Pension Provisions

Ceisteanna (240)

Alan Dillon

Ceist:

240. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Health if a health board pension can be paid fortnightly rather than monthly for a person (details supplied). [29521/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Disability Services Funding

Ceisteanna (241)

Holly Cairns

Ceist:

241. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health his plans to ring-fence funding for support services for persons with disabilities to enable the 2,900 persons with disabilities living in congregated settings to live in homes in the community in budget 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29549/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Almost nine years ago, the Time to Move on from Congregated Settings Report identified approximately 4,000 people with disabilities living in congregated type settings. Many were old style institutions, with ten or more people. Some living in hospital ward or dormitory settings.

It’s also important to note that Article 19(a) of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified in 2018 by the Irish Government, states that people with disabilities should be able to choose where, and with whom, they live.

Time to move on is the governing strategy that seeks to ensure housing arrangements, including those moving from congregated settings, should be in ordinary neighbourhoods (dispersed housing) in the community, with individualised supports (supported living) designed to meet their individual needs and wishes.

It is about enabling people to “live ordinary lives in ordinary places”. At the end of 2019, there were circa 2,000 people remaining in congregated settings, while the majority 6,400 live in group homes in the community. 52 people have completed their transition so far this year, however It is likely that the impact of COVID-19 will be reflected in the year-end total.

Today, people are being supported to live lives of their choice out in the community. Several congregated settings have closed fully and many more have closed specific units within the centres.

Thoughtful planning, capacity building work with stakeholders and sharing the learning across services is enabling meaningful person-centred planning and transitions that are sustainable.

As the numbers in the large settings continues to fall, the people still remaining in these services have access to better living conditions and share with fewer people

While the pace of change has been slow in some services, there is momentum and progress is being made.

The Programme for Government commits to continue with the successful decongregation programme and complete a further move of more people with disabilities from congregated settings to homes in the community, with the necessary supports. It is only fair and right for the remaining residents that people achieve independent and community living.

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

Disability Services Provision

Ceisteanna (242)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

242. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if he will intervene to save St. John of Gods Services, Monavalley, Tralee, County Kerry (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29261/20]

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 the Deputy will be aware, specialist disability services are provided by a range of organisations. In some cases the HSE itself delivers these services directly and in other circumstances, the HSE relies upon funded providers to deliver these services. Organisations such as St John of Gods Community Services provide services for people with a disability on behalf of the HSE, on a contract for services basis, underpinned by Section 38 of the Health Act 2004. Service Level Agreements are set out between the HSE and the individual organisations.

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

Dental Services

Ceisteanna (243)

Ruairí Ó Murchú

Ceist:

243. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for Health the numbers of dentists, dental nurses, clinical dental technicians and orthodontists working in primary care sites in the CHO8 area in February 2020 and June 2020, in tabular form. [29262/20]

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.

Dental Services

Ceisteanna (244)

Ruairí Ó Murchú

Ceist:

244. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for Health the numbers of dentists, dental nurses, clinical dental technicians and orthodontists aligned to primary care sites in the CHO8 area that are currently seconded on Covid-19 related activities. [29263/20]

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 Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (245)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

245. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 1205 of 8 September 2020, which incorrectly refers to an appointment on 1 May 2020; the appointment referred to was scheduled for 6 July in Tallaght hospital (details supplied). [29269/20]

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.

Drugs Payment Scheme

Ceisteanna (246)

Thomas Gould

Ceist:

246. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Health his plans to add Cariban to the approved drug list under the drug payment scheme; and the medicines available under the drug payment scheme to treat hyperemesis gravidarum. [29270/20]

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 Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (247)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

247. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will receive an appointment; the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29280/20]

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 Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (248)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

248. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will have an operation in Cork University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29281/20]

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.

HSE Properties

Ceisteanna (249)

Claire Kerrane

Ceist:

249. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Health if plans are being considered for a disused building (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29283/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the management of the public healthcare property estate, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to you in relation to this matter.

Dental Services

Ceisteanna (250)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

250. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) is eligible for orthodontic treatment on the fair deal scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29285/20]

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.

Primary Medical Certificates

Ceisteanna (251)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

251. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health the number of applications that have been received for primary medical certificates in CHO 9 in 2020; the number of applications that have been processed to date; the number of applications that have undergone a medical assessment; the number of applications that are still awaiting a decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29298/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Minister for Finance has responsibility for the Disabled Drivers and Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme, which is operated by the Revenue Commissioners. To qualify for the Scheme, an applicant must be in possession of a Primary Medical Certificate.

The extent of the involvement of Health Service Executive (HSE) personnel in the Scheme relates to making a professional clinical determination as to whether an individual applicant meets the specified medical criteria. This determination is undertaken by Senior Medical Officers for the relevant HSE Community Health Organisation, on behalf of the Department of Finance and the Revenue Commissioners.

As the Deputy's question relates to a service matter, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Disability Services Funding

Ceisteanna (252)

Réada Cronin

Ceist:

252. Deputy Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Health the reason HSE audiology has not been ring-fenced as an essential service for children who are deaf and hard of hearing; if he will make a commitment to ring-fencing that vital service in the future even in the event of further Covid-19 restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29319/20]

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.

Disability Services Funding

Ceisteanna (253)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

253. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Health if further funding will be given to the disability services sector in view of the current conditions and additional costs to them for PPE during Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29320/20]

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.

Specialist disability services are provided by a range of organisations. Organisations providing services for people with a disability are funded by the HSE, on a contract for services basis, underpinned by Section 38 and 39 of the Health Act 2004. Service Level Agreements are set out between the HSE and the individual organisations. In some cases, services are delivered directly by the HSE.

As the Deputy's question deals with services funded by the HSE, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Medical Cards

Ceisteanna (254, 308)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

254. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health the exact date he will commence higher thresholds for medical card applicants over 70 years of age. [29325/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Neale Richmond

Ceist:

308. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Health when the proposed increase in the income limit for medical card holders over 70 years of age will come into effect; if those that become eligible will be able to claim a refund on their medical expenses from 1 July 2020 due to the delay in the implementation of the increase; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29526/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 254 and 308 together.

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.

In recent days the Government has approved the necessary funding required to implement this measure and the new increased income limits will take effect from November 1st 2020.

Officials in my Department are therefore now making the necessary arrangements to commence the relevant section of the Act and are engaging with the HSE's National Medical Card unit to ensure all operational arrangements are in place for implementation of this measure.

It should be noted that eligibility for a medical card is granted on the date of when a completed application has been assessed and the applicant is awarded eligibility for a medical card under the scheme guidelines. Expenditure incurred prior to qualifying for a medical card is not reimbursable.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Ceisteanna (255)

Chris Andrews

Ceist:

255. Deputy Chris Andrews asked the Minister for Health the detail of the medical advice which has been provided which prevents amateur soccer clubs playing matches in level 3 areas while allowing amateur GAA and amateur rugby teams to continue playing; the reason one sport is not allowable while others are allowable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29327/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Deputy is aware, the Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19 was published by the Government on 15 September, 2020. This Plan provides a framework setting out Ireland's approach to managing and living with COVID-19 in a range of areas over the next 6 - 9 months.

The framework sets out five levels of response, each with a number of measures designed to help us all lower COVID-19 transmission and setting out what is permitted at that moment in time. It is framed to account for periods during which there is a low incidence of the disease, with isolated clusters and low community transmission, through to situations where there is a high or rapidly increasing incidence, widespread community transmission and the pandemic is escalating rapidly in Ireland and globally. It recognises the need for society and business to be allowed to continue as normally as possible and is designed so that either national or county level restrictions can be applied.

The Plan reflects a careful consideration of the impact of the introduction of restrictions on employment and livelihoods, keeping as many businesses open as possible at different stages, while acknowledging that some businesses and services are critical. It acknowledges that sports, arts and other social activities are central to our well-being and that sports and arts are also the world of work for our many in our communities.

As I am sure the Deputy can appreciate, COVID-19 spreads when individuals and groups come into close contact with one another, enabling the virus to move from one person to another. COVID-19 is infectious in a person with no symptoms, or for the period of time before they develop symptoms. For this reason, we are all asked to be extra careful when socialising and working with others. For now, we must act like we have the virus to protect those around us from infection.

As the Deputy may be aware, Ireland is moving from a short-term emergency response approach to a medium-term approach to managing risk and repairing the damage that COVID-19 has inflicted on society. All counties in Ireland are at Level 3 from midnight Tuesday 6 October. The measures currently in place in place in Dublin and Donegal will be extended by 3 weeks.

The Deputy may wish to note, that under Level 3 restrictions, no matches or other sporting events should take place, with the exception of professional, elite, inter-county and senior club championship, which should all take place behind closed doors.

I would also like to draw the Deputy's attention to the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A - Temporary Restrictions) (COVID-19) (NO. 6) Regulations, 2020 (S.I. No. 413 of 2020), signed by me, which came into operation on 7 October and will remain in operation until 28 October, 2020. These Regulations provide for temporary restrictions on a range of indoor and outdoor events including sporting events.

Notwithstanding these measures, I would also draw the Deputy's attention to the recent decision by the GAA to suspend all club games at the current time.

Further information on the public health measures currently in place in relation to matches or other sporting events under the different Levels can be found at https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/resilience-recovery-2020-2021-plan-for-living-with-covid-19/.

Home Help Service

Ceisteanna (256)

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

256. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Health if assistance can be offered to a person (details supplied) for the reinstatement of home help; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29340/20]

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 Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (257)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

257. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health when a child (details supplied) will receive an appointment. [29342/20]

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, as soon as possible.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (258)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

258. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health when a child (details supplied) will receive an appointment for hearing test and intervention. [29343/20]

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.

Departmental Contracts

Ceisteanna (259)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

259. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health the contracts with public relations agencies and consultants entered into by his Department; and the remit of these contracts including the costs in tabular form. [29355/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

My Department engaged a firm in September 2020 to support the launch of Government's Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19. The requirement was support to develop accompanying collateral and materials for the launch.

This was a short-term contract and while invoicing is not yet complete, the cost is expected to be €2,500 plus VAT, in line with the quote received.