pressure on bed availability in hospitals as a result of a new ESRI report (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38782/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The level of funding available for my Department for next year is being considered as part of the National Estimates and Budgetary process which is currently underway. Pending completion of this process it is not appropriate for me to comment further at this stage.

National Drugs Strategy Implementation

Ceisteanna (364)

John Curran

Ceist:

364. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health his plans to launch a targeted awareness campaign regarding the dangers of drug use aimed at high-risk groups such as festival goers and students; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38784/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The National Drugs Strategy, 'Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery', focuses on a coordinated, comprehensive effort involving all sectors to create safer, healthier communities by supporting people to avoid, reduce and recover from drug related harm. This public health approach to drug use aims to prevent and address health problems that may arise from drug use.

The report of the Working Group to Consider Alternative Approaches to the Possession of Drugs for Personal Use notes that it is important that all sectors work together to inform the public about the harms associated with cannabis and all other illicit drug use. It therefore recommends a campaign to increase awareness of the treatments available and of the harms associated with drug use. It is anticipated that the HSE will commence planning and development phases of this campaign in 2020.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

Question No. 366 answered with Question No. 321.

Ceisteanna (365)

John Curran

Ceist:

365. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health if a decision by the HSE to move youth mental health services from Jigsaw, Clondalkin, to Jigsaw, Tallaght, in January 2020 will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38785/19]

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.

Question No. 366 answered with Question No. 321.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Ceisteanna (367)

John Curran

Ceist:

367. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health the weighting percentages to be used as part of the upcoming HSE FreeStyle Libre Group review decision-making process that will be given to criteria (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38788/19]

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.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Ceisteanna (368)

John Curran

Ceist:

368. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health if the reimbursement dataset will specifically cover only current HSE-funded users of FreeStyle Libre; if not, if the health technology assessment group review will compare total blood glucose strip usage spend year on year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38789/19]

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.

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (369)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

369. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the status of the previously promised scoping exercise on a statutory home care scheme; the stage it is at; when a report will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38792/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Department of Health is currently engaged in the development of a new statutory scheme and system of regulation for home-support services. In preparation for the development of the statutory scheme, the Department commissioned the Health Research Board to carry out a review of the home-care systems in four European countries. In addition, the Department conducted a public consultation on home-care services, on which a report was published in 2018. These reports are available on the Department’s website and will help to ensure that the new scheme is informed both by international experience and by the views of stakeholders, including service-users.

The Sláintecare Implementation Strategy commits to the introduction of the statutory scheme in 2021. As part of this, work is on-going to determine the optimal approach to the development of the statutory scheme within the broader context of the Sláintecare reforms and in 2019 work is focusing on the design of the scheme, the options for regulation, and a review of existing services. Stakeholder-consultation will continue throughout the process of developing the new scheme.

Maternity Benefit

Ceisteanna (370)

Kate O'Connell

Ceist:

370. Deputy Kate O'Connell asked the Minister for Health the status of a maternity payment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38793/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Medical Aids and Appliances Applications Data

Ceisteanna (371)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

371. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health the waiting times for aids and appliances for those under 18 years of age in each health area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38839/19]

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 Waiting Lists Data

Ceisteanna (372)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

372. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health the most recent waiting list and waiting times for children waiting for scoliosis surgery in Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38840/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

In relation to the particular query raised, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy.

HSE Properties

Ceisteanna (373)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

373. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the status of the refurbishment of a property (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38856/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.

HSE Planning

Ceisteanna (374, 375, 376)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Ceist:

374. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Health if the recently published HSE capital plan contains a commitment to secure the residential care units for St. Joseph’s Community Hospital, Stranorlar, by providing the necessary funding for upgrading the hospital; the specific section within the capital plan in which the actual reference is contained; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38865/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Ceist:

375. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Health if the recently published HSE capital plan contains a commitment to secure the residential care units for Ramelton Community Hospital, County Donegal by providing the necessary funding for upgrading the hospital; the specific section within the capital plan in which the actual reference is contained; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38866/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Ceist:

376. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Health the reason Lifford Community Hospital did not form part of the current HSE capital plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38867/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 374 to 376, inclusive, together.

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 in Appendix 3 the current status of all projects within the CNU programme, including St. Joseph’s Community Hospital, Stranorlar and Ramelton Community Hospital.

The CNU programme provides for the retention of services at both St. Joseph’s Community Hospital, Stranorlar and Ramelton Community Hospital with a requirement for refurbishment of both centres.

In the short term the HSE will undertake minor capital works in both units in order to deal with regulatory compliance and an agreed schedule of works is being finalised with HIQA.

The redevelopment of Lifford Community Hospital on the existing site is not deemed viable. The need for additional beds and the potential to develop a new facility on a greenfield site will be reviewed further post 2021. Thereafter it can be considered for inclusion in the Capital Plan.

It is important to recognise that all capital development proposals must progress through a number of approval stages, in line with the Public Spending Code, including detailed appraisal, planning, design and procurement, before a firm timeline or funding requirement can be established.

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

The HSE actively manages the capital programme in order to ensure it has flexibility to progress as many projects as possible within the available funding, particularly in the event of any project not progressing as anticipated.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Ceisteanna (377)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

377. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health the weighting percentages to be used as part of the upcoming HSE FreeStyle Libre Group review decision making process that will be given to criteria (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38881/19]

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.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Ceisteanna (378)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

378. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health if the reimbursement dataset specifically covers only current HSE funded users of the FreeStyle Libre device; if not, if the Health Technology Assessment Group review will compare total blood glucose strip usage spend year on year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38882/19]

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.

Forestry Grants

Ceisteanna (379)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

379. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will introduce proposals to reward financially landowners who have their lands planted with forestry to take into account the fact that their lands are acting as carbon sinks and helping the State to achieve its climate change targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38318/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The current model adopted by Ireland to increase forest cover is to provide funding to landowners to cover 100% of the costs of establishing forests and to provide annual premiums to encourage land owners to make this land use change. In addition, tax free incentives are provided when timber is sold and other grant aid provided to construct forest roads. Other models without the use of significant grant aid could have been explored but the State has chosen to fund forestry programmes since the 1990's with a combination of grants and premiums, tax incentives and other supports to assist landowners in the management of their plantations. The continuation of this model over successive Forestry Programmes since 1990 has been the favoured option of all of the relevant stakeholders also.

This model has resulted in the payment of some €2.4billion directly to farmers by the State since 1990.

The current Forestry Programme is 100% exchequer funded and as such it is governed by rules set out under the "European Union Guidelines for State aid in the agricultural and forestry sectors and in rural areas 2014 to 2020". With regard to afforestation, these rules provide for annual premium payments to cover agricultural income forgone and maintenance; they do not provide for payments for carbon.