Questions Nos. 229 to 235, inclusive, answered with Question No. 219.

Mental Health Services Provision

Questions Nos. 237 and 238 answered with Question No. 219.

Ceisteanna (236)

John Curran

Ceist:

236. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health the specific actions taken to date in 2019 to improve outcomes for persons with co-morbid severe mental illness and substance misuse problems. [52341/19]

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.

Questions Nos. 237 and 238 answered with Question No. 219.

Disease Management

Questions Nos. 240 to 242, inclusive, answered with Question No. 219.

Ceisteanna (239)

John Curran

Ceist:

239. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health if the uptake of hepatitis C treatment has been increased to date in 2019. [52344/19]

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.

Questions Nos. 240 to 242, inclusive, answered with Question No. 219.

Drug Treatment Programmes Data

Ceisteanna (243)

John Curran

Ceist:

243. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health the number of persons outside prisons in receipt of opioid substitution treatment to date in 2019. [52348/19]

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.

Drug Treatment Programmes Data

Ceisteanna (244)

John Curran

Ceist:

244. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health the number of service users admitted to homeless emergency accommodation hostels and facilities to date in 2019 whose health needs were assessed within two weeks of admission. [52349/19]

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.

Drug Treatment Programmes Data

Ceisteanna (245)

John Curran

Ceist:

245. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health the number of persons that attended pharmacy needle exchanges to date in 2019. [52350/19]

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.

Community Pharmacy Services

Ceisteanna (246)

Mick Barry

Ceist:

246. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Health if he will consider a moratorium on the changes to the fees paid to pharmacies due to be implemented on 1 January 2020; if he will negotiate with pharmacists with a view of reversing the cuts made to the fees received; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52352/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar 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.

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 1st January 2020 to maintain a statutory basis for contractor payments and to prescribe the fees payable from that date.

In keeping with my obligations under Section 43 of the 2017 Act, my officials have undertaken a process of consultation with the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), as the representative body for the profession. My officials have met with an IPU delegation on two occasions where proposed fee restructuring was discussed. A detailed submission was received from the IPU. This consultation process has now concluded.

I met with the IPU on the 5th December, where I reiterated my intention to move beyond the arrangements underpinned by the FEMPI regulations and to commence a comprehensive review of the pharmacy contract. In this context I also communicated my intention to maintain the current fee structure from 1 January 2020.

The comprehensive review of the pharmacy contract in 2020 will address the role to be played by community pharmacy in the context of Sláintecare. It will consider all aspects of pharmacy service provision including delivery of a multi-disciplinary model of service delivery for patients, ensuring clarity of roles and achieving optimum value for money.

However, any publicly funded pharmacy service expansion should address unmet public healthcare needs, improve access to existing public health services or provide better value for money or patient outcomes. Accordingly, any measures to be considered must be evidence based.

New secondary legislation is currently being drafted in order to give effect to the prescribed fee structure, as required under the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017.

National Children's Hospital

Ceisteanna (247)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

247. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the reason the new national children's hospital has chosen to install a system (details supplied); if his attention has been drawn to plans to make an existing database of facial images available for matching purposes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52355/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The safety of patients, visitors and staff at the new children’s hospital is of paramount importance to everyone working on the new children’s hospital project.

Stanley Security Systems, who have been working in this area for more than 25 years, were successful in the competitive procurement process for the installation of the security systems at the new children’s hospital.

There continues to be significant technological developments and innovation in the area of security systems and, as would be expected, the procurement process undertaken sought to ensure that the equipment procured is fully future proofed.

Less than 3% of the cameras procured for the new children’s hospital have the potential for high definition facial recognition capabilities. These cameras have many capabilities, and can also be used in the same way as remaining 97% of the cameras, which do not have facial recognition capabilities.

It has not yet been decided which aspect of the security systems’ capabilities will be used. This decision will be taken nearer the opening of the hospital by Children’s Health Ireland and will be fully in line with Irish and European data protection and privacy legislation and guidelines, to ensure that the occupants of the hospital have the appropriate protections and security afforded to them, in line with their privacy rights.

Prescriptions Charges

Ceisteanna (248)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

248. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health the details of increased pharmacy charges for blister packs used by elderly and unwell persons nationwide; his plans to ensure that unfair increases are overturned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52356/19]

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.