Health Services

Ceisteanna (159)

James Browne

Ceist:

159. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health if he will direct the HSE to investigate concerns raised in correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40027/19]

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. 

I have noted the contents of the correspondence supplied by the Deputy relating to the Radharc Nua residential care facility at Charlesfort, Ferns, Co. Wexford.

This residential facility is operated by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and, accordingly, I have arranged for the Deputy's question to be referred to the HSE for direct reply and I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Respite Care Services Provision

Ceisteanna (160)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

160. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health when the respite facility regularly used by persons (details supplied) will be available full-time and not only for emergency cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40028/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. 

The Programme for Partnership Government states that the Government wishes to provide more accessible respite care to facilitate full support for people with a disability.

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Health Screening Programmes

Ceisteanna (161)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

161. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health if a reply will issue to correspondence from a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40029/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

A response will issue to the individual in relation to this issue which will outline recent developments in relation to Newborn Screening.   

Currently all newborn babies (between 3 and 5 days old) are offered newborn bloodspot screening (generally known as the ‘heel prick’) through their parents/guardians for eight very rare conditions that are treatable if detected early in life.

Ireland has traditionally evaluated the case for commencing or expanding a national screening programme against the internationally accepted criteria (collectively known as Wilson Junger criteria). The evidence bar for commencing a screening programme should and must remain high.  This evidence threshold ensures that we can be as confident as we can be that the programme in question is effective, quality assured and operating to safe standards for the population. We must continue with a robust, methodologically sound and detailed analysis of the evidence in each case.

A National Screening Committee will be established and will hold its first meeting before the end of 2019, as per recommendation 5, contained within the Scally Review (2018).  The Committee’s role will be to undertake an independent assessment of the evidence for screening for a particular condition against internationally accepted criteria and make recommendations accordingly. 

I appointed Professor Niall O’Higgins as Chair of the Committee in July and asked that, as part of its initial body of work, the Committee prioritise a review of the national newborn blood-spot screening programme and look specifically at how Ireland should best proceed with an expansion in line with international best practice.  Any future potential changes to the National Newborn Bloodspot Screening Programme will be incorporated as part of the Committee’s work programme.

Health Screening Programmes

Ceisteanna (162, 193)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

162. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health if he will expand newborn screening tests to detect conditions such as MLD; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40031/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

193. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Health if he will consider expanding newborn screening; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40142/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 162 and 193 together.

Currently all newborn babies (between 3 and 5 days old) are offered newborn bloodspot screening (generally known as the ‘heel prick’) through their parents/guardians for eight very rare conditions that are treatable if detected early in life.

A National Screening Committee is being established and will hold its first meeting before the end of 2019, as per recommendation 5, contained within the Scally Review (2018). The Committee’s role will be to undertake an independent assessment of the evidence for screening for a particular condition against internationally accepted criteria and make recommendations accordingly.

I appointed Professor Niall O’Higgins as Chair of the Committee in July and asked that, as part of its initial body of work, the Committee prioritise a review of the national newborn blood-spot screening programme and look specifically at how Ireland should best proceed with an expansion in line with international best practice.

Health Screening Programmes

Ceisteanna (163)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

163. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health if he has engaged with stakeholders regarding the expansion of newborn screening tests since his appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40032/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Ireland has a well-established newborn screening programme. Newborn screening, more commonly known as the heel-prick test, is offered in respect of all newborn babies in Ireland through their parents or legal guardians when they are between three and five days old.

We have expanded the programme in recent years. Up to December 2018, we were screening for six conditions. Since then, the test has been expanded to screen for eight conditions.

I or my officials regularly meet with rare disease advocacy groups and families directly invested in the topic of the expansion of the Newborn Screening Programme. 

A National Screening Committee will be established and will hold its first meeting before the end of 2019, as per recommendation 5, contained within the Scally Review (2018).  The Committee’s role will be to undertake an independent assessment of the evidence for screening for a particular condition against internationally accepted criteria and make recommendations accordingly. 

I appointed Professor Niall O’Higgins as Chair of the Committee in July and asked that, as part of its initial body of work, the Committee prioritise a review of the national newborn blood-spot screening programme and look specifically at how Ireland should best proceed with an expansion in line with international best practice.  Any future potential changes to the National Newborn Bloodspot Screening Programme will be incorporated as part of the Committee’s work programme.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (164, 165, 166)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

164. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health if funding of €80,000 has been cut from the budget of an organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40033/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

165. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health his plans to ensure that adequate funding is allocated to a named organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40034/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

166. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health his plans to ensure that funding of at least €40 million is allocated to the disability sector in order for it to maintain existing services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40042/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 164 to 166, inclusive, together.

The level of funding available for my Department is being considered as part of the national Estimates and budgetary process for 2020 which is currently underway.

Pending completion of this process it is not appropriate for me to comment further at this stage.

Services for People with Disabilities

Ceisteanna (167)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

167. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health his plans to ensure 300 extra therapy staff are recruited in order to improve disability services for children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40043/19]

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 (168)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

168. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health if the reimbursement data set will specifically cover current HSE funded users of the FreeStyle Libre device; 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. [40051/19]

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

Ceisteanna (169)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

169. Deputy Timmy Dooley 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. [40052/19]

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 (170)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

170. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on mental health services waiting lists nationally to date waiting less than and more than 12 months, respectively by CHO area in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40061/19]

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.

Respite Care Services Funding

Ceisteanna (171)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

171. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Health the status of an application for funding for a respite centre (details supplied) in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40068/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives.

This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

The Programme for Partnership Government states that the Government wishes to provide more accessible respite care to facilitate full support for people with a disability.

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Mental Health Services Data

Ceisteanna (172)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

172. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Health the number of persons treated in the mental health services nationally in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by CHO area, in tabular form. [40070/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Emergency Departments Data

Ceisteanna (173)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

173. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Health the number of persons treated in University Hospital Limerick emergency department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019. [40071/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

This is a very busy period for our health services, with many hospitals reporting significant numbers of patient attendances. For the first eight months of 2019, the number of patients attending hospital EDs increased by 2.9%, and the number of ED admissions increased by 1.7% compared to the same period last year.

Trolley numbers for the year to date from January to August were 71,532, a 3% increase compared to 69,446 for the same period last year.

The Department is engaging extensively with the HSE this year to identify mitigating actions to bring down trolley numbers and waiting times in the ED.

With regard to the Deputy's specific question, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly with the requested information.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Data

Ceisteanna (174)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

174. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Health the breakdown of the job vacancies outstanding in the CAMHS and adult mental health services in CHO 3. [40072/19]

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.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Data

Ceisteanna (175)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

175. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Health the number of persons in CAMHS nationally in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by CHO, in tabular form; the number of persons on the CAMHS waiting list nationally at this point in time under and over 12 months, by CHO, in tabular form. [40073/19]

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.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Ceisteanna (176)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

176. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the ongoing discussions and engagement with the manufacturer of Ocrevus with a view to having the cost of this medication reimbursed to a medical card holder (details supplied). [40075/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE has statutory responsibility for medicine pricing and reimbursement decisions, under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. The Act specifies criteria for decisions on the reimbursement of medicines.

HSE decisions on which medicines are reimbursed by the taxpayer are made on objective, scientific and economic grounds, on the advice of the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE). The NCPE conducts health technology assessments (HTAs) for the HSE and makes recommendations on reimbursement to assist HSE decisions. The NCPE uses a decision framework to systematically assess a drug's clinical and cost effectiveness as a health intervention.

The HSE strives to reach a decision in as timely a manner as possible. However, because of the significant monies involved, it must ensure that the best price is achieved, as these commitments are often multi-million euro, ongoing investments. This can lead to a protracted deliberation process.

On 4 October 2018 the NCPE completed their assessment for Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) indicated for the treatment of adult patients with early primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). They recommended that Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) not be reimbursed for this indication. 

The HSE and the manufacturer have had a number of rounds of commercial negotiations in relation to this indication. Commercial discussions have concluded, the medicine has been reviewed by the HSE Drugs Group and the HSE Senior Leadership Team have received the Drugs Group recommendation. The HSE's final decision on reimbursement will take into consideration the statutory criteria contained in the 2013 Health Act.

Hospitals Data

Ceisteanna (177)

John Brassil

Ceist:

177. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the number of bed nights that were lost to Kerry University Hospital in the years 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to date in 2019 due to delayed discharges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40076/19]

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

Ceisteanna (178)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

178. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Health the job vacancies outstanding in the emergency department of University Hospital Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40078/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service issue, I have asked the HSE to reply to you directly.