Hospital Services

Ceisteanna (87)

Bobby Aylward

Ceist:

87. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health his plans to implement 24-7 cardiac care services for those living in the south east; his views on whether there is an equal provision of cardiac services in the region in comparison to the rest of the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48897/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

In 2016, the Herity Report concluded that the needs of the effective catchment population of University Hospital Waterford (UHW) could be accommodated from a single cath lab and recommended that the operating hours of the existing cath lab should be extended. Approval and funding has been provided for the additional staff required to facilitate this service and recruitment is progressing.

A mobile cath lab has been deployed at UHW since October 2017 to conduct diagnostic cardiac procedures pending the recruitment of the additional staff required to extend the opening hours of the existing cath lab.

I remain committed to the provision of a second cath lab in University Hospital Waterford. The project has been included in the HSE’s Capital Programme 2019, the Design Team was appointed in June 2019 and the application for planning permission was lodged on 29 October.

The Herity Report also recommended that the current 9 to 5 provision of emergency pPCI services should cease to allow the hospital focus on the much larger volume of planned work. I asked my Department to address the implications of this recommendation by arranging for a National Review of Specialist Cardiac Services.

The aim of this Review is to achieve optimal patient outcomes at population level with particular emphasis on the safety, quality and sustainability of the services that patients receive by establishing the need for an optimal configuration of a national adult cardiac service.

Work is ongoing on finalisation of the Review and drafting of its recommendations has commenced.

Emergency Departments Waiting Times

Ceisteanna (88)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

88. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health the reason to date in 2019 over 1,190 persons over 75 years of age have endured emergency department wait times of more than 24 hours at Waterford University Hospital. [48764/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The hospital system is currently operating at close to full capacity. The number of patients attending Emergency Departments continues to increase year on year. HSE figures show that for the first ten months of 2019, the number of patients attending University Hospital Waterford decreased by 0.9% while the number of attendances of patients over the age of 75 increased by 1.2% compared to the same period in 2018. Similarly, admissions in University Hospital Waterford decreased by 8.5% while admissions of patients over the age of 75 increased by 5.3% compared to the same period last year. This reflects increasing demand for unscheduled care, especially by patients in the 75 years and over age group.

There are a number of factors which may affect the waiting times for older patients. In particular, people in the older age category presenting to EDs are more likely to have complex needs and be admitted then the population generally. Consequently, a higher number of these patients may have to be accommodated on trolleys, pending their admission to a ward. There are also issues around delayed discharges of care which can cause congestion within hospital emergency departments.

The HSE Winter Plan was launched on Thursday 14 November in preparation for the anticipated increase in demand over the winter period. The Government allocated an additional €26m to fund the implementation of the Plan. Nine Winter Action Teams, each aligned to a Community Healthcare Organisation and associated acute hospitals and Hospital Groups, have prepared Integrated Winter Plans. These plans focus on demand management and reduction, staffing availability, timely access to the most appropriate care pathway for patients, and appropriate timely discharge from acute hospitals. Each Action Team has set out a range of initiatives it will undertake within its area to implement the Plan.

I acknowledge the challenges that are facing the emergency departments in our hospitals. In addition to the immediate measures being undertaken in the Winter Plan, the Government through the Sláintecare Strategy and the investment being made in accordance Project Ireland 2040, is addressing the issues of access to healthcare and capacity in the system.

I am confident that together with the more immediate measures being undertaken under the Winter Plan and the strategic approach undertaken by the Government under Sláintecare and Project Ireland that progress will be made in addressing the difficulties in the emergency departments.

Ambulance Service

Ceisteanna (89)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

89. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the steps he is taking to improve ambulance services on foot of recommendations in the report of the trauma steering group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48784/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Community Care Provision

Ceisteanna (90)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

90. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Health if the service being offered by a community nursing unit (details supplied) in County Tipperary will be reviewed in order to ensure that persons in the area will have long-term stay care in their own town in view of plans by the HSE to have them seek care in Nenagh or Thurles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48572/19]

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.

Dental Services Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (91)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

91. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of children waiting for a dental appointment at 31 October 2019 or the latest date available in north County Dublin in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48893/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Healthcare Infrastructure Provision

Ceisteanna (92)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

92. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the timeline for the new extension for Naas General Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48735/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Primary Care Centres Provision

Ceisteanna (93)

John Curran

Ceist:

93. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health the cause of the delay in the provision of the Rowlagh primary healthcare centre in north Clondalkin which was first announced in 2012; the timeline for the completion of the project which was granted planning permission in July 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48840/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Hospital Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (94)

Joan Collins

Ceist:

94. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) has been waiting five weeks for an operation. [48616/19]

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.

Cannabis for Medicinal Use

Ceisteanna (95)

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

95. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health the status of, and definitive start date for, the medicinal cannabis access programme in view of his most recent response with regard to two cannabis based products having been approved for the programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48736/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Deputy is aware, legislation was signed in June which will allow for the operation of the Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP) on a pilot basis for five years.

Commercial medical cannabis suppliers whose cannabis products meet the specified requirements set out in the legislation, and which have been listed in Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs (Prescription and Control of Supply of Cannabis for Medical Use) Regulations, will be able to supply these products into Ireland.

Cannabis products will only be listed in the Schedule once they have been accepted as being suitable for medical use under the Medical Cannabis Access Programme.

As yet no medical cannabis products are available for use under the MCAP but a number of suppliers have expressed an interest in supplying the Irish market. As soon as suitable products are approved for use the Department of Health will make this information available on their website.

Please see the link to all of the up to date information relating to the Medical Cannabis Access Programme, which includes a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document. Please note the FAQ is a working document and will be updated as new information and developments emerge.

https://health.gov.ie/cannabis-for-medical-use/medical-cannabis-access-programme/

Hospital Consultant Data

Ceisteanna (96)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

96. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health the number of consultant posts at South Tipperary General Hospital not on the Medical Council specialist register in each of the years 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the specialities involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48617/19]

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

Healthcare Infrastructure Provision

Ceisteanna (97)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

97. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health his long-term plans for a number of community hospitals in County Donegal including the community hospital in Lifford, Ramelton and St. Joseph's Hospital, Stranorlar; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48863/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the HSE is responsible for the delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects, including the facilities at Lifford Community Hospital, Ramelton Community Hospital and St. Joseph’s Community Hospital Stranorlar I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to the issues you raised concerning these facilities.

Cancer Screening Programmes

Ceisteanna (98, 116)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

98. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health when the review of CervicalCheck by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists due in May 2019 will be published; if his attention has been drawn to the report; the investigation he has undertaken to establish the way in which information from the report was leaked to the media; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48889/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

116. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the way in which the review by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists was leaked before all participating women were informed; and the steps he will take regarding same. [48824/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 98 and 116 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, the purpose of the Independent Clinical Expert Review being conducted by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is to provide women, or their next of kin, with independent clinical assurance about the timing of their diagnosis and treatment.

The overriding focus throughout this process has been to ensure that Review results are communicated to women and families in the most appropriate and sensitive way possible. A core principle underpinning this process has been to ensure that individual participants would have had an opportunity to receive their results in advance of publication of the Expert Panel’s Aggregate Report. In keeping with this principle, I will only receive the aggregate report when I have been assured that all women or next of kin have had the opportunity to receive their individual report. I will then bring the aggregate report to Government and publish it.

While the aggregate report has not yet been received by my Department, the Royal College in a letter addressed to me in September 2019 advised 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 experience in the UK.

Physiotherapy Provision

Ceisteanna (99)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Ceist:

99. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health his plans to improve waiting times for physiotherapy assessments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48761/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Ambulance Service Response Times

Ceisteanna (100)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

100. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the steps he is taking to improve ambulance response times in rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48785/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (101)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

101. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health the measures being taken to address the podiatry waiting times in counties Sligo and Leitrim; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48870/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Waiting Lists Action Plans

Ceisteanna (102)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

102. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health his plans to address hospital waiting lists for the remainder of 2019 and in 2020. [48525/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital operations and procedures is a key priority for Government. In this regard, the Government is committed to improving waiting times for hospital appointments and procedures.

The latest published National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures for October show that the Inpatient & Daycase (IPDC) waiting list has decreased by over 6% (-4,490) when compared to the same period last year. The Outpatient waiting list remains a significant challenge. However, the latest NTPF Outpatient figures show that the number of patients waiting has decreased by 2,277 since August 2019.

Budget 2020 announced that the Government has further increased investment in tackling waiting lists, with funding to the NTPF increasing from €75 million in 2019 to €100 million in 2020.

My Department is working with the HSE and National Treatment Purchase Fund to develop the Scheduled Care Access Plan 2020. The National Service Plan 2020 will set out HSE planned activity level for the year ahead, while the NTPF will work with the hospital system to provide additionality to improve access to inpatient/daycase treatment and with a particular focus on hospital outpatient services.

In this regard, I would encourage all hospital groups and individual hospitals to engage with the NTPF to identify waiting list proposals for the remainder of this year and for 2020.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Administration

Ceisteanna (103)

Declan Breathnach

Ceist:

103. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Health the initiatives being taken to improve CAMHS in CHO 8 and also to ensure there is no service gap when a transition to adult services occurs at 18 years of age. [48858/19]

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.

Cancer Services Provision

Ceisteanna (104)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

104. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health the status of the promised new state-of-the-art oncology centre in view of the recognition by all stakeholders that the oncology day ward at Galway University Hospital has not been fit for purpose for over ten years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48890/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Disabilities Assessments

Ceisteanna (105)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

105. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Health when he expects assessments of need under the Disability Act 2005 in County Tipperary to be provided within the statutory timeframe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48884/19]

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.

Disabilities Assessments

Ceisteanna (106, 124)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

106. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health his plans to clear the long waiting lists in many areas nationwide for additional needs assessments for children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48848/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

124. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health his plans to recruit more occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists to properly staff early intervention and school age assessment teams for children with additional needs. [48849/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 106 and 124 together.

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

Hospital Waiting Lists Action Plans

Ceisteanna (107)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

107. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Health the steps being taken to reduce waiting lists for gynaecological treatment at Cork University Maternity Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48861/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital operations and procedures is a key priority for Government.

The latest published National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures show that there 532 patients in the Cork University Maternity Hospital IPDC waiting list. Of these, 28% (148) are waiting 3 months or less, 66% (351) are waiting 9 months or less and 79% (419) are waiting 12 months or less.

I am aware that Cork University Maternity Hospital have made considerable improvements to their Outpatients Waiting List over the past year. As a result of the hard work of their dedicated staff and their positive engagement with the NTPF, the Outpatient Waiting List at Cork University Maternity Hospital has decreased by 66% (-2,182) when compared to the same period last year.

The NTPF figures show that at the end of October there were 1,115 patients the outpatient waiting list. Of these, 70% (780) are waiting 3 months or less and 91% (1,012) are waiting 6 months or less.

The NTPF has advised my Department that they have approved a number of IPDC and Outpatient proposals for Cork University Maternity Hospital in 2019, providing up to 1,720 procedures and appointments for patients. These initiatives include providing additional capacity at Cork University Maternity Hospital to facilitate 2-day (weekday) theatre service for the rest of this year to assist with addressing the longest waiters.

More broadly, Budget 2020 announced that the Government has further increased investment in tackling waiting lists, with funding to the NTPF increasing from €75 million in 2019 to €100 million in 2019. The year-on-year increases to the NTPF since Budget 2017 reflect this Government’s priority to improve waiting times for patients to access hospital treatment. The Department of Health is working with the HSE and NTPF to develop the Scheduled Care Access Plan 2020, which will include gynaecology services.

In this regard, I would encourage all hospital groups and individual hospitals to engage with the NTPF to identify waiting list proposals for the remainder of this year and for 2020.

Mental Health Services Funding

Ceisteanna (108)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

108. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health the reason the full allocation for mental health services was not released to the HSE in January 2019 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48887/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Budget 2019 made allowance for an additional €55 million for mental health services, to build on existing services. This comprised €20 million continuing cost in 2019 of developments initiated in 2018, combined with €35 million for further new developments.

To date, the HSE has requested allocation of €40.246 million of this funding, which has been approved. In addition, €3 million has been paid to Pobal for the Community Mental Health Fund. An amount of €11.754 million remains under consideration.

The new development investment has enabled the HSE Mental Health Services to progress initiatives agreed in the National Service Plan 2019. Initiatives such as e-mental health pilot programmes and an annual increase in psychiatric nurse undergraduate places continue to be developed and implemented with this funding. The relocation of the National Forensic Mental Health Service to Portrane is another significant investment undertaken by HSE Mental Health Services.

Budget 2020 saw the Government continue this commitment to mental health by increasing funding by €39m to €1.026bn. This represents an increase of over €315 million since 2012, or 45%.

This significant additional Government funding has provided for over 1,800 new development posts for mental health services, including CAMHS. Enhancement of the specialist CAMHS service, including improving access and reducing waiting lists, remains a priority for the Government. We have reduced the CAMHS waiting list by around 500 since December 2018, to around 2,000 today.

Ambulance Service

Ceisteanna (109)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

109. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health the reason for the significant deterioration in ambulance turnaround times in Cavan General Hospital between September 2017 and September 2019. [48867/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Hospital Overcrowding

Ceisteanna (110)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

110. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health his plans to relieve the overcrowding in University Hospital Limerick for winter 2020. [48825/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I acknowledge the difficulties facing the emergency departments in our hospitals.

According to HSE TrolleyGAR data, there was a 16% increase in patients counted waiting on trolleys at University Hospital Limerick ED this year up to the end of October 2019 compared to the same period last year. My Department has engaged extensively with the HSE this year to identify mitigating actions to bring down trolley numbers and waiting times in the ED in the face of growing demand.

The HSE Winter Plan was launched on Thursday 14 November in preparation for the anticipated increase in demand over the winter period. The Government allocated an additional €26m to fund the implementation of the Plan. Nine Winter Action Teams, each aligned to a Community Healthcare Organisation and associated acute hospitals and Hospital Groups, have prepared Integrated Winter Plans. These plans focus on demand management and reduction, staffing availability, timely access to the most appropriate care pathway for patients, and appropriate timely discharge from acute hospitals.

Each Action Team has set out a range of initiatives it will undertake within its area to implement the Plan. The Integrated Winter Plan for University Hospital Limerick will be delivered by Winter Action Team 3 (WAT 3). The initiatives for WAT 3 include:

- additional home support hours to facilitate early hospital to community transfers;

- additional aids and appliances to facilitate early hospital discharges and ED avoidance;

- mobile doctor service units to manage increase demand for home visits and facilitate ED avoidance;

- low level Domiciliary Rehab team in Limerick city to facilitate early discharge and ED avoidance;

- added Triage nursing support in Shannondoc to support ED avoidance;

- added Registrar in UHL to assist in addressing workflow and improve PET times;

- added Health Care Assistants support in UHL to provide staffing at ward level to support additional surge patients.

It should also be noted in relation to UHL a capital budget of €19.5 million has been approved for the provision of a modular 60-bed inpatient ward block at the Hospital, with funding of €10 million allocated in 2019. The HSE have advised that the enabling works are complete, and the main contractor is now commencing work. This important project will go some way towards addressing the acknowledged lack of bed capacity in the region

In addition to the immediate measures being undertaken in the Winter Plan the Government through the Sláintecare Strategy is addressing the issues of access to healthcare. The Sláintecare Action Plan for 2019 has a specific workstream on access and waiting lists. The Government is also increasing investment in health infrastructure and capacity in the system in line with Project Ireland 2040.

I am confident that together with the more immediate measures being undertaken under the Winter Plan and the strategic approach undertaken by the Government under Sláintecare that progress will be made in addressing the difficulties in the emergency departments.

Healthcare Infrastructure Provision

Ceisteanna (111)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

111. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health the status of works at Carndonagh Community Hospital; if a contractor has been appointed; when works are scheduled to commence; the timeline for completion of the works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48864/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the HSE is responsible for the delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects, including Carndonagh Community Hospital I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this this matter.