HSE Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (336)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

336. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the number of children waiting for an eye test in primary care in CHO7 by county in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49769/19]

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.

Dental Services Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (337)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

337. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the number of children waiting for dental treatment in primary care in CHO7 by county in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49770/19]

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.

HSE Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (338)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

338. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the number of children waiting for a hearing test in primary care in CHO7 by county in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49772/19]

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.

HSE Investigations

Question No. 340 answered with Question No. 319.

Ceisteanna (339)

James Browne

Ceist:

339. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the status of an investigation into the way in which sensitive files at a location (details supplied) were found; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49783/19]

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. 340 answered with Question No. 319.

Hospital Waiting Lists Data

Ceisteanna (341)

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

341. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Health the number of cardiology patients and the length of time they are on the waiting list at University Hospital Kerry in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49795/19]

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 National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures show that there are 945 patients on the cardiology Outpatient waiting list in University Hospital Kerry. Of these, 51% (486) are waiting 12 months or less. There are no patients waiting for an Inpatient/Daycase cardiology procedure.

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.

Please see the attached document for the requested information.

Cardiology

Pharmacy Services

Ceisteanna (342)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

342. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health the reason further cuts are being imposed on the fees paid to pharmacists; if he will review the proposal;; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49796/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Minster for Health I recognise the significant role community pharmacists play in the delivery of patient care and the potential for this role to be developed further in the context of health service reform and modernisation. Community pharmacy is recognised as the most accessible element of our health service with an unequalled reach in terms of patient contact and access, regardless of their geographic location or status as either an independent retailer or as part of a larger chain of providers.

The regulations governing the current pharmacy fee structure were made under section 9 of the FEMPI Act 2009 and are set to expire at the end of 2019. Under the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017, these regulations must be replaced on 1 January 2020 to maintain a statutory basis for contractor payments and to prescribe the fees payable from that date. The fees to be set are determined by the Minister for Health, with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

In keeping with my obligations under Section 43 of the 2017 Act, Department of Health officials have begun a process of consultation with the IPU, as the representative body, prior to the introduction of new fee regulations. My officials have met with an IPU delegation on two occasions and a detailed submission was received from the IPU on 8 November.

That submission is currently being considered by my Department in the context of the statutory fee-setting process as referred to.

In May of this year I addressed the Irish Pharmaceutical Union at the National Pharmacy Conference and gave a commitment to move beyond the arrangements underpinned by the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009 (FEMPI) with a view to optimising the role of pharmacists in the years ahead. It is my intention to open contract discussions in 2020 which will assist to deliver on the commitment given.

Community Pharmacy Services

Ceisteanna (343)

Noel Rock

Ceist:

343. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Health when he plans to commence negotiations with pharmacy contractors regarding the unwinding of FEMPI for community pharmacists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49797/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Minster for Health I recognise the significant role community pharmacists play in the delivery of patient care and the potential for this role to be developed further in the context of health service reform and modernisation. Community pharmacy is recognised as the most accessible element of our health service with an unequalled reach in terms of patient contact and access, regardless of their geographic location or status as either an independent retailer or as part of a larger chain of providers.

The regulations governing the current pharmacy fee structure were made under section 9 of the FEMPI Act 2009 and are set to expire at the end of 2019. Under the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017, these regulations must be replaced on 1 January 2020 to maintain a statutory basis for contractor payments and to prescribe the fees payable from that date. The fees to be set are determined by the Minister for Health, with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

In keeping with my obligations under Section 43 of the 2017 Act, Department of Health officials have begun a process of consultation with the IPU, as the representative body, prior to the introduction of new fee regulations. My officials have met with an IPU delegation on two occasions and a detailed submission was received from the IPU on 8 November.

That submission is currently being considered by my Department in the context of the statutory fee-setting process as referred to.

In May of this year I addressed the Irish Pharmaceutical Union at the National Pharmacy Conference and gave a commitment to move beyond the arrangements underpinned by the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009 (FEMPI) with a view to optimising the role of pharmacists in the years ahead. It is my intention to open contract discussions in 2020 which will assist to deliver on the commitment given.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (344)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

344. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of an appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49804/19]

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.

Pension Provisions

Ceisteanna (345)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

345. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) in County Cork is entitled to a public service pension in respect of their employment with a former health board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49811/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Cannabis for Medicinal Use

Ceisteanna (346)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

346. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the details of the medical cannabis access programme that he has recently signed into operation on a pilot basis for a period of five years; if the programme will be rolled out nationwide; the access procedure once availability is in place; when supply arrangements will be operable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49819/19]

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 by patients under the Medical Cannabis Access Programme.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority has considered the information provided by applicants to supply cannabis-based products under the MCAP and products from two companies, Aurora Cannabis Enterprises Inc., and MGC Pharmaceuticals, have been recommended as being suitable for use under the MCAP on the basis that they meet the criteria in parts (a) – (f) of the definition of a ‘specified controlled drug’ as set out in the Misuse of Drugs (Prescription and Control of Supply of Cannabis for Medical Use) Regulations 2019 and which are in line with the clinical guidance for the scheme.

The two products are Aurora High CBD Oil Drops and CannEpil.

On 22 November, amending legislation was signed by the Minister for Health to reflect the addition of these products to Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs (Prescription and Control of Supply of Cannabis for Medical Use) Regulations 2019.

www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2019/si/583/made/en/pdf.

These products are subject to international controlled drug export licensing requirements. Such requirements are outside the Department's control and therefore products may not become available in Ireland for a further period.

Tobacco Control Measures

Ceisteanna (347)

Pat Deering

Ceist:

347. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health if he has examined the experience of certain US states in which they have increased the age that a person can buy tobacco from 18 to 21 years of age; and if such a move is permissible here. [49826/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of ill health and death, with more than 5,900 people estimated to die from smoking in Ireland each year. I welcome the recently published data from the Healthy Ireland Survey 2019 which showed that the prevalence of smoking has dropped from 23% in 2015 to 17% in 2019, which means there are now an estimated 165,000 fewer smokers here than there were five years ago.

The current priority tobacco control legislation project is the drafting of a Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill which will:

- prohibit the sale of tobacco products at locations and events intended for children

- prohibit the sale of tobacco products by persons under 18 years (the sale of tobacco to persons under 18 is already prohibited)

- prohibit the sale of nicotine inhaling products by and to persons under 18 years

- introduce a licensing system for the retail sale of tobacco and nicotine inhaling products. A separate licence for each premises will be required and an annual fee will apply.

- prohibit the sale of tobacco products from self-service vending machines and temporary or mobile units.

My Department is aware of the steps taken by some US States and continues to keep all such measures under consideration.

Home Help Service Provision

Ceisteanna (348)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

348. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health when extra home help hours will be provided to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49831/19]

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.

Hospital Groups

Ceisteanna (349)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

349. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health when a tender to supply products to a hospital (details supplied) in County Kerry will be up for renewal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49832/19]

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 Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (350)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

350. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of an appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49835/19]

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.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Ceisteanna (351)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

351. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health if he will seek a review of the decision not to include a person (details supplied) in the reimbursement of costs of the drug Ocrevus who are suffering from the primary progressive multiple sclerosis; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that only relapsing or remitting patients were approved for reimbursement costs; and if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that the drug costs €7,000 per dose. [49841/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this refers to an individual case, I have referred this matter to the HSE for their attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Treatment Benefit Scheme Administration

Ceisteanna (352)

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

352. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49849/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE currently operates two schemes that facilitate patients accessing treatment abroad.

The Treatment Abroad Scheme (TAS) allows public patients to be referred to another EU/EEA country for treatment, in their public healthcare system, that is not available in Ireland, subject to qualifying criteria. A patient's Irish based consultant is responsible for referring the patient abroad under the terms of the TAS, after having exhausted all treatment options including tertiary care within Ireland. The treatment must be among the benefits provided for by Irish legislation. Also, the treatment must be a proven form of medical treatment and not experimental or trial treatment. The HSE provides information for patients on the TAS on its website.

An alternative where the treatment is available in Ireland is the Cross Border Directive (CBD), which the HSE operates in Ireland. Under the terms of the CBD, patients in Ireland can seek to be referred to another EU/EEA country for medical treatment that is available in the public health service in Ireland. The patient may access the overseas service in either the public or private health sector of the country they choose to receive the service in. The patient pays for the treatment and claims reimbursement from the HSE at the cost of that treatment in Ireland or the cost of it abroad, whichever is the lesser. The HSE through the National Contact Point (NCP) provides information for patients on the operation of the CBD.

The Deputy should advise the patient's family to contact the HSE TAS/NCP offices for advice on making an application for treatment abroad under the most appropriate scheme, in advance of travelling abroad. The TAS office may be contacted in writing at the TAS Office, St. Canice’s Hospital Complex, Dublin Road, Kilkenny or by email treatmentabroad.scheme@hse.ie. Dedicated phone numbers for each county are available on the TAS website. The CBD National Contact Point may be contacted in writing at HSE Cross Border Directive, St Canice's Hospital, Dublin Road, Kilkenny or by email: crossborderdirective@hse.ie or by telephone 056 778 4546. Information is also available on the HSE's TAS and CBD websites.

Cancer Screening Programmes

Ceisteanna (353)

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

353. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Health the accuracy of the national bowel screening programme; if his attention has been drawn to failings in the system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49858/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

HSE Reviews

Ceisteanna (354)

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

354. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Health the number of patients who were affected by the scan scandal in University Hospital Kerry who have passed away to date; and when he will meet with the bereaved families that wish to meet with him as committed to on numerous occasions. [49859/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

My Department and I have sought to be kept regularly informed regarding the Radiological Look-back Review which took place at University Hospital Kerry in 2017 and 2018. The report of this review was completed and published in December 2018.

My Department has been assured by the HSE and the South/South West Hospital Group that implementation of the report's recommendations is underway and that they are receiving the priority they require.

I wish to once again express heartfelt sympathies to the patients and their families. My absolute priority remains ensuring their confidentiality is respected. On an ongoing basis, my officials have been assured by the South/South West Hospital Group that all affected patients have received or are receiving the care they need. I accept that this has been distressing time for those involved.

I have made commitments to travel to visit health services in the Kerry area and plan to do so in the near future. Planning for my visit is underway.

In relation to the patient cases covered by the review, I have referred the Deputy's question to the HSE for direct reply.

Counselling Services Provision

Ceisteanna (355)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

355. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health his plans to continue to fund the low-cost counselling service at a facility (details supplied): if a grant of €9,280 for 2019 will be approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49865/19]

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.