Neuro-Rehabilitation Services

Ceisteanna (207)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

207. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that since the publication of the three year implementation framework for the neurorehabilitation strategy in February 2019, the HSE group responsible for its implementation has only met on one occasion and the flagship project for this framework in CHOs 6 and 7 is now at a complete standstill due to the lack of funding to implement it. [40596/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The implementation framework for the National Strategy & Policy for the Provision of Neuro-Rehabilitation Services in Ireland was published on the HSE website on 20th February 2019. It proposes the formation of Managed Clinical Rehabilitation Networks (MCRNs), with the set-up of one demonstration MCRN suggested as the first step. . I greatly appreciate the work of the HSE and the National Steering Group in finalising the Framework and I look forward to its roll-out in the coming years.

The delivery of the National Neuro-rehabilitation Policy and Strategy remains a priority for me and is a commitment under the Programme for a Partnership Government.

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

Maternity Services

Ceisteanna (208)

John Curran

Ceist:

208. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health if screening for pregnant women to include a screening for the diagnosis of cytomegalovirus will be extended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40601/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE Maternity and Infant Care Scheme offer blood tests in pregnancy to screen for a number of infectious diseases. These include:

- Immunity to rubella (German Measles)

- Immunity to varicella zoster (chickenpox)

- Syphilis

- Hepatitis B

- Hepatitis C

- HIV

As per recommendation 5, contained within the Scally Review (2018), a National Screening Advisory Committee will be established and become operational before the end of 2019. This is to strengthen the governance, transparency and oversight of any proposed new programmes or changes to existing programmes.

Similar to the UK National Screening Committee, the Committee’s role will be to undertake an independent assessment of the evidence for screening for a particular condition, or revisions to existing programmes against internationally accepted criteria and make recommendations accordingly.

Any future potential changes to screening pregnant women for infectious disease can be submitted by the HSE to be considered as part of the Committee's future work programme.

HSE Reviews

Ceisteanna (209)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

209. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the weighting percentages to be used as part of the upcoming HSE FreeStyle Libre review decision making process that will be given to criteria (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40605/19]

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 (210)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

210. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health if the reimbursement dataset for the FreeStyle Libre device will specifically cover only current HSE funded users of FreeStyle Libre; if not, if the HTA review will compare total blood glucose strip usage spend year on year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40606/19]

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.

Occupational Therapy Data

Ceisteanna (211)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

211. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health the amount paid to private occupational therapists by the HSE to deal with assessment of needs backlogs by county; the amount paid to each private occupational therapy operator; and the number of children seen by each operator in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [40607/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Deputy's question relates to a service issue it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Services Staff

Ceisteanna (212)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

212. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health if a matter raised in correspondence by a person (details supplied) will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40609/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I am advised by the HSE that while there is no national recruitment embargo or moratorium, there is a priority requirement for all HSE services to maintain, or get to, an affordable staffing level that is sustainable in 2019 and 2020, while also prioritising the delivery of safe services.

In light of this, the HSE advise that they have introduced control measures relating to staffing and recruitment (including the return of employees on career breaks) to ensure that they live within the available resources provided to them. This does mean that in some Hospital Groups and Community Healthcare Organisations non-critical replacement posts will be paused. The preference is for these controls to remain in place for as short a period as necessary, with on-going review until there is satisfactory evidence of traction and delivery of balanced financial plans from Hospital Groups and CHO’s.

The HSE report that there is on-going capacity for recruitment of newly funded posts and replacement of critical clinical posts within frontline services throughout this period.

With regard to this specific employee, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Paediatric Services

Ceisteanna (213)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

213. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 108 of 29 May 2019, if the locum diabetic paediatrician planned for recruitment for July 2019 has commenced; if not, the reason therefore; when the matter will be corrected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40627/19]

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

Diabetes Strategy

Ceisteanna (214)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

214. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the plan by the HSE for the transfer of 100 adolescents to adult diabetic services in the near future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40628/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Palliative Care Services

Ceisteanna (215, 216, 217, 218)

John Deasy

Ceist:

215. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health when the new 20-bed south east palliative care unit at University Hospital Waterford will be fully commissioned and operational; the reason for the delay in opening the facility to patients in view of the fact that it was officially handed over to the HSE almost six months ago; and if the delay in opening the unit has been caused by cost overruns associated with the national children’s hospital project. [40633/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Deasy

Ceist:

216. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the considerable financial contribution made towards the new south east palliative care unit at University Hospital Waterford by a company (details supplied) through public fundraising over the past three decades; and if his attention has been further drawn to the disappointment expressed by its directors at the failure to open this facility to date and their expectation that it may not be operational until mid-2020. [40634/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Deasy

Ceist:

217. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health if his Department has received an indicative budget for the specific staffing and operational costs associated with the full-time utilisation of the new south east palliative care unit at University Hospital Waterford; the provision that has been or will be made to meet the funding requirement by the HSE; and when the necessary allocation will be forthcoming to allow recruitment of staff to take place. [40635/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Deasy

Ceist:

218. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health the reason the recruitment requirement for the new south east palliative care unit was not advertised in parallel with the Dunmore wing construction project at University Hospital Waterford in view of the complexities involved in securing appropriately qualified staff. [40636/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 215 to 218, inclusive, together.

The HSE's 2019 National Service Plan committed to progress the opening, in Q4 2019 and within existing resources, of three new hospices, including one in Waterford, with a view to the services being fully operational in 2020.

I would like to commend Waterford Hospice Movement for its efforts in raising the capital for the construction of the specialist palliative care unit in Waterford. Acknowledgement must also be given to the people of Waterford, who have so generously contributed to this project.

The HSE has allocated once-off funding of €0.3 million to the new hospice in Waterford to prepare the facility for operation in 2020. This is a once-off funding allocation for use in funding non-pay expenditure such as utilities, services, cleaning, supplies, and minor equipment. The level of funding available for the Department of Health in 2020 and the quantum of services to be provided by the HSE, including for the new hospice in Waterford, will be considered as part of the national Estimates and budgetary process and National Service Planning.

With regard to when the hospice will be fully operational, and the recruitment of staff to operate the hospice, as these are service matters I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Abortion Services Provision

Ceisteanna (219)

Ruth Coppinger

Ceist:

219. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Health his plans for the introduction of safe access zones around facilities that provide for the termination of pregnancies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40639/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

It is my absolute intention that people can access termination of pregnancy services safely.

My Department and An Garda Síochána have been closely monitoring the situation since termination of pregnancy services commenced in January this year. As part of our examination of the issue, I recently met with the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána. As the Deputy will be aware, I also met with Oireachtas members to discuss safe access and I plan to meet with the Oireachtas members again in the coming weeks to provide a further update.

My Department has also advised health service providers of existing legislation in place to protect them and to protect patients.

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 legislation is fully implemented so that all women in Ireland can access these services quickly, easily and safely.

Palliative Care Services

Ceisteanna (220)

James Browne

Ceist:

220. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the availability of palliative care here by LHOs in tabular form; the recommended locations for palliative care; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40645/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

At present, there are 214 specialist palliative care or hospice beds in 10 locations nationwide, as set out in the following table. The number of hospice beds has increased by 44% over the past five years.

CHO

Service

Number of beds

1

North West Hospice, Sligo

8

2

Galway Hospice, Galway

18

3

Milford Care Centre, Limerick

30

4

Marymount Hospice, Cork

44

4

Kerry Hospice, Tralee

15

6

Our Lady's Hospice and Care Services, Blackrock

12

7

Our Lady's Hospice and Care Services, Harold's Cross

36

7

St. Brigid's Hospice, Kildare

8

9

St. Francis' Hospice, Raheny

19

9

St. Francis' Hospice, Blanchardstown

24

Total

214

The HSE’s 2019 National Service Plan commits to the full extension of service at St. Brigid's Hospice, Kildare and to preparing three new inpatient units in Mayo, Waterford and Wicklow for opening in 2020. These developments will increase the number of hospice beds by 55.

A further three units are proposed for development in the coming years, serving people with specialist palliative care needs in the Midlands and Border regions. Once these inpatient units are opened, there will be at least one hospice in every CHO region.

All HSE areas have Community Specialist Palliative Home Care Teams, while palliative care is also provided in 38 acute hospitals and through support beds in locations across the country.

I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy on the provision of palliative care by LHO as soon as possible.

Palliative Care for Children

Ceisteanna (221)

James Browne

Ceist:

221. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the position regarding paediatric palliative care in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40646/19]

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.

Medical Card Data

Ceisteanna (222)

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

222. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health the number of medical cards as of 30 September 2019; the number of general practitioner cards on the same date; and the number for each type of card issued on a discretionary basis on that date. [40651/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy

Primary Care Centres Data

Ceisteanna (223)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

223. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health if works on the Grange and Drumcliffe primary health centres in County Sligo will be progressing together; the estimated completion time of both; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40654/19]

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 includes a two hub solution for Primary Care services in North Sligo, to be developed at two locations in Drumcliffe and Grange. Both centres will be HSE own build and are included in the HSE Capital Plan.

The Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects and has advised that these projects have received planning permission and have completed detailed design. The successful granting of planning permission was a requirement to enable the purchase of the site in Drumcliffe.

The delivery of capital projects is a dynamic process and is subject to the successful completion of a number of approval stages, in line with the Public Spending Code, which can impact on the timeline for delivery and therefore it is not possible to say if both projects will be completed together.

Hospital Services

Question No. 225 answered with Question No. 202.

Ceisteanna (224)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

224. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health the reason IV drips are not being administered to patients when required in community hospitals (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40656/19]

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. 225 answered with Question No. 202.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (226)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

226. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health the way in which the continuity of medical devices will be affected in a no-deal Brexit; the steps that have been put in place if such a scenario occurs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40667/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

A no-deal Brexit will present very significant challenges for the supply of goods generally, including medical devices, into Ireland after 31 October. However, significant work has been undertaken by the Department of Health, the HSE, and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), together with medical device suppliers, to anticipate - in so far as is possible - potential vulnerabilities, risk assess these and devise contingencies in order to minimise and address any risks to continuity of supply. There are already additional stocks of medical devices built into the Irish supply chain, and we are confident that these stocks are sufficient to withstand initial delays at ports and airports after Brexit, should any such delays occur.

The work of the Department and its agencies on Brexit preparedness will continue in the weeks remaining until 31 October, and for several months thereafter. This will allow for ongoing identification of any Brexit-related supply problems, so that plans can be adjusted to facilitate the use of alternative products and alternative supply routes, if required.

Home Care Packages Data

Ceisteanna (227)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

227. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health the principles and procedures applied in risk rating persons that are waiting for the provision of home support services for older people; the number of persons that have been rated high risk, medium risk and low risk since 1 May 2019 by CHO area and remain on the waiting list and are not in receipt of the service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40673/19]

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.

Palliative Care Services

Ceisteanna (228, 229)

James Browne

Ceist:

228. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health if an investigation is ongoing regarding the lack of access to palliative care in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40689/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

James Browne

Ceist:

229. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) was unable to access palliative care; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40690/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 228 and 229 together.

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

Transport Support Scheme

Ceisteanna (230)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

230. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health his plans to introduce a replacement for the transport grant for disabled drivers which was abolished five years ago; if so, the timeframe for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40696/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

With regard to the proposals for a new Health (Transport Support) Bill, the Deputy may be aware that my colleague, the Minister for Health and I, brought a Memorandum to Government on proposals for a new Transport Support Payment Scheme. Following consideration of the matter, it was decided to withdraw the Memorandum from the Cabinet Agenda at that time.

I intend to revert to Government in due course with revised proposals to reflect the discussions at that Cabinet meeting and further discussions between myself and Minister Harris, on the best way to progress the Transport Scheme. It is not possible to provide a timeframe pending the completion of the revised proposals.

It is important to note that the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers scheme, operated by the Revenue Commissioners, remains in place. This scheme provides VRT and VAT relief, an exemption from road tax and a fuel grant to drivers and passengers with a disability, who qualify under the relevant criteria set out in governing regulations made by the Minister for Finance. Specifically adapted vehicles driven by persons with a disability are also exempt from payment of tolls on national roads and toll bridges. Transport Infrastructure Ireland has responsibility for this particular scheme.

There are improvements in access to a range of transport support schemes available to persons with disabilities in the State and on-going work is being carried out by Government Departments, agencies and transport providers to further improve access to public transport services. Under the National Disability Inclusion Strategy, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has responsibility for the continued development of accessibility and availability of public transport for people with a disability.

The Deputy may wish to note that in July last, my colleague the Minister for Rural and Community Development announced CLÁR funding of €890,632 to 20 voluntary community organisations. This funding will support the purchase and/or fit out of vehicles to provide transport for people in rural areas with mobility issues. It will support voluntary organisations that provide:

- transport for people with significant mobility issues, including those requiring specialised wheelchair accessible vehicles, to day-care or other medical, therapeutic or respite services; or

- transport to/from designated cancer treatment hospitals/centres under the National Cancer Care Programme.

National Dementia Strategy

Ceisteanna (231)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

231. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health if additional funding will be ensured for dementia services provided by county in the health spending Estimates for 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40699/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The implementation of the 2014 National Dementia Strategy is being led by the National Dementia Office in the HSE, which has made substantial progress in developing evidence-based care pathways for people with dementia. Actions are being implemented progressively as resources allow and Dormant Accounts funding is allowing a number of key projects to proceed. The HSE is working with key partners, including the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, to implement specific elements of the Strategy, including the Understand Together awareness campaign and the attendant community activation programme.

With regard to the specific request for funding for dementia services referred to by the Deputy, the level of funding available for the Department of Health in 2020 and the quantum of services to be provided by the HSE will be considered as part of the national Estimates and budgetary process and National Service Planning.