Work Permits Applications

Ceisteanna (316)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

316. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to streamline the application process for work permits further, with particular reference to the issuing of decisions in a quick manner therefore avoiding unnecessary delays for businesses in hiring the appropriate staff; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50420/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

As the economy improves and we approach full employment, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI), continues to experience a high volume of employment permit applications which has led to some delays in processing applications. The current level of demand is due to our economic success, growing labour market and reduced labour surplus.

In order to reduce processing times, the Employment Permits section has introduced a number of operational changes, streamlined processes and implemented ICT solutions. Additional staffing resources have also been assigned to the section and a fast track training programme has been devised.

An independent Business Process Review (BPR) is currently being carried out to identify further efficiencies that can be implemented in the short term and as a first step in the development of a new IT processing system during 2020 which will take advantage of all the new technologies available, including full digitisation. The Review, which included engagement from key stakeholders, is close to completion with the report expected before the end of the year.

Employment Permits Section is working to further reduce the current waiting times of approximately:

- 3 weeks for Trusted Partners, which account for 76% of permits issued this year (down from a peak of 7 weeks). Trusted Partners are regular users of the service.

- 10 weeks for standard applications, which account for 24% of permits issued this year (down from a peak of 16 weeks).

At end November 2019, 17,216 applications have been received, an 11% increase on the same time last year. At the same time there has been a 24% increase in the amount of applications processed (17,535) compared to the same period last year. In July 2019, Employment Permits Section processed more employment permit applications (1,828) than during any month in the past 11 years. Quarter 3 of 2019 was the busiest Quarter in the last 11 years with 5,072 permit applications being processed so the changes currently being implemented within Employment Permits are resulting in higher outputs and reduced processing times.

Applicants are advised to apply for the employment permit at least 12 weeks in advance of the expected start date so that any impact of the current extended processing timelines on recruitment timeframes is minimised.

Departmental Staff

Ceisteanna (317)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

317. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if her Department and agencies under her remit will take a leading role in terms of promoting a better work-life balance for employees; the way in which remote working can assist with this objective; if consideration will be given to introducing guidelines regarding the right to disconnect as has happened in France; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50421/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

My Department and I understand the importance of promoting a good work-life balance for employees. As the nature of work and society changes, the way we organise work must also change. This is recognised under Pillar 4 of Future Jobs Ireland, which outlines a number of key ambitions and deliverables to help to increase participation in the labour force. A number of these ambitions are centred on flexible working solutions which can offer benefits for employers, employees and wider society in general.

Flexible working encompasses a wide range of practices including part-time, compressed hours, job sharing, home-working and remote working. Flexible working solutions allow for tangible benefits for employees including improving their work-life balance. It also provides solutions for those who would otherwise take unpaid parental leave but cannot afford to do so.

Ambition 4.2 of Future Jobs Ireland places focus on fostering participation in the labour force through flexible working solutions. This Ambition includes deliverables such as the development of guidance for employers on family-friendly working options, the extension of unpaid Parental Leave, and a consultation on work-life balance which the Department of Justice and Equality will be launching shortly, to identify further areas of consideration for flexible working.

My Department is currently leading on research on remote working under Ambition 4.2(I). The objective of this research is to understand the prevalence and types of remote working arrangements within the Irish workforce and the attitudes towards such arrangements. The research will also identify the influencing factors for both employers and employees partaking in remote working.

This report will include the outcomes from desk research, quantitative research and engagement with key stakeholders, including employer representative bodies and remote working interest groups. This report will also include an international policy review which will consider relevant policies abroad, such as the right to disconnect in France. To assist with this work, an Interdepartmental Steering Group has been formed with representatives from my Department, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, the Department of Rural and Community Development, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of An Taoiseach.

As part of the consultation process, my Department held a Remote Working Consultation Forum on 18th July of this year in Cavan Digital Hub to gain key insights into the remote working landscape in Ireland. This Forum was attended by a wide range of key stakeholders across Government Departments, State Agencies, enterprise and the remote work community.

Furthermore, a national Remote Work in Ireland Employee Survey was undertaken by my Department in October to derive further insights into the prevalence and types of remote working employees are engaging in across regions and sectors.

The final report will outline the relevant key implications for remote working in Ireland. It is due to be completed in Q4 of this year and will be published shortly thereafter. Based on the report’s findings, consideration will be given as to the appropriate next steps to be taken by Government on this matter.

Home Help Service Eligibility

Ceisteanna (318)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

318. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Health his views on whether it is acceptable that a person (details supplied) is prevented from availing of 7.5 approved hours of home help per week despite the identification of a carer available and willing to do the hours due to the June 2019 instruction to the support team that the home help cannot commence unless it is end of life situation; the reason for the instruction; if it will be lifted immediately; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49688/19]

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.

Home Help Service Eligibility

Ceisteanna (319, 340)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

319. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Health the reason for a June 2019 instruction to the home support team in County Meath that no home helps can be agreed unless it is an end of life circumstance; the position regarding the 402 persons on the County Meath waiting list that have been fully assessed and have had their hours approved but that are not end of life; when this instruction will be lifted in view of the fact that it has removed all flexibility from the approvals system and is increasing the waiting list on a daily basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49693/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

340. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Health the reason an instruction issued in June 2019 to the home support team in County Meath that no home helps can be agreed unless it is an end of life circumstance; the position regarding the 450 persons on the waiting list in the county that have been fully assessed and have had their hours approved but that are not end of life cases; when the instruction will be lifted in view of the fact it has removed flexibility from the approvals system and is increasing the waiting list on a daily basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49789/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 319 and 340 together.

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

Home Help Service Eligibility

Ceisteanna (320)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

320. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Health his views on whether it is acceptable that a person (details supplied) is prevented from availing of 7.5 approved hours of home help per week despite the identification of a carer available and willing to do the hours due to the June 2019 instruction to the support team that the home help cannot commence unless it is end of life situation; the reason for the instruction; if it will be lifted immediately; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49694/19]

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.

Services for People with Disabilities

Ceisteanna (321)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

321. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health if funding will be secured to enable the work of the national platform of self-advocates to continue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49695/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The National Platform of Self-Advocates is an advocacy service for people with intellectual disabilities which was established and is run by people with intellectual disabilities.

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. The Department of Health does not fund organisations directly while the HSE can only fund organisations for the purpose of providing health services on its behalf.

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

Hospital Charges

Ceisteanna (322)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

322. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health the reason the level of reimbursement for a person (details supplied) is only €3,426 when the surgery costs £5,665 under the cross border directive; his plans to increase the level of reimbursement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49696/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Emergency Departments Data

Ceisteanna (323)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

323. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Health the number of persons that presented at hospitals and emergency departments recorded as incidents of self harm and-or attempted suicide in each of the years 2008 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and the number of same that registered as having no fixed abode or classified as homeless. [49698/19]

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

Ceisteanna (324)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

324. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if there are funding mechanisms available to a person (details supplied) for braces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49699/19]

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.

Emergency Departments

Ceisteanna (325)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

325. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Health the status of the independent review taking place on the emergency department in University Hospital Limerick; and the timeline for the completion of the review. [49702/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Health Service Executive (HSE) initiated an After-Action Review (AAR) of the Winter Planning Process in 2018/2019 with a view to identifying the specific factors that contributed to performance over the winter period.

The group has carried out a comparative analysis of unscheduled care performance across the nine hospital sites and the relevant Community Healthcare Organisations that were the subject of specific focused support through Winter 2018/2019. This included University Hospital Limerick as one of the nine focus sites.

The independent expert group includes external clinical and management expertise from NHS Scotland, and domain knowledge and data analysis and expertise from the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland. The HSE provided facilitation and support to the review team.

The HSE advised that all data collection and analysis has been completed and that sites visits at the nine hospital sites, including University Hospital Limerick have been carried out.

My Department has been advised that the report is due to be completed in early 2020.

Physiotherapy Provision

Ceisteanna (326)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

326. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the recommended number of physiotherapy sessions for a patient with spina bifida; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49713/19]

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 (327)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

327. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if the case of a person (details supplied) will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49728/19]

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.

Healthcare Infrastructure Provision

Ceisteanna (328)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

328. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health the status of progress on the endoscopy unit at Naas General Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49729/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Proposed Legislation

Ceisteanna (329)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

329. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Health his views on whether the wording of the proposed Treatment of Cancer (Advertisements) Bill 2018 will have unforeseen and unintended consequences for the access to information by persons in relation to health resulting in potential access to complementary and alternative medicine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49732/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Bill referred to is a Private Members Bill by Deputy Kate O'Connell. When passing the Bill through second Stage, I confirmed my Department would work with Deputy O'Connell on the areas that require further examination.

The intention of the Bill is about safeguarding our citizens and making sure they have accurate information regarding medical and scientific advice on how to cure and treat cancer. Its aim is to ensure no false linkages are made between accessing various therapies and a claim that something is a treatment for cancer.

Under the National Cancer Strategy 2017-26, the primary aim for all cancer services is to provide evidence-based care that is effective, safe, of high quality, patient-centred and fully supported by national standards and clinical guidelines.

Nursing Home Services

Ceisteanna (330)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

330. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health the public nursing homes in south central areas of Dublin city. [49734/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

All nursing home, both public and private, are registered with the Health Informationa and Quality Authority (HIQA). Details are available on the HIQA website www.hiqa.ie.

HSE Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (331)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

331. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health when the HSE will approve the advertising of a position (details supplied); the reason for the delay in advertising this post; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49742/19]

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.

Health Services

Ceisteanna (332)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

332. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if he will address the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49743/19]

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.

Pension Provisions

Ceisteanna (333)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

333. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) is due a pension increase; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49759/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I have requested the HSE to respond directly to you on this matter.

Medical Card Eligibility

Ceisteanna (334)

James Browne

Ceist:

334. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health if he is satisfied with the methodology employed by the medical card applications client registration unit in the HSE; if he is satisfied that the use of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection record of current employment by the HSE does not unfairly impinge on medical card applicants; if his attention has been drawn to incidences in which evidence of previous taxes in respect of previous employment as noted on the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection records has not been viewed as sufficient information provided in view of the fact there is no payslip or P45 dated within the past three months (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49762/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

In accordance with the Health Act 1970 (as amended), eligibility for a medical card or a GP visit card is determined by the HSE. The Act obliges the HSE to assess whether a person is unable, without due hardship, to arrange general practitioner services for himself or herself and his or her family, having regard to his or her overall financial position and reasonable expenditure.

In that regard, I have asked to HSE to reply directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Addiction Treatment Services

Ceisteanna (335)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

335. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health the procedure by which community based addiction organisations can apply to be recognised as a section 39 body; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49763/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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