Orthodontic Services Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (287)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

287. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health the number of children and adolescents in Cork city and county on a waiting list for orthodontic assessment and treatment, respectively; the length of time they have been waiting; the number of consultants providing such services in the location; the vacancies in this regard; the steps being taken to reduce the waiting lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53544/19]

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.

Medical Aids and Appliances Applications Data

Ceisteanna (288)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

288. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health the number of children in the CHO4 area awaiting an appliance in six-monthly wait intervals; the number waiting more than 12 months; the breakdown of the different types of appliances including, for example, a specialised wheelchair, hoist, shower chair and orthotics; the estimated funding needed to clear the waiting list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53546/19]

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.

Home Help Service Eligibility

Ceisteanna (289)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

289. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health if home help will be expedited for a person (details supplied); if the case will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53547/19]

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.

Motorised Transport Grant

Ceisteanna (290)

Seamus Healy

Ceist:

290. Deputy Seamus Healy asked the Minister for Health the status of the reintroduction of the motorised transport grant and mobility allowance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53555/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Deputy will be familiar with the background to the closure of both the Mobility Allowance and the Motorised Transport Grant Schemes in 2013.

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 Cabinet consideration, the Memorandum was withdrawn 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 Support Payment Scheme.

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.

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.  

The Deputy might be interested to know that the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty T.D., has commissioned research into the cost of disability.  The cost of disability can be defined as the amount it costs a person with a disability to achieve the same standard of living as those persons without a disability.  This includes extra living costs such as heating; disability aids and equipment; medical and drug costs; care costs and transport costs.  Following a procurement process, Indecon International Consultants have been commissioned by that Department to carry out this research.  It is hoped that the research, when complete, will inform policy direction in relation to the provision of adequate supports to meet the needs of people with disabilities, from a whole-of-Government perspective. 

There are improvements in access to a range of transport supports 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. 

Physiotherapy Provision

Ceisteanna (291)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

291. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Health the number of persons in each local health area on a waiting list for physiotherapy; the number waiting less than three, three to six, six to 12 and more than 12 months and by age category; and the equivalent figures for the same period in 2018 [53558/19]

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.

National Treatment Purchase Fund Data

Ceisteanna (292, 293, 294)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

292. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Health the number of persons that received treatment under the national treatment purchase fund in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; the category of procedures; the number of persons treated under each category of procedure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53563/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

293. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Health the number and cost of operations and procedures carried out under the national treatment purchase fund in each of the past three years by specialty; the estimated cost of such operations or treatments had such been carried out in a HSE hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53564/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

294. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Health the number of persons in County Galway who had orthopaedic treatment or operations carried out under the national treatment purchase fund in each of the past five years [53565/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 292 to 294, inclusive, together.

The information requested by the Deputy is currently being collated by officials in my Department and will be provided to the Deputy directly as soon as it becomes available.

Hospital Facilities

Ceisteanna (295)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

295. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Health the position regarding orthopaedic treatment at Merlin Park University Hospital; the progress of plans for new operating theatre facilities; when the backlog of persons waiting for orthopaedic treatment at the hospital will be cleared; the steps being taken to tackle the waiting list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53566/19]

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 Beds Data

Ceisteanna (296)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

296. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the number of the 190 new beds he announced recently which will go to Naas General Hospital; when the new beds will be introduced into hospitals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53580/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) has agreed, at my request, to support the marginal costs of funding additional beds for three months to the end of March 2020. This initiative will support the commitment by the HSE and my Department to alleviate winter pressures in our hospital system. Hospitals have been invited to make submissions to the NTPF to utilise this funding. To date, the NTPF has approved in principle, subject to appropriate governance and oversight, 172 additional beds. These beds will be funded from the NTPF budget at a cost of approximately €4.6 million. This will include 25 additional beds in Peamount Hospital to facilitate egress from Naas Hospital, St. James' Hospital and Tallaght University Hospital.

Furthermore, the NTPF is currently assessing further proposals which are still being received. Given the challenges facing the Emergency Departments, with the exceptionally high use of trolleys for patients, I would urge all hospital groups and individual hospitals, which have not already done so, to engage with the NTPF to identify proposals to provide additional bed capacity for the winter period. 

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (297)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

297. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the status of a procedure for a person (details supplied) [53583/19]

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.

General Practitioner Services Provision

Ceisteanna (298, 299, 300, 301)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

298. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the shortage of general practitioners in Monasterevin, County Kildare; his plans to encourage general practitioners to set up in rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53584/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

299. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the shortage of general practitioners in Kildare town; his plans to encourage general practitioners to set up in rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53585/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

300. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the shortage of general practitioners in Athy, County Kildare; his plans to encourage general practitioners to set up in rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53586/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

301. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the shortage of general practitioners in Newbridge, County Kildare; his plans to encourage general practitioners to set up in rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53587/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 298, 299, 300 and 301 together.

The Government is aware of the workforce issues facing general practice, including those affecting rural areas, and has implemented a range of measures in recent years to improve recruitment and retention in general practice.

These include changes to the entry provisions to the GMS scheme to accommodate more flexible/shared GMS GP contracts, and to the retirement provisions for GPs under the GMS scheme, allowing GPs to hold GMS contracts until their 72nd birthday. Enhanced supports for rural GP practices have also been introduced.

The recent Agreement on GP contractual reforms will see an increase in expenditure on GP services of €210 million annually by 2023, providing significant increases in capitation fees for participating GPs, and increases in supports for rural practices and practices in urban areas of deprivation.

Improved family friendly arrangements are an important feature of the revised contractual arrangements, with an increase in the locum rate for maternity and paternity cover, and an increase in the paternity leave allowance from 3 days to 2 weeks. This is in recognition of the need to ensure that general practice is compatible with doctors’ family commitments.

In addition, the number of medical graduates undertaking GP training has increased from 120 in 2009 to 192 filled places in 2019, with a further increase expected next year. In a recent press release, the Irish College of General Practitioners stated it had received the highest ever number of applications for its 2020 GP training programme.

Currently there are almost 2,500 GPs contracted to provide services under the GMS Scheme and as at 1 December, 25 panels, or approximately 1%, are vacant. There are no GMS GP vacancies in Newbridge, Athy, Monasterevin, or Kildare town.

Services for People with Disabilities

Ceisteanna (302)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

302. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if sufficient school services have been put in place for a person (details supplied) [53589/19]

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.

National Treatment Purchase Fund Eligibility

Ceisteanna (303)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

303. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if an appointment will be scheduled for a person (details supplied) through the national treatment purchase fund. [53592/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The NTPF works with public hospitals, as opposed to with patients directly, to offer and provide the funding for treatment to clinically suitable long waiting patients who are on an inpatient/day case waiting list for surgery, having been referred on to such a list following clinical assessment by a consultant/specialist at an outpatient clinic.

The key criteria of the NTPF is the prioritisation of the longest waiting patients first. While the NTPF identifies patients eligible for NTPF treatment, it is solely on the basis of their time spent on the Inpatient/Daycase Waiting List. The clinical suitability of the patient to avail of NTPF funded treatment is determined by the public hospital.

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.

Ambulance Service

Ceisteanna (304)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

304. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the status of the investigation into the circumstances of an ambulance service call-out in the case of a person (details supplied) [53601/19]

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. 

Air Quality

Ceisteanna (305, 306, 307)

Pat Deering

Ceist:

305. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health if he has commissioned a study or research into the number of persons negatively impacted by NOx emissions from diesel vehicles since 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53614/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pat Deering

Ceist:

306. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health the cost to the public health system as a result of health-related cases linked to NOx emissions from diesel vehicles since 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53615/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pat Deering

Ceist:

307. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health the impact of diesel NOx emissions on the public health system in terms of chronic breathing problems and related illnesses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53616/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 305 to 307, inclusive, together.

Policy responsibility for air quality, which would include emissions from cars, is a matter for the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

I have not commissioned any study or research into the number of persons negatively impacted by NOx emissions from diesel vehicles nor does my Department hold information regarding the cost to the public health system of health-related cases linked to NOx emissions.