Organ Transplant Services

Ceisteanna (951)

Darren O'Rourke

Ceist:

951. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Health the number of heart transplants that were carried out in the Mater Hospital in 2019 and to date in 2020, in tabular form. [27137/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I have asked the HSE to respond to the deputy directly.

Disabilities Assessments

Ceisteanna (952)

Thomas Gould

Ceist:

952. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Health if consideration will be given to an assessment of needs on compassionate grounds for a child (details supplied). [27147/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Programme for Government, Our Shared Future,  recognises the need to improve services for both children and adults with disabilities through better implementation and by working together across Government in a better way. 

The  Government commits to prioritising early diagnosis and access to services for children and ensuring that the most effective interventions are provided for each child, to guarantee the best outcomes.

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

Covid-19 Pandemic

Ceisteanna (953)

Steven Matthews

Ceist:

953. Deputy Steven Matthews asked the Minister for Health if the restrictions will be reviewed and amended with regard to chosen partners being allowed accompany and offer support to women in labour in maternity hospitals (details supplied). [27157/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I acknowledge that the current restrictions in maternity hospitals are presenting difficulties and this is hugely regrettable.  However, it is necessary to reduce footfall in order to protect women, babies, staff and our maternity service as a whole. 

Maternity hospitals have performed well during the pandemic and have continued to keep women, babies and staff safe.  The fact that there have been no Covid maternal deaths in this country, and that we have a had a low incidence in pregnant women, suggests that the current approach is working.

However, we must remain vigilant as services resume and higher numbers of people attend hospitals. Maternity hospitals rely on very specialised personnel; should an outbreak of COVID-19 occur in a maternity hospital, the ability to provide safe, quality care would be severely impacted.  It should be remembered that maternity hospitals care for fragile infants at the extremes of prematurity.

All maternity hospitals are challenged by the pandemic, but those challenges vary considerably.  Decisions on any restrictions are therefore made, implemented and reviewed at hospital level.

Decisions to restrict visitors in our maternity hospitals have not been taken lightly.  Management and staff are acutely aware of the very important support provided by partners at the time of birth.  I have been assured that maternity hospitals wish to facilitate this support as far as possible.   In that context, I can assure the Deputy that any restrictions currently in place have been minimised as much as possible and will be subject to ongoing review. 

I note that restrictions have eased somewhat in certain hospitals in recent weeks and I hope this will continue.  However, the recent rise in the numbers of people infected with the virus, including healthcare workers, is very worrying and may impact on the pace of the easing of restrictions.

The Deputy may wish to note that the National Women & Infants Health Programme has developed a guidance document on restrictions in maternity hospitals/units and this issued to all maternity services last week. The paper seeks to ensure a consistent national approach to visitor restrictions, as far as is practicable and having due regard to local circumstances.   Each maternity service/network has been requested to review visiting arrangements on a weekly basis, in the context of the issues and factors identified in the paper.

Hospital Appointments Status

Question No. 955 answered with Question No. 762.

Ceisteanna (954)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

954. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if an appointment will be expedited for a person (details supplied); the status of the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27165/20]

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, as soon as possible.

Question No. 955 answered with Question No. 762.

Medical Cards

Ceisteanna (956)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

956. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 216 of 10 September 2020, when the relevant section will be commenced of the Health (General Practitioner Service and Alteration of Criteria for Eligibility) Bill 2020 (details supplied); if decisions on the associated funding for the measure have been finalised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27168/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Health (General Practitioner Service and Alteration of Criteria for Eligibility) Bill 2020, enacted on 2nd August 2020, provided for an increase to the gross medical card income limits for those aged 70 and over to €550 per week for a single person and to €1,050 per week for a couple.

Although it had been originally intended that this measure would be implemented from July this year, it was not possible to legislate for the necessary amendments to the 1970 Health Act to provide for this measure until there was a fully constituted Dáil and Seanad.

While the relevant section providing for the increased limits has not yet been commenced, decisions on the associated funding requirements and potential implementation date are being actively considered.

Hospital Services

Ceisteanna (957, 958)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

957. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health if the complete full removal of vaginal mesh is carried out in Ireland; and if so, the number of such procedures carried successfully in 2020. [27170/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

958. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health the number of qualified consultants and surgeons here with the competency to remove vaginal mesh; and the hospitals they are attached to. [27171/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 957 and 958 together.

PQs 27170/20  and 27171/20  relate to operational matters and have been referred to the HSE for direct reply. 

Hospital Services

Ceisteanna (959)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

959. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health if the translavial scanner is in place and fully operational; if so, if all staff are now fully trained in its use; the number of patients that have been seen in order to obtain their scan; if there is a waiting list; and if so, the length of the waiting. [27172/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service issue, I have asked the Health Service Executive to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Treatment Abroad Scheme

Ceisteanna (960)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

960. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health if the treatment abroad scheme has been withdrawn to women that have transvaginal mesh; and if so, when the scheme was withdrawn; and the reason therefor. [27173/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I am aware that in response to concerns raised in Ireland regarding complications associated with the use of mesh devices in late 2017, the then Minister for Health requested the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) to prepare a report on the matter. The report was informed by the available national and international evidence and the personal experiences of women who have suffered complications following mesh surgery. 

In July 2018, in advance of publication of the full report, the CMO requested the HSE to pause all mesh procedures where clinically safe to do so. This pause was instigated pending implementation of initial recommendations regarding (i) professional training requirements, (ii) patient information and consent and (iii) the development and maintenance of a national data set for all mesh procedures carried out in HSE funded hospitals. 

The CMO report was published in November 2018. Four of the 19 recommendations relate to data gathering to support the development of information resources to permit long-term research and audit of practice, ensuring the reporting of mesh related complications, and ensuring timely, appropriate arrangements for the management of women with complications.

The HSE published a detailed Implementation Plan for the recommendations in the report in April 2019.  The National Women and Infants Health Programme is leading on this work.

The pathways for women experiencing mesh complications, established by the HSE, have been in place for over a year.  All appointments offered to women through these pathways have been to the public system.  I would strongly encourage all women affected by mesh to engage with the relevant HSE contact points provided, to ensure that their service needs can be identified and provided for.

 The Treatment Abroad Scheme (TAS) is not available for patients wishing to have mesh related surgery for Stress Urinary Incontinence(SUI) or Pelvic Organ Prolapse(POP) as there is currently a pause on mesh surgeries for these specific ailments.  The TAS scheme is not available for mesh removal, full or partial, as the treatment is available publicly in Irish hospitals.  

I wish to advise that Translabial Scanning has been made available on an interim basis under the TAS until the two scanners which have been purchased by the HSE are operational in the two Mesh Complications Centres.  As Translabial scanning is a diagnostic tool and not a "treatment" it does not normally qualify for this scheme. However, having listened to the requests from women for this specific type of scanning to be made available this interim measure was taken.

Hospital Services

Ceisteanna (961)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

961. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will be given a date for a hip replacement operation at the Adelaide and Meath hospitals. [27175/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

It is recognised that waiting times for scheduled appointments and procedures have been impacted as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic the HSE had to take measures to defer most scheduled care activity in March, April, and May of this year. This was to ensure patient safety and that all appropriate resources were made available for Covid-19 related activity and time-critical essential work. This decision was in line with the advice issued by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) in accordance with the advice of the World Health Organisation.

The resumption of services from June onwards has allowed for increased activity, with the HSE utilising innovative methods including telemedicine to facilitate patient appointments. Patient safety remains at the forefront of service resumption. To ensure services are re-introduced in a safe, clinically-aligned and prioritised way, hospitals are following HSE clinical guidelines and protocols which has resulted in reduced capacity and activity

The HSE continues to optimise productivity through alternative work practices such the use of alternative settings including private hospitals, community facilities and alternative outpatient settings.

The National Treatment Purchase Fund has also recommenced arranging treatment in both private and public hospitals for clinically suitable patients who have been waiting for long periods on public hospital waiting lists.

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 is a standardised approach used by the HSE to manage scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures.  It sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists and was developed in 2014 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.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Tests

Ceisteanna (962)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

962. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health if Covid-19 testing centres in north County Cork will be reinstated. [27189/20]

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, as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Question No. 964 answered with Question No. 764.

Ceisteanna (963)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

963. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health his plans to pay student nurses on placement during the Covid-19 pandemic. [27191/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE continues to fund the employment of 4th year student nurses who are on rostered work placements in hospital settings.

These 4th year students are paid at the approved rate as detailed on the HSE salary scale of €21,749 (annualised - psychiatric nursing specialism) and €21,322 (annualised - all other nursing specialisms).

In addition, there are other supports open to all eligible nursing students

- An accommodation allowance available for eligible nursing students of up to €50.79 a week for the duration of a placement where it is necessary for a student to obtain accommodation away from his/her normal place of residence

- A travel allowance is also available to eligible nursing students 

Question No. 964 answered with Question No. 764.

Charitable and Voluntary Organisations

Ceisteanna (965)

Neale Richmond

Ceist:

965. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Health his plans to address the lack of oversight in an organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27216/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Charities Regulatory Authority is Ireland's statutory regulator for charitable organisations, and its mission is to regulate the charity sector in the public interest to ensure compliance with the law and to support best practice in the governance, management and administration of charities. The Charities Regulatory Authority is an independent regulatory agency under the aegis of the Department of Rural and Community Development. 

The Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) is an independent statutory agency under the aegis of my Department, and has oversight responsibilities relating to standards, education and training in the field of pre-hospital emergency care. Voluntary or charitable organisations seeking to provide pre-hospital emergency services in Ireland can apply to be registered with PHECC to implement specific clinical practice guidelines, or to deliver recognised courses relating to pre-hospital emergency care.

Vaccination Programme

Ceisteanna (966)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

966. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the number of adult and child flu vaccine doses respectively received by the HSE to date in September 2020; the number that have been distributed to doctors and pharmacies; the number of adult and child flu vaccine doses respectively to be delivered by 30 September, by 15 October, by 31 October and by 30 November 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27218/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Deliveries of adult flu vaccine to GPs, pharmacies and health care workers (HCWs), commenced on 17 September 2020, a similar timeframe to last year, when deliveries started on 16 September.

1.35 million doses of adult influenza vaccine have been ordered this year. 650,000 doses of adult flu vaccine have been received and 400,000 doses have been, or are in the process of being, delivered to GPs, pharmacies, hospitals and nursing homes.

Approximately two thirds of the total contracted quantity of adult and paediatric flu vaccines are expected to be delivered to Ireland by the end of this week (week commencing 28 September) and 100% of both will be delivered before end of October.

It is expected that GPs, pharmacies and healthcare workers will receive approximately 75% of the total adult flu vaccine ordered by 15 October 2020. 100% of adult vaccine will be delivered before the end of November if orders have been placed.

Deliveries of the paediatric flu vaccine (LAIV) commenced on Monday 28 September to GPs and pharmacies and it is expected that 70% will be delivered to them before the end of October, and 100% by end of November if orders have been placed.

With regard to the new flu vaccine programme for 2-12 year olds, at the beginning of the flu season vaccinators cannot predict the number of paediatric doses that will be administered. Deliveries of vaccines are available every two weeks so GPs and pharmacies can tailor their orders to demand.

Disability Support Services

Ceisteanna (967)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

967. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the date when each adult disability training centre in CHO2 will be reopened to all users post the Covid-19 closure; the reason for the delay in reopening services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27219/20]

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.

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (968)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

968. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27221/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

It is recognised that waiting times for scheduled appointments and procedures have been impacted as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic the HSE had to take measures to defer most scheduled care activity in March, April, and May of this year. This was to ensure patient safety and that all appropriate resources were made available for Covid-19 related activity and time-critical essential work. This decision was in line with the advice issued by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) in accordance with the advice of the World Health Organisation.

The resumption of services from June onwards has allowed for increased activity, with the HSE utilising innovative methods including telemedicine to facilitate patient appointments. Patient safety remains at the forefront of service resumption. To ensure services are re-introduced in a safe, clinically-aligned and prioritised way, hospitals are following HSE clinical guidelines and protocols which has resulted in reduced capacity and activity

The HSE continues to optimise productivity through alternative work practices such the use of alternative settings including private hospitals, community facilities and alternative outpatient settings.

The National Treatment Purchase Fund has also recommenced arranging treatment in both private and public hospitals for clinically suitable patients who have been waiting for long periods on public hospital waiting lists.

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 is a standardised approach used by the HSE to manage scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures.  It sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists and was developed in 2014 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.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Physiotherapy Services

Ceisteanna (969)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

969. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health when HSE early intervention physiotherapist services which has been impacted by Covid-19 will resume; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27222/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Programme for Government, Our Shared Future,  recognises the need to improve services for both children and adults with disabilities through better implementation and by working together across Government in a better way. 

The  Government commits to prioritising early diagnosis and access to services for children and ensuring that the most effective interventions are provided for each child, to guarantee the best outcomes.

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

Hospital Equipment

Ceisteanna (970)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

970. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health the steps being taken by University Hospital Waterford to provide insulin pump therapy as a treatment option to all eligible adults with type 1 diabetes; the plans of the hospital to provide type 1 diabetes self-management education to adults attending its clinic; if the hospital has included the specialist nursing staff and dieticians required to provide insulin pump therapy for adult diabetes services within its budget proposal; if he will fund same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27225/20]

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, as soon as possible.