Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (116)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

116. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the reason she did not write to the 222,000 companies to prepare for Brexit earlier in 2019. [39255/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

As the Brexit deadline of 31 October 2019 draws nearer, I am very conscious of the urgent need for businesses to take action to prepare and plan for Brexit, despite continuing political uncertainty. That is why Government has intensified efforts over the last number of weeks and months to communicate with companies to get engagement and encourage them to take the necessary steps to be best prepared for Brexit.

In relation to the specific initiative that the deputy refers to, I recently asked my officials to make contact with the 220,000 companies listed with the Companies Registration Office (CRO) to advise them of the array of supports and the organisations available to assist them with their Brexit preparations.

This outreach was in fact specifically timed to coincide with the key filing period during which companies file their annual returns at the CRO. Companies typically file their annual returns from the start of October over a 4 week period. My initiative was designed in order to get maximum impact with companies visiting the CRO website during that key filing period.

This latest initiative through the CRO was just one of the many channels and campaigns that my Department has been engaged in to communicate with businesses to get out the key messages in terms of steps they need to take to prepare for Brexit.

In addition, the enterprise and regulatory agencies under my Department have been working closely with businesses for months through their own engagement campaigns and client clinics. These include Enterprise Ireland, the Local Enterprise Boards, the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), the Health and Safety Authority, the Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB), the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission as well as Intertrade Ireland.

On 4 September, with the Tánaiste and Minister McEntee, I launched the ‘Getting Your Business Brexit Ready: Practical Steps Guide’ which focuses on the nine steps every business should take regardless of its size. This guide is available on www.gov.ie/brexit, along with other useful information for companies.

I recently collaborated with the Accountancy Bodies of Ireland on four breakfast Brexit briefing events covering a number of counties in the border regions that are likely to be most impacted by Brexit. These Brexit events covered a broad range of important topics to help businesses prepare for Brexit such as customs, supply chain, cashflow and accreditation.

Across all Government Departments, including the Departments of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Transport as well as Government agencies such as the Revenue Commissioners and other regulatory bodies, work has been ongoing and intensified over the summer period to engage with businesses to ensure that they are taking the necessary steps to meet the challenges of Brexit.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is currently running a number of outreach events with the first event taking place in Dublin on 10 September, and a further two events planned for Wexford on 27 September and in Cork on 30 September.

During the summer months, Revenue wrote to over 90,000 businesses in relation to new customs procedures that will apply post Brexit including the need to register with Revenue for an Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI) to allow them to continue trading with the UK.

Through these various engagements and others, it is Government's clear intention to ensure that businesses are as well prepared as possible for Brexit, whenever that happens.

Small and Medium Enterprises

Ceisteanna (117)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

117. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if her Department is examining proposals for small businesses; and the SME Bills being drafted in her Department, including those proposing to reduce the regulatory burden and enhancing access to EU funding and public procurement. [39256/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

As Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, I am fully committed to improving the economic landscape, which will nurture the growth and development potential of our small businesses.

Future Jobs Ireland, which was launched in March 2019, focuses on meeting the challenges ahead in terms of ensuring Ireland is well positioned to adapt and prosper into the future by having skilled people working in quality jobs in sustainable sectors.

My Department is intent on simplifying the path to enterprise development and assisting the progression of our SMEs and entrepreneurs. My priority is to ensure our current and future business environment becomes more straightforward, while providing sufficient resources to aid these businesses to develop the tools they need to succeed, grow and create sustainable employment.

To determine the current climate of our enterprise ecosystem, I commissioned the OECD to conduct a Country Review of SME and Entrepreneurship Policies in Ireland in March 2018. The timescale for this review was 18 months and the final Report will be launched in Dublin by myself and the OECD Deputy Secretary General on the 23rd of October. The outcome of the review aims to provide tailored analysis and recommendations to Government on how to improve the design and implementation of national SME and entrepreneurship policies and programmes, based on an assessment of the country’s current SME and entrepreneurship performance, framework conditions and policies, and informed by international comparisons.

My Department has played a central role supporting and facilitating the OECD during this intensive process. My officials have organised stakeholder events throughout the process to-date in order to facilitate detailed engagement between DBEI, other Government Departments, agencies, academia, business representatives and the small business sector. This engagement has enabled the OECD to gain insightful knowledge of our SME and entrepreneurship ecosystem at the various critical stages of building this report.

The OECD review has comprehensively examined all aspects of Ireland’s SME and Entrepreneurship ecosystem. The Report and the accompanying Strategy Roadmap will assist my Department in developing a national SME Strategy which will be aligned within the overall Future Jobs Framework.

I am keenly aware of the impact regulatory burdens and compliance costs can have on small businesses. Research indicates that where a large company may spend one euro per employee to comply with a regulatory duty, a medium-sized enterprise might have to spend around four euros and a small business up to ten euros. That is why my Department is leading on the development, roll out and implementation of the SME Test.

The main thrust of the SME Test is to assess the potential for less stringent requirements for smaller companies and the simplification of regulatory adherence, for example through the use of templates, reduced thresholds for SMEs and use of plain English in forms.

My Department sought best practice through other EU Member States regarding the development of the SME Test and a guidance approach was taken. In 2017, consultation took place with the Advisory Group on Small Business, which my colleague Minister of State Pat Breen TD chaired, and a public consultation followed thereafter.

I am pleased that the application and use of the SME Test across Government is now a deliverable action in the Future Jobs 2019 work programme. The adoption of the Test is included under action 2.3 which states:

“Raise awareness and promote the SME Test throughout Government Departments. Workshops will be available for policymakers”

In July 2019, my colleague Minister Breen wrote to each Government Department in his role as Minister of State for Business requesting that policymakers and those responsible for drafting relevant legislation in each Department utilise the Test. The nomination of a relevant official in each Department has also been sought so that my Department can engage and assist with the adoption of the SME Test in practice.

As a country, we want our Irish SMEs continue to grow and prosper and to become more innovative. Accessing finance is an integral part for the growth of any business. That is why my Department oversees EU sponsored programmes providing our diverse range of SME businesses with alternative financial solutions to those already available in the current market.

Microfinance Ireland provides loans between €2,000 and €25,000 to start-ups and existing micro enterprises who may be experiencing difficulty in accessing credit from other commercial lenders. The Brexit Loan Scheme is a €300 million loan fund available to eligible Irish businesses impacted by Brexit with loans available between €25,000 to €1.5 million and unsecured loans up to €500,000. The €40 million European Angel Fund is a joint initiative with the European Investment Fund designed to enhance the capacity of Business Angels to provide equity financing for innovative companies in the form of co-investments.

SMEs who participate in the public procurement process will be very aware of the financial and promotional opportunities that come with successfully winning all or part of a Government tender. Officials in my Department and that of the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) work together throughout the year to ensure a strong focus is maintained on promoting awareness amongst the SME sector. This commitment is reinforced by way of my Department participating on the OGP’s SME Procurement Advisory Group and their reciprocal participation in the DBEI chaired Interdepartmental SME Communication Group, which oversees the promotion of the www.supportingsmes.gov.ie website.

National Development Plan Data

Ceisteanna (118)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

118. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the projects mentioned in the National Development Plan 2018-2027 that come under her remit or bodies under her aegis by county in tabular form; the start dates and estimated completion dates for each project; the capital funds allocated to date for each project; the estimated total cost for each project over the 2018-27 period; and the amount expended to date for each such project. [39257/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Capital funding provided to my Department is mainly focussed on grants to support our multi-annual enterprise development and innovation programmes, rather than specific projects.

The Priority Investments under the National Strategic Objective in the National Development Plan (NDP) of a “Strong Economy supported by Enterprise, Innovation and Skills”, for which my Department has primary responsibility, in the main build upon the Department’s multi annual capital programmes. The specific Business, Enterprise and Innovation Investments identified in the NDP include;

- Expansion of Advanced Manufacturing Supports, linking centres and capacity across all regions

- New Regional Sectoral Clusters to scale and internationalise enterprise in all regions

- New regional ‘Technology and Innovation Poles’, led through the Institutes of Technologies

- Brexit Business Transformation through firm level supports

- Expanding Enterprise Ireland budget for research and development

- Expanding IDA Regional Property Programme, to attract investment to regions

- A National Design Centre

- Seed and Venture Capital Funding to support regional start-ups and growth

- eHubs for entrepreneurship and start-ups in every county

- New cycles of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions, benefitting Higher Education in all regions

- Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund

- Strengthened SFI Research Centres and EI Technology Centres in higher education in all regions

- Participation in the EU High Performance Computing Programme

- Upgrading of the Tyndall National Institute in Cork

- New Space Technologies Programme, to the benefit of firms in the regions

- Membership of CERN

It will be seen that many of these investments are programme orientated and given the multi annual characteristics of such capital programmes, it will be appreciated that unlike specific projects they generally do not have fixed start and completion dates.

Insofar as the funding of these investments are concerned, the NDP as well as in setting out indicative capital allocations for each of the National Strategic Objectives in the Plan also set indicative Ministerial Vote capital allocations for the period 2018 -2022. The capital ceilings set for my Department under the NDP for that period are:

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

€555 million

€620 million

€630 million

€640 million

€715 million

The increased capital funding provided to my Department in the first two years of the NDP has enabled us to progress a number of the aforementioned Priority Investments including,

- the roll out the first phase of the Disruptive Technologies Fund

- the continued roll out of the IDA programme of providing property solutions, strategic sites and grants to deliver FDI across the regions of the country

- the establishment of the Future Growth Loan Scheme to assist business to access the finance necessary to enable them to strategically transform/adapt to the impact of Brexit

- the funding by Enterprise Ireland of a number of regionally focussed initiatives with Institutes of Technology through a programme of Regional Innovation and Technology Clusters to support regions across the country to build enterprise capability

- the launch by EI of a new €175million Seed and Venture Programme which will focus on fostering a strong pipeline of high growth innovative businesses by increasing the availability of risk capital for start-up/early stage enterprises

- the expansion and deepening of Ireland’s membership of and collaborations with international research organisations such as the European Southern Observatory and the European Space Agency

- the establishment of new programmes for Postgraduate Research at Masters and PhD levels

- the refresh of SFI’s Research Centres Programme thereby strengthening collaboration with enterprises across all regions of the country

- to commence the phased upgrade of the Tyndall Institute to enable it to continue to stay at the forefront of new technologies

I am confident that the capital funding allocated to my Department for the remaining years of the first phase of the NDP will ensure that we can continue to progress the delivery of the specific Business, Enterprise and Innovation Investments set out in the Plan.

National Development Plan Data

Ceisteanna (119)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

119. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the amount allocated to the upgrading of the Tyndall National Institute under the National Development Plan 2018-2027; the cost of the project over the 2018-27 period; the amount expended to date for the project; the status of the project; and the estimated date of completion. [39258/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Tyndall National Institute (TNI) is a leading research centre in integrated ICT (Information and Communications Technology) hardware and systems. The institute was established in 2004 under an agreement between the then Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment and University College Cork. My Department continues to provide core funding for TNI (€5.5m in 2019) which it uses to leverage a total research budget of approximately €38m per annum.

The upgrade and expansion of TNI is identified as a strategic investment priority under the National Development Plan, Project Ireland 2040 and Future Jobs Ireland 2019.

The proposed development would see Tyndall National Institute substantially increase in size and capacity over the period to 2027, ensuring that the institute can stay at the forefront of new technologies, is positioned to avail of opportunities under European research programmes and can build on its successful industry engagement model in sectors such as health and life sciences, ICT, energy and agri-tech.

I am aware that UCC and Tyndall are undertaking preparatory actions for the upgrade and expansion including a design study. My Department will engage with UCC and Tyndall on receipt of their proposal

National Development Plan Data

Ceisteanna (120)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

120. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the amount allocated to the national design centre under the National Development Plan 2018-2027; the cost of the project over the 2018-27 period; the amount expended to date for the project; if all funds allocated to the project are coming from existing financial streams such as for the national design centre; if so, the details of same; the status of the project; and the estimated end date. [39259/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

One of my Department’s commitments as part of Project Ireland 2040 is to develop plans for a National Design Centre (NDC) to support the potential of the design sector to drive innovation and competitiveness and as a source of future job growth potential.

My Department officials are currently consulting with stakeholders and drafting a Request for Tender for the development of a business plan for a National Design Centre, setting out a business model, appropriate budget and funding requirements, management structures and drawing upon best practice and international precedents. There has been no expenditure to date. The tenderer will be required to estimate the cost of the initiative, as part of the development of the business plan.

The Request for Tender will be published shortly.

Healthcare Infrastructure Provision

Ceisteanna (121)

Michael Harty

Ceist:

121. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Health the status of the construction and commissioning of the 60 bed modular unit at University Hospital Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39099/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects and has advised that the enabling works for the modular unit have been completed and the main construction contractor is due to commence work on site this week. The construction is anticipated to be completed in mid 2020. The equipping and commissioning of the unit will be carried out once the construction has been completed.

Vaccination Programme

Ceisteanna (122)

John Brassil

Ceist:

122. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health if a HPV catch-up programme will be provided free of charge to all girls who were previously eligible but chose not to take up the vaccine or catch-up programmes in view of the fact that funding was allocated but not spent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39109/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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 secondary school.

During the 2019/20 school year, girls who previously declined the HPV vaccine and are still attending secondary school can join the HPV girls only programme. By contacting your local HSE Health Office appointments will be offered to girls to receive the HPV vaccine in HSE mop up clinics. However, it must be noted that vaccinated 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.

Oireachtas Joint Committee Recommendations

Ceisteanna (123)

Hildegarde Naughton

Ceist:

123. Deputy Hildegarde Naughton asked the Minister for Health the progress to date in implementing the recommendations of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, namely, the provision of exclusion zones and the availability of free contraception; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39115/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Deputy may be aware exclusion zones were not part of the recommendations made by the Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, however, it is my intention that people can access termination of pregnancy services safely. I wish to assure women and healthcare staff that there is existing legislation in place to protect them and to protect patients.

My Department and An Garda Síochána have also been closely monitoring the situation since the service commenced in January. I recently met with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to discuss the issues.

The result of the referendum last year gave the Government a strong mandate to introduce termination of pregnancy services and it remains my priority that the legislation is fully implemented so that all women in Ireland can access these services quickly and easily, without bias or judgment.

I established a Working Group to examine the various policy, regulatory and legislative issues arising in relation to improving access to contraception. The Group has recently held a public consultation exercise and has engaged directly with numerous stakeholders. It is currently preparing a report, which I understand will be submitted for my consideration shortly.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (124)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

124. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39124/19]

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.

Home Help Service Provision

Ceisteanna (125)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

125. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of extra home help for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39128/19]

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.

Healthcare Infrastructure Provision

Ceisteanna (126)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

126. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Health when the Sheil hospital development in Ballyshannon will progress to the next stage of its development; when construction will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39131/19]

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.

Cancer Screening Programmes

Ceisteanna (127)

James Browne

Ceist:

127. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the inquiries into the CervicalCheck screening programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39132/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

In May 2018, Government agreed to establish a Scoping Inquiry into the CervicalCheck screening programme. The Scoping Inquiry was led by Dr Gabriel Scally, under Terms of Reference which are published on the website of my Department.

The Scoping Inquiry produced a First, Final and Supplementary Report. In total these reports set out 58 recommendations for improvements in our screening programmes and wider health services. These reports are available on my Department's website.

The Final Report of the Scoping Inquiry, published in September 2018, is unequivocal in stating that the widespread non-disclosure of the results of historical screening audits was a substantial breach of trust for the women and families concerned. It caused significant distress and additional suffering to those affected. However, Dr Scally is clear that the Inquiry is satisfied with the quality management processes in the labs contracted by CervicalCheck. His reports present no evidence that the rates of discordant smear reporting or the performance of the programme fell below what is expected in a cervical screening programme. Crucially, he confirmed that he found no reason why the existing contracts for laboratory services should not continue until the new HPV regime is introduced. This provided welcome reassurance for women in Ireland, given the importance of screening for women’s health.

The Supplementary Report, published on 11 June 2019, addressed issues relating, broadly, to laboratories used for CervicalCheck screening, including the use of additional sites, laboratory accreditation schemes, and procurement and contracting of laboratory services by CervicalCheck. The Report identified issues in regard to contractual compliance, in particular the use of additional sites for screening of CervicalCheck sites without CervicalCheck’s knowledge; procurement, including a reduced focus on quality in procurement; and contracting. However, the Supplementary Report stated that, on the basis of the information available to the Inquiry, the use of additional laboratories did not in fact result in a reduction in the quality of the screening provided to Irish women and there is no evidence to suggest deficiencies in screening quality in any laboratory.

Dr Scally confirmed to me in July this year that the work of the Scoping Inquiry is concluded. Government has accepted all 58 of the recommendations that were set out in Dr Scally’s three reports into CervicalCheck. An implementation plan was approved by Government in December 2018 and work is ongoing in my Department, the HSE and the National Cancer Registry of Ireland on the range of actions within the Plan.

Dr Scally carried out a review of the implementation plan earlier this year, at my request, and he affirmed that the Implementation Plan is a comprehensive response to his report. He was clear that significant effort and resources are being committed to addressing the problems he identified and has acknowledged that substantial and important progress has been made to date in implementation of his recommendations. Quarterly reports against implementation are published on the website of my Department.

I have requested Dr Scally to undertake a further review of implementation of his recommendations, and this work is ongoing. Dr Scally has stated that he is confident that the recommendations which he has made are already facilitating the development of a cervical screening service that, in international terms, will be outstanding.

Also currently underway, following the Government decision in May 2018, is an Independent Clinical Expert Panel Review of cervical screening. This is being carried out by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), and will provide women with independent assurance about the timing of their diagnosis and treatment. Every woman who was diagnosed with cervical cancer since September 2008, whose cancer was registered with the National Cancer Registry of Ireland before 5 May 2018, and who had one or more tests under the CervicalCheck programme, was offered a review of her case.

As noted in a guidance document produced by Public Health England, "no matter how closely a review tries to reproduce the original screening conditions, the conditions of a review are different", and hence it is normally expected that any review such as this will have review results which disagree with their original review result (discordance). This is in line with international experience. For planning purposes, the HSE is estimating that up to 40% of participants may be identified by the RCOG Panel as having discordance.

Earlier this month the HSE sent a letter to all participants in the review to provide an update about the process, and to advise participants of when they may expect to receive their individual reports. This letter also provided women with options about how they may choose to receive their report. The feedback from participants has been positive, both in relation to the information pack and the options for receiving results. Women have started to receive their results and it is expected that the process will take a number of months to complete.

The Royal College will also prepare an aggregate report for the Minister, which will include recommendations, where appropriate, on improving care for women. The Royal College wrote to the Minister on the 6th of September last advising that, based on the provisional findings of its Review, the performance characteristics of the CervicalCheck Screening Programme that fall within the scope of the Review appear to be broadly in line with the experience in the UK.

Cancer Screening Programmes

Ceisteanna (128)

James Browne

Ceist:

128. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the current wait time for women awaiting smear test results; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39133/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Significant progress has been made in clearing the backlog of smear tests and reducing turnaround times. Medlab Pathology, which reported a backlog of 55,000 smear tests in May 2019, completed the processing of these tests in August this year, having ceased accepting new tests from 1 May. This marks a welcome milestone for the programme. All smear tests are now being read at two laboratories, the Coombe and Quest Diagnostics. As of 30 August, the HSE reported that average turnaround times for the Coombe and Quest were 4 weeks and 5 weeks respectively, and 96% of tests were being resulted within 7 weeks.

As the turnaround times for smear test results may fluctuate somewhat from week-to-week, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy with the most up-to-date figures available.

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland

Ceisteanna (129)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

129. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health the status of the external investigation into the NMBI; the terms of reference of the investigation; the person or organisation undertaking the investigation; the timeframe for delivery of the external review; the anticipated cost of the review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39136/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

There is currently no external investigation underway into the NMBI. The Deputy may be referring to an independent investigation arising from a particular Protected Disclosure received by my Department in relation to the NMBI.

Given the fact that this is an ongoing case and that it relates to a Protected Disclosure, I am constrained in what I can say. However, following a tender competition, an external company has been engaged to conduct an investigation. The terms of reference have been agreed with the discloser.

Given the complex nature of this matter, and the need to conduct a full and comprehensive examination of the issues raised, it would be difficult at this time to give a definitive time frame for completion of this investigation.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Ceisteanna (130)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

130. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health if the reimbursement dataset will specifically cover only current HSE funded users of the FreeStyle Libre device; and if not, if the health technology assessment group review will compare total blood glucose strip usage spend year on year. [39137/19]

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 (131)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

131. Deputy Eamon Scanlon 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). [39138/19]

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.

Mental Health Services Data

Ceisteanna (132)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

132. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on a waiting list for community psychology services by CHO, LHO, age, category and time waiting. [39141/19]

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.

Mental Health Services Staff

Ceisteanna (133)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

133. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the number of health service personnel assigned to community psychology services by staff category, CHO and LHO. [39142/19]

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.

Disability Services Funding

Ceisteanna (134)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

134. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health the status of a funding application made by an association to the HSE for funding to allow a person (details supplied) to return to the person's residential home. [39144/19]

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.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Ceisteanna (135)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

135. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if the reimbursement dataset will cover only HSE users (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39150/19]

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.