Cannabis for Medicinal Use

Ceisteanna (971)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

971. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health the position regarding medicinal cannabis; the position regarding the delivery of medicinal cannabis by the HSE nationwide originating from another EU state; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27228/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

On 26th June 2019, the Minister for Health signed legislation to allow for the operation of the Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP) on a pilot basis for five years.

The Programme will facilitate access to cannabis-based products for medical use in line with legislation and with the clinical guidance for the scheme.

Cannabis products will only be listed in Schedule 1 of the Regulations once they have been considered as suitable for use under the Medical Cannabis Access Programme.

The Medical Cannabis Access Programme will make it possible for a medical consultant to prescribe a cannabis-based treatment for a patient under his or her care for the following medical conditions, where the patient has failed to respond to standard treatments:

- Spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis

- Intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy

- Severe, refractory (treatment-resistant) epilepsy.

The following specified controlled drug products (cannabis-based products) have been accepted as being suitable for use under the Medical Cannabis Access Programme:

- Aurora High CBD Oil Drops

- CannEpil Oral Solution

- Tilray Oral Solution THC10:CBD10 25ml

A fourth product, Aurora Sedamen Softgels from Aurora Cannabis Enterprises Inc. has also been recommended by the HPRA to be considered for inclusion in Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs (Prescription and control of supply of cannabis for medical use) Regulations 2019, and legislation is currently being drafted to add this product to the regulations.

Ministerial Licence Route

Pending full operation of the MCAP and for medical indications not included in the MCAP, doctors may continue to utilise the Ministerial licensing route pursuant to Section 14 of the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977-2016 to prescribe cannabis-based products for their patients, should they wish to do so.

In line with the Chief Medical Officer's advice, the granting of a licence for cannabis for medical purposes must be premised on an appropriate application being submitted to the Department of Health, which is endorsed by a consultant who is responsible for the management of the patient and who is prepared to monitor the effects of the treatment over time.

Further information on medical cannabis is available on the Department’s website.

It is important to note that the medical decision to prescribe or not prescribe any treatment, including cannabis treatment, for an individual patient is strictly a decision for the treating clinician, in consultation with their patient. The Minister for Health has no role in this clinical decision-making process.

Covid-19 Restrictions

On the 6th April, the Minister for Health announced an initiative to assist patients access to their medical cannabis products during the COVID-19 pandemic period. The Department of Health has so far organised a number of collections from the Netherlands for patients of clinicians in possession of a ministerial licence under the Misuse of Drugs Act owing to the COVID-19 travel restrictions and quarantine requirements and  the initiative will continue while these are in place.

Hospital Equipment

Ceisteanna (972)

Matt Shanahan

Ceist:

972. Deputy Matt Shanahan asked the Minister for Health the steps being taken by the 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 an application has been made by the management of the hospital for funding of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27239/20]

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.

Medical Waste Disposal

Ceisteanna (973)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

973. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if a clinical waste yellow bin will be provided to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27241/20]

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.

Hospital Staff

Ceisteanna (974)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

974. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health if there is a scoliosis surgeon in Cork University Hospital; if not, the reason for this; and if there are plans to recruit one. [27243/20]

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.

Hospital Services

Question No. 976 answered with Question No. 762.

Ceisteanna (975)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

975. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health if he will reply to correspondence (details supplied) regarding bed capacity at Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27270/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I will arrange for a  response to the correspondence to my predecessor as Minister for Health to issue as a matter of priority.

Question No. 976 answered with Question No. 762.

General Practitioner Services

Ceisteanna (977)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

977. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health when ShannonDoc will reopen in Roscrea, County Tipperary. [27281/20]

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.

General Practitioner Services

Ceisteanna (978)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

978. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health when ShannonDoc will reopen in Thurles, County Tipperary. [27282/20]

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 Tests

Ceisteanna (979)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

979. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health the maximum distance persons have to travel to get a Covid-19 test; his views on whether it is suitable that some persons have to travel 100 km for a test; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27284/20]

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 Tests

Ceisteanna (980)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

980. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health the reason there is no Covid-19 testing centre in Connemara; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27285/20]

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.

Medical Cards

Ceisteanna (981)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

981. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health when the income eligibility levels for qualification for a medical card for those over 70 years of age will be increased as was provided for in the health legislation passed by the Houses of the Oireachtas in July 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27286/20]

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.

Autism Support Services

Ceisteanna (982)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

982. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will be assessed. [27287/20]

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.

Vaccination Programme

Ceisteanna (983)

Thomas Gould

Ceist:

983. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Health the reason the flu vaccine has been delayed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27288/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Given the potential for the winter flu season in 2020/2021 to coincide with a resurgence of COVID, and the importance of minimising hospital attendance, the Government is expanding the provision of vaccination without charge to all of those in the at-risk groups, including healthcare workers, and to all children aged from 2 to 12 years.

Vaccines will be administered via GPs and pharmacists, as in previous years.

The expanded programme will ensure that those most vulnerable to the effects of influenza will have access to vaccination without charges. By providing vaccination to those most at-risk, and those most likely to require hospitalisation if they contract influenza, it is anticipated that the programme will see a reduction in the number of influenza-related hospital admissions, as well as a reduction in the overall spread of influenza in the community.

I am aware that, following a delay in the delivery of the first batch of vaccines, the first deliveries of influenza vaccines to all sites (GPs, pharmacists, nursing homes etc.) started on 17th September. For the initial deliveries, the quantities of influenza vaccine delivered to sites are the same as previous years. The quantities of vaccine available to order by sites will be increased in line with the amounts received into the country. All shipments, totalling 1.35 million individual doses, are expected to be delivered before the end of October.  The HSE is in daily contact with the manufacturer in relation to the delivery of the vaccines. Delivery of the nasal vaccine used to be used for children is not affected.

The HSE is satisfied that he number of doses procured is sufficient to vaccinate all in the at-risk groups. The start date of the vaccination programme will be late September or early October, the same as in previous years.  The vaccination programme for children is expected to commence from mid-October.

The vaccination campaign will be accompanied by a comprehensive communications campaign to encourage the greatest possible take-up.

Vaccination Programme

Ceisteanna (984)

Thomas Gould

Ceist:

984. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Health the engagements he undertook with alternative suppliers when it became apparent that the flu vaccine was delayed. [27289/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The first deliveries of influenza vaccines to all sites (GPs, pharmacists, nursing homes etc.) started on 17th  September. Although slightly later than planned, this is line with the delivery dates of previous years; in 2019, the commencement date was 16th September.

For the initial deliveries, the quantities of influenza vaccine delivered to sites are based on a proportion of the previous years deliveries to those sites, in order to ensure equity. The quantities of vaccine made available will be increased in line with the amounts received into the country. All doses of the vaccine are expected by the end of October and will be distributed as quickly as possible. The HSE is in daily contact with the manufacturer in relation to the delivery of the vaccines. Delivery of the nasal vaccine used to be used for children is not affected.

It was not feasible to engage with alternative suppliers as the manufacturing of vaccines takes approximately five months. The HSE placed its order with the manufacturers in February for delivery in September.

Covid-19 Tests

Ceisteanna (985)

Denise Mitchell

Ceist:

985. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Health the average waiting time from being tested for Covid-19 to the patient receiving their results in CHO9. [27293/20]

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.

Mental Health Services

Ceisteanna (986)

Denise Mitchell

Ceist:

986. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Health the number of beds available in crisis mental health services by CHO in tabular form. [27297/20]

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 Admissions

Ceisteanna (987)

Martin Browne

Ceist:

987. Deputy Martin Browne asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to an instance in which a frontline worker who had a broken bone had to wait a number of days to be treated; his views on the way in which the worker tested negative for Covid-19 but could not get treatment for a number of days at two hospitals due to the fact no isolation beds were available; his views on the prevalence of the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27299/20]

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

Ceisteanna (988)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

988. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding contract tracing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27300/20]

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.

Mental Health Services

Ceisteanna (989)

Gary Gannon

Ceist:

989. Deputy Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Health if he will exempt psychologists working within the mental health services in north Dublin for redeployment to test centres in view of the fact that many mental health services within the north Dublin area are significantly under-resourced based on population size and the services users they support are highly vulnerable during this time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27306/20]

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.

Cannabis for Medicinal Use

Ceisteanna (990)

Martin Browne

Ceist:

990. Deputy Martin Browne asked the Minister for Health if arrangements have been made whilst Covid-19 restrictions on travel are in place to accommodate persons using medicinal cannabis preparations under licence; the length of time such arrangements are envisaged to remain; and if consideration has been given to such arrangements being made permanent. [27325/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

On the 6th April, the Minister for Health announced an initiative to assist patients access to their medical cannabis products during the COVID-19 pandemic period. The Department of Health has so far organised a number of collections from the Netherlands for patients of clinicians in possession of a ministerial licence under the Misuse of Drugs Act owing to the COVID-19 travel restrictions and quarantine requirements and the initiative will continue while these are in place.