Noonan, Michael

Tuesday, 25 March 1997

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 476 No. 7

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Priority Questions. - Optional HIV Testing Programme.

Was asked: the reason the optional HIV testing programme announced in 1996 following the revelation of another scandal involving the Blood Transfusion Service Board and was due to begin three months ago, has not...More Button

Limerick East): I have already informed the House that following the introduction of HIV donor screening test by the Blood Transfusion Service Board in October 1985, no lookback was undertaken between...More Button

(Limerick East): I assure the House I am proceeding as quickly as possible. The BTSB is continuing with its rigorous programme. As the Deputy pointed out, I sought legal advice on this matter. The na...More Button

(Limerick East): I appreciate the Deputy's point which, at first glance, appears valid. However, I am advised it would not be proper from the point of view of effective optional testing or fulfilling...More Button

(Limerick East): This is a different question and, although I will be replying to the debate on this matter later this afternoon, I will facilitate the Deputy. Those persons who have not made a decis...More Button

Priority Questions. - Health Services.

Was asked: the implications of the latest cutbacks for the health services; his views on reports of an increase from £12 to £20 in hospital charges; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

(Limerick East): There are no adjustments planned in health funding which will involve cutbacks in the approved level of health services in 1997. There are no changes proposed in the current level of...More Button

(Limerick East): The Government accepted in full the Labour Court's recommendations on the nurses' pay dispute. The full cost of implementing them is estimated at £80 million, the impact of which in ...More Button

(Limerick East): There will be no reduction in the £25 million development fund package announced by the Minister for Finance on budget day in respect of child care, care of the handicapped, the cance...More Button

(Limerick East): No.More Button

(Limerick East): The adjustment is to be made on the major base funding which was in the pre-budget Book of Estimates. That will take small amounts of funding from across a range of programmes. I ha...More Button

Priority Questions. - Reporting of Child Abuse.

Was asked: in view of the fact that the Government has decided not to proceed with mandatory reporting of child abuse, the alternatives, if any, he proposes to put in place to assist those who wish to report all...More Button

(Limerick East): Throughout 1996 my colleague, the Minister of State with special responsibility for child care, Deputy Currie, hosted a consultative process on mandatory reporting. The process exami...More Button

(Limerick East): The protection of children is not discretionary. The Minister of State, Deputy Currie implemented the Child Care Act. Even though it was passed in 1991 it was only implemented durin...More Button

(Limerick East): The Deputy is aware of the long consultative process and that persons involved in child care on a day to day basis were consulted. Her view on the practice of child care is a minorit...More Button

(Limerick East): Immunity for health professionals was discussed in paragraph 4.12 of the discussion document. That paragraph states that immunity could be given without limitation to a professional ...More Button

Priority Questions. - VHI Legal Status.

Was asked: the meaning of his statement to the VHI when he told the VHI that it needed to be cut loose from his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

(Limerick East): Under the Voluntary Health Insurance Act 1957, the Voluntary Health Insurance Board was established as a body corporate with perpetual succession in respect of which the Minister for ...More Button

(Limerick East): It was not scripted.More Button

(Limerick East): I did not have a script to circulate but I spoke with intent. There were certain ideas I wished to promote and there was a suitable audience present. The VHI board members present w...More Button

(Limerick East): Deputy Cowen is in the wrong forum, he should have been at the Academy Awards last night when he would have received the best award in the fictional category.More Button

(Limerick East): This is fiction, there is no discordance in Government about this issue.More Button

(Limerick East): The only politician I have heard raise this issue with me, publicly or privately, is the Deputy.More Button

(Limerick East): Nobody has raised this with me.More Button

(Limerick East): As for private musings in an after dinner speech —— (Interruptions.)More Button

(Limerick East): They were not personal musings. It was a statement by me, as Minister for Health, in respect of the policy position I believed should be explored by the VHI.More Button

(Limerick East): Government policy recognised the potential difficulties of the VHI and mandated me, through the board and acting chief executive, to ensure that the future of private health insurance...More Button

(Limerick East): I have indicated to the board, to the former and new chairman of the VHI, the public and to the House how I think that should proceed.More Button

(Limerick East): I am awaiting proposals from the VHI. I do not know whether anybody wants to enter a strategic alliance with the VHI.More Button

(Limerick East): There are companies which are interested in exploring that option. When I receive a proposal from the VHI I will take it to Government, the Government will then decide the matter har...More Button

Priority Questions. - Task Force Recommendations on Travelling Community.

Was asked: the progress, if any, which has been made towards implementing the health recommendations, ER 1 to ER 33, contained in the report of the Task Force on the Travelling Community published in July 1995; ...More Button

(Limerick East): Since the publication of the report of the Task Force on the Travelling Community, the health boards have taken a number of initiatives in relation to travellers' health. These inclu...More Button

(Limerick East): Some health boards have already taken initiatives in accordance with the recommendations of the Task Force. At Pavee Point the Eastern Health Board has established a primary health c...More Button

(Limerick East): I indicated in my reply I am setting up the traveller health advisory committee, as recommended by the task force. I expect it to have its report published in a few months.More Button

(Limerick East): Following publication of the policy statement, a traveller health unit, as recommended by the task force, will be established in each health board area.More Button

(Limerick East): That is an absolutely quintessential PD intervention into a debate on travellers' health.More Button

Other Questions. - Social Worker Posts.

Was asked: the number of additional child care social worker posts approved by his Department in 1995 and 1996; the number which will be approved in 1997; the plans, if any, he has for the development of further...More Button

(Limerick East): Since 1993 over 300 additional social worker posts have been approved for child care services. Approximately 70 additional social worker posts were approved for 1995 and 1996. In add...More Button

Report of the Tribunal of Inquiry into the Blood Transfusion Service Board: Motion (Resumed)

Limerick East): At the outset of this debate, I undertook in my winding up speech to answer all legitimate questions raised by Deputies opposite. I will endeavour to do so in the time available to me...More Button

(Limerick East): The health brief can provide plenty of opportunity for political advantage and point scoring — advantage which can only be gained on the back of the human suffering and tragedy which ...More Button

(Limerick East): That is no basis for objective parliamentary debate on an issue of unparalleled importance in the history of health-care in Ireland.More Button

(Limerick East): I can understand the historical difficulties with which he is confronted — members of his party held office as Ministers for Health in the 20-year period since this scandal first bega...More Button

(Limerick East): As a politician I can appreciate why he wishes to concentrate as much attention as he possibly can on me and my immediate predecessor. As a political strategy it is transparently fal...More Button

(Limerick East): It is about people's lives — 1,600 women's and men's lives and about how we can ensure this scandal never occurs again. The motion before the House affirms the Government's commitmen...More Button

(Limerick East): On Thursday last, I commented on the recent incident in the BTSB involving the contacting of a victim infected with hepatitis C with a view to obtaining a blood donation. I have been...More Button

(Limerick East): On Thursday last, I also indicated the Government's intention to reappraise and amend the terms of reference of the compensation scheme following consultation with the representative...More Button

Private Members' Business. - Health (Provision of Information) Bill, 1997 (Seanad): Second Stage.

Limerick East): I am pleased to introduce the Health (Provision of Information) Bill, 1997, to the House. This Bill is but one of a number of elements of the national cancer strategy which I launched...More Button

Limerick East): I thank the Deputies who contributed to the debate. It is interesting during a debate on a Bill with no political overhang or content to hear the views of Deputies and to take them in...More Button

Private Members' Business. - Health (Provision of Information) Bill, 1997 [ Seanad ]: Committee and Final Stages.

Limerick East): I move amendment No. 1: In page 3, subsection (1), lines 17 to 23, to delete paragraph (b) and substitute the following: “(b) the Minister for Health or a health board, hospital or oth...More Button

(Limerick East): Even though the wording seems tautologous, I received advice to that effect from the parliamentary draftsman. Amendment agreed to. Amendments Nos. 2, 3 and 4 not moved.More Button

(Limerick East): I move amendment No. 5: In page 3, subsection (2), lines 31 and 32, to delete paragraph (a) and substitute the following: “(a) to the Minister for Health, or to any other such health ...More Button

(Limerick East): I move amendment No. 6: In page 3, subsection (2), lines 33 and 34, to delete paragraph (b) and substitute the following: “(b) for the purposes of inviting persons to participate in t...More Button

(Limerick East): The overall incidence of breast cancer is such that for screening to be effective, high participation rates of the target population would be essential. The percentage spoken about h...More Button

(Limerick East): Yes, by effective advertising. This has been a women's health issue for some time. For example, the ICA has for a long time organised a campaign to ensure the Government, through th...More Button

(Limerick East): I move amendment No. 7: In page 3, line 8, to delete “NATIONAL”. Amendment agreed to. Title agreed to. Bill reported with amendments. Question proposed: “That the Bill do now pass.”More Button

Limerick East): I thank the Deputies who contributed to the debate, Deputy Cowen who carried the debate, Deputy Keogh on behalf of the Progressive Democrats, Deputy Moffatt and Deputy Frances Fitzger...More Button

Adjournment Debate. - Clare Refuge Centre.

Limerick East): I thank the Deputy for raising this important issue. I am fully aware of the excellent support services provided by Clare Haven House to women and children who are the victims of dome...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Services.

Was asked: the extent to which Letter kenny General and Altnagelving hospitals interlink at present; the scope, if any, there is to further such co-operation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to expand the emergency or other links between Letterkenny General Hospital, County Donegal, and Altnagelvin Hospital, Derry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): I propose to take Questions Nos. 20 and 41 together.More Button

Written Answers. - Food Hygiene Directive.

Was asked: the steps, if any, taken by his Department to ensure full compliance with EU Council Directive 93/43/EEC on food hygiene; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): It is my intention that Ireland should comply fully with EU Council Directive 93/43/EEC on the hygiene of foodstuffs. Currently the statutory requirements in Ireland in relation to fo...More Button

Written Answers. - Foreign Medical Practitioners.

Was asked: the proposals, if any, there are to introduce legislation to remove bureaucratic obstacles introduced by the Irish Medical Council to obstruct foreign practitioners from practising in Ireland; and if ...More Button

Limerick East): I assume the Deputy is referring to the requirements laid down in the Medical Council's rules in relation to full registration for the holders of medical qualifications from countries ...More Button

Written Answers. - Eastern Health Board Dispute.

Was asked: the progress, if any, which has been made in resolving the dispute in the Eastern Health Board which has stopped the inspection of food outlets, nursing homes and restaurants by environmental health o...More Button

Was asked: the current position in relation to the ongoing dispute involving environmental health officers; the steps, if any being taken to resolve this long-standing issue; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

Limerick East): I propose to take Questions Nos. 23 and 99 together. IMPACT, on behalf of environmental health officers, withdrew from negotiations which were being pursued under Clause 2 (iii) — Ann...More Button

Written Answers. - HIV Testing Programme.

Was asked: the reason testing has not been introduced following the incident prior to Christmas involving potentially HIV infected blood; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): I have already informed the House that following the introduction of HIV donor screening test by the Blood Transfusion Service Board in October 1985, no lookback was undertaken between...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Waiting Lists.

Was asked: the effect of the funds allocated for the waiting list initiative for 1995 and 1996 in the Western Health Board area; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): Since the waiting list initiative commenced in June 1993, the Western Health Board has received substantial funding from my Department aimed at tackling the problem of waiting lists. ...More Button

Written Answers. - Cancer Treatment Services.

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has to extend the range of facilities and resources for cancer treatment services in the North-Eastern Health Board area; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): Last November, I published a national cancer strategy as a wide-ranging statement of policy on the future development and improvement of cancer services in Ireland. The strategy is ai...More Button

Written Answers. - Dental Service.

Was asked: the progress, if any, which has been made on the dental plan for medical card holders since its launch in 1994; if the moneys projected for expenditure in an incremental fashion have been expended; an...More Button

Limerick East): The dental treatment services scheme for adults with medical card entitlement is one component of the dental health action plan. In the initial phase of the scheme, which commenced on ...More Button

Written Answers. - Home Help Service.

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has to improve the home help service; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): In response to previous questions raised in the House on this issue I stated that the Department, in consultation with the chief executive officers of the health boards, has under acti...More Button

Written Answers. - Services for Dementia Sufferers.

Was asked: the services, if any, available to patients with Alzheimer's; if his attention has been drawn to recurring difficulties experienced by Alzheimer's patients and their families; the submissions, if any,...More Button

Was asked: the services, if any, available to elderly patients with dementia; if his attention has been drawn to the recurring problems experienced in obtaining long stay accommodation for such patients; the add...More Button

Limerick East): I propose to take Questions Nos. 29 and 106 together. As the Deputy will be aware, the report,“The Years Ahead — A Policy for the Elderly” stressed the need to develop a range of servi...More Button

Written Answers. - National Surveillance Centre.

Was asked: the reason a national surveillance centre to monitor and report on serious contagious diseases such as meningitis has been postponed until 1998.More Button

Limerick East): I have accepted the need for a national communicable disease surveillance unit to provide a comprehensive broad based approach to the prevention of disease. The Department of Health i...More Button

Written Answers. - Publication of Report.

Was asked: the reason for the delay in publishing the report by the inspector of mental hospitals in view of the fact that contents are often out of date by the time they are debated.More Button

Limerick East): I assure the Deputy that I am committed to the publication of the annual report of the inspector of mental hospitals as soon as possible after the inspections of individual facilities ...More Button

Written Answers. - Social Services Inspectorate.

Was asked: the progress, if any, which has been made in his Department to establish a social services inspectorate; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers. - Hospice Funding.

Was asked: if he has received a request from the Western Health Board for additional funds for 1998 in order to secure full-year effect on the agreed position between the Western Health Board and Galway Hospice ...More Button

Limerick East): As I have stated previously my Department has included in the Western Health Board's provision for funding an additional revenue allocation of £500,000 in respect of the Galway Hospice...More Button

Written Answers. - Mental Handicap Services.

Was asked: his understanding of the inadequate level of services for people with a mental handicap in view of the fact that mentally handicapped people have been denied a service by statutory authorities; the pr...More Button

Limerick East): While I am satisfied that the additional funding of £56.8 million, which was invested in the services for persons with a mental handicap in the period 1990 to 1996, has made a substant...More Button

Written Answers. - Social Worker Qualifications.

Was asked: the provision, if any, being made for existing social workers whose qualification is a Bachelor of Social Science degree and who were employed prior to the introduction of the proposals by the Nationa...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the concern of approximately 200 social workers without Certificate of Qualification in Social Work qualifications who will be disqualified if the recommendations of...More Button

Limerick East): The National Social Work Qualifications Board was established as a corporate body on 27 February 1997 and replaced the National Validation Body on Social Work Qualifications which was ...More Button

Written Answers. - Health Board Services.

Was asked: the current position regarding the application by the North-Eastern Health Board for assistance, funding and otherwise, in respect of the need to address young people at risk; and if he will make a st...More Button

Limerick East): The application referred to by the Deputy has been discussed in detail between officials of my Department and the North-Eastern Health Board. I understand that the board will be makin...More Button

Written Answers. - Cervical Screening.

Was asked: his views on the fact that the cervical smear test service in Ireland is in crisis and the proposals, if any, he has to improve the situation.More Button

Limerick East): I am aware that, on occasions, in a small number of hospitals the waiting period for the reporting of routine cervical smear results exceeds the recommended interval of one month. I mu...More Button

Written Answers. - Madonna House Report.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to publish the report on Madonna House or sections of it; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): In accordance with the commitment given to Dáil Éireann that as much as possible of the report be put into the public domain, an abridged report of the inquiry into the operation and m...More Button

Written Answers. - Care of Young Homeless.

Was asked: the initiatives, if any, being taken to meet the needs of the young homeless; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): As I have previously mentioned in the House the extent and nature of the problem of homeless children varies between health boards and between community care areas. It is recognised a...More Button

Written Answers. - Refugee Health Care.

Was asked: the progress, if any, made to date in establishing within the Southern Health Board area a new service for the victims of torture who are here as refugees, further to his reply to Question No. 194 of ...More Button

Limerick East): As I mentioned in my response to the Deputy on 22 January 1997, the Refugee Agency, which is under the aegis of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, is initially responsible for the co-or...More Button

Written Answers. - Tuberculosis Incidence.

Was asked: the incidence of tuberculosis in counties Cork and Kerry.More Button

Limerick East): The number of cases of tuberculosis notified within the Southern Health Board in 1996 was 103 for Cork and 17 for Kerry.More Button

Written Answers. - Community Mental Health Care.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to reappraise the level of cover and support in community mental health care following the recent tragic murders in Dublin.More Button

Was asked: if he will give details of the security arrangements at psychiatric residential units in the community; the changes, if any, which have been introduced following the recent murder of two women residen...More Button

Limerick East): I propose to take Questions Nos. 44 and 46 together. First, I am sure that Deputies will join me in expressing our condolences to the families and friends of the deceased. As Deputies...More Button

Written Answers. - Drug Budgeting Scheme.

Was asked: if he will publish the report which was an evaluation of the general medical service's indicative drug budgeting scheme, which was completed at Cork University Hospital and which cost £75,000; and if ...More Button

Was asked: if he will publish the report into the effects of the indicative drug target scheme; the total cost of the report; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the success or otherwise of the indicative drug budgeting scheme; the percentage increase in prescription drug costs over the past two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the terms of reference given to a person (details supplied) for an evaluation of the general medical service indicative drug budgeting scheme; the date of completion of the evaluation; the main points...More Button

Limerick East): I propose to take Questions Nos. 45, 107, 109 and 111 together. The indicative drug target scheme was introduced in 1993 as a result of a voluntary agreement entered into with the Iris...More Button

Written Answers. - Drug Treatment.

Was asked: further to his reply to Question No. 74 of 13 February 1997, the reason there are 200 persons attending one pharmacy for methadone and only one attending pharmacy number five; and if this has changed,...More Button

Limerick East): Methadone can be prescribed under the general medical services scheme for medical card holders or on a private prescription for those attending a general practitioner on a private basi...More Button

Written Answers. - Nurses' Pay Settlement.

Was asked: whether he will be making cuts in any services to pay for the settlement package with nurses; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): There are no adjustments planned in health funding which will involve cutbacks in the approved level of health services in 1997. The reduction recently agreed in respect of the Health ...More Button

Written Answers. - Children's Ombudsman.

Was asked: the reason there has been no progress on the appointment of an ombudsman for children; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when arrangements will be put in place for the appointment of an ombudsman for children and the establishment of an adequately staffed and funded office; and if it is planned that the office should be...More Button

Limerick East): I propose to take Questions Nos. 49 and 51 together. My colleague Deputy Currie, the Minister of State with special responsibility for child care, is currently developing detailed prop...More Button

Written Answers. - Travelling Community.

Was asked: the progress, if any, made in relation to implementing the health care recommendations of the report of the task force on the travelling community; the plans, if any, he has for the provision of mobil...More Button

Limerick East): Since the publication of the report of the task force on the travelling community, the health boards have taken a number of initiatives in relation to travellers' health. These includ...More Button

Written Answers. - Mental Handicap Services.

Was asked: the number of persons who have been diagnosed as autistic; the number of residential places available for them; the support services, if any, which exist for their carers; the plans, if any, his Depar...More Button

Limerick East): Due to problems with definition, the exact prevalence of autism in Ireland is still open to debate. Depending on the diagnostic criteria being applied, up to five per 10,000 children...More Button

Written Answers. - Registration of Births.

Was asked: if he will have investigations made into the case of a person (details supplied) who is the holder of an Irish passport but who cannot get a birth certificate in his country of birth in view of the fa...More Button

Limerick East): The administration of the registration system is statutorily a matter of An tArd-Chláraitheoir (Registrar-General) of Births, Deaths and Marriages. As previously advised in relation t...More Button

Written Answers. - Domiciliary Care Allowance.

Was asked: when a domiciliary allowance will be paid to persons (details supplied) in County Cork.More Button

Limerick East): Payment of domiciliary care allowance in any individual case is a matter for the health board concerned. Accordingly, the Deputy's question has been referred to the chief executive of...More Button

Written Answers. - Closure of Dublin Hospitals.

Was asked: if he intends to close any of the inner city hospitals in Dublin following the opening of Tallaght Hospital.More Button

Limerick East): The new hospital at Tallaght, when opened, will incorporate the services currently being provided at the Adelaide, the Meath Hospital and the National Children's Hospital, Harcourt Str...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Staff and Consultants.

Was asked: the firms who acted as consultants to his Department in 1995 and 1996; and the amount of money paid to these firms in this period.More Button

Was asked: the persons appointed by him or by the Ministers of State at his Department as programme managers, advisers, assistants or back-up staff, either in his Department or in constituency offices; the annua...More Button

Limerick East): I propose to reply to Questions Nos. 101 and 128 together. The information requested in relation to persons appointed by me or by Minister(s) of State at the Department of Health, and ...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Waiting Lists.

Was asked: if he will have arrangements made for a person (details supplied) in County Cork to be admitted to hospital for a hip operation; and if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this person has be...More Button

Limerick East): As the determination of in-patient appointments is a matter for the hospital authorities in the first instance, I have asked the general manager of Cork University and Associated Hospi...More Button

Written Answers. - Dental Service.

Was asked: if he will have investigations made into the reason dental treatment is approximately 40 per cent cheaper in Northern Ireland than in the South; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): The charges for private dental treatment are determined by the market. There is some evidence to suggest that charges for certain procedures are lower in Northern Ireland than here bu...More Button

Written Answers. - General Medical Services Scheme.

Was asked: the consideration, if any, he has given to greater flexibility in the retiring age of doctors from the general medical services; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): Under the General Medical Services Scheme, general practitioners enter a contract with the relevant health board for the provision of their services to medical card holders. The terms...More Button

Written Answers. - Communicable Diseases.

Was asked: if he will give details of the reported hospital acquired communicable diseases in our Irish hospitals; the hospitals which have made such reports; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): Information of the nature sought by the Deputy is not routinely collected by my Department. However, I have accepted the need for a national communicable disease surveillance unit whic...More Button

Written Answers. - Mental Health Services.

Was asked: the services, if any, available to patients with schizophrenia; if his attention has been drawn to any recurring difficulties experienced by schizophrenia patients' families; the submissions, if any, ...More Button

Limerick East): As the Deputy will be aware, it has been the policy of successive Governments to restructure the mental health services through the development of services located in the community as ...More Button

Written Answers. - Mental Handicap Services.

Was asked: the issues, if any, that have been brought to his attention with regard to services for people with a mental handicap; his response, if any, to such issues; the submissions, if any, he has received in...More Button

Limerick East): I am kept informed of the issues of concern to people with a mental handicap, their parents and carers and the voluntary and statutory service providers, through a range of mechanisms....More Button

Written Answers. - Blood Products Cost.

Was asked: the total cost of blood products supplied to hospitals here by the Blood Transfusion Service Board, and the additional cost involved in the 3 per cent increase imposed on hospitals by the Blood Transf...More Button

Limerick East): The total cost of blood products supplied to hospitals in this country by the Blood Transfusion Service Board in 1996 is as follows:More Button

Written Answers. - Cardiac Surgery Funding.

Was asked: if he will provide additional funding in order to carry out 250 additional cardiac surgery procedures in the Southern Health Board area.More Button

Limerick East): I am conscious of the need to develop cardiac surgery facilities in this country. While cardiac surgery services have been developed and enhanced in recent years at both the Mater and...More Button

Written Answers. - Computerisation Programme.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself with the level of computerisation in general medical services practices in view of the cash grant and training programme.More Button

Limerick East): Health boards, through their general practice units, have been facilitating the computerisation of GMS practices through the provision of financial assistance and training in the use o...More Button

Written Answers. - MRI Facilities.

Was asked: if he will have arrangements made to provide another MRI scanner in Ireland.More Button

Limerick East): Magnetic resonance imaging facilities in the public hospital sector are available in Beaumont Hospital. This facility was provided on the basis that that it would serve both public an...More Button

Written Answers. - Out-Patient Clinics.

Was asked: if he will allow consultants to hold out-patient clinics in high tech general practitioner centres.More Button

Limerick East): Since 1993, significant progress has been made in the implementation of the commitments in the health strategy which are relevant to general practice. Arising from this, the health bo...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Facilities.

Was asked: if he will provide funding for the expansion of the accident and emergency services at Cork University Hospital.More Button

Limerick East): As the Deputy will be aware, a Working Group on the Reorganisation of Accident and Emergency Services in Cork was established by the Southern Health Board in May 1995 to review the org...More Button

Written Answers. - Ministerial Duties.

Was asked: his official duties, if any, on St. Patrick's Day; the official duties, if any, of the Ministers of State at his Department; if so, the duration of his duties and his visit; the number of people in hi...More Button

Limerick East): I reviewed the St. Patrick's Day parade in Limerick; no costs were incurred. The Minister of State, Deputy O'Shea, reviewed a number of St. Patrick's Day parades in the Waterford const...More Button

Written Answers. - Domiciliary Care Allowance.

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) in County Donegal was considered ineligible for a domiciliary allowance; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): Payment of domiciliary care allowance in any individual case is a matter for the health board concerned. Accordingly, the Deputy's question has been referred to the chief executive of...More Button

Written Answers. - Visual Impairment.

Was asked: the number of people per county who are considered visually impaired; the number of these who are under 16; and the number over 16; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): There are no official statistics available for the number of persons with physical or sensory disabilities. However, estimates of the number of blind people are available from figures...More Button

Was asked: the support, if any, which is available for people between 16 and 18 years with a visual impairment; and the qualifying criteria which are in place for such support.More Button

Limerick East): The principal financial support available to people with a visual impairment between 16 and 18 years is disability allowance which is administered by the Minister for Social Welfare. ...More Button

Written Answers. - Ambulance Service.

Was asked: the current position in relation to the negotiations for emergency terms and conditions for ambulance drivers; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): I refer the Deputy to replies given on 26 September, 17 October and 11 February on this issue. I have already outlined that the report of the Review Group on the Ambulance Service was...More Button

Written Answers. - Physiotherapy and Speech Therapy Negotiations.

Was asked: the current position on the negotiations for improved terms and conditions for physiotherapists; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the current position on the negotiations for improved terms and conditions for speech therapists; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): I wish to take Questions Nos. 123 and 124 together. Physiotherapists and speech and language therapists, similar to all other paramedical professions, have benefited in full from all s...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Appointments.

Was asked: the current position on the provision of an opthamologist for Letterkenny, County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): The provision of an ophthalmologist for Letterkenny, County Donegal is a matter for the North Western Health Board in the first instance.More Button

Was asked: the current position on the provision of a second orthopaedic surgeon in Letterkenny Hospital, County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): The question of the provision of a second orthopaedic surgeon in Letterkenny General Hospital, County Donegal is a matter for the North-Western Health Board in the first instance. I ha...More Button

Written Answers. - Ministerial Appointments.

Was asked: the appointments made by him to State boards and State agencies under the aegis of his Department since he took office.More Button

Limerick East): The persons appointed to State boards and State agencies under the aegis of my Department, since my appointment as Minister are set out as follows. The appointments that have been made...More Button

Written Answers. - EU Funding.

Was asked: the EU funding received by his Department in 1996; the funding which it expects to receive in 1997; and the relevant funds and budget lines under which such funding is received.More Button

Limerick East): The only EU funding received directly by my Department is in respect of two health promotion projects and a research project. The first health promotion project, Smoking Cessation Pro...More Button

Written Answers. - Community Support Framework.

Was asked: if there are elements of positive discrimination exercised by his Department towards particular areas in view of the fact that areas of rural Ireland contribute substantially to our current Objective ...More Button

Limerick East): Equity is one of the key principles underlying the health strategy “Shaping A Healthier Future”. The aim of health policy is that access to healthcare will be determined by actual nee...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Services.

Was asked: the reason for the delay on the provision of an oncology unit at Waterford Regional Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): The management of health services, including the employment of staff, is a matter, in the first instance, for each health agency. A consultant oncologist was sanctioned by my Departme...More Button

Written Answers. - Hepatitis C Infection.

Was asked: the number of women affected by hepatitis C.More Button

Limerick East): In relation to the number of persons infected with hepatitis C through the administration in the State of blood and blood products, the following statistics are taken from figures supp...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Services.

Was asked: the agreements, if any, reached between his Department and the Meath Hospital, Adelaide Hospital and National Children's Hospital on the financial contributions to be made to his Department by the thr...More Button

Limerick East): The Adelaide Hospital Society, the Meath Hospital and the National Children's Hospital have recently approved proposals whereby they will fund the development or enhancement of agreed ...More Button

Written Answers. - Patient Transfer.

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be transferred from Mayo General Hospital to Merlin Park Hospital, County Galway, in view of the fact that he is in severe pain and urgently needs ...More Button

Limerick East): As the provision of health services to eligible persons in County Mayo is the statutory responsibility of the Western Health Board in the first instance I have asked the chief executiv...More Button

Written Answers. - General Medical Services.

Was asked: the name of each doctor, the address of his or her practice and the amount paid in fees and allowances by the General Medical Services Payments Board in 1996; if he will give comparative information i...More Button

Limerick East): The information sought by the Deputy is not readily available. However, I have asked the General Medical Services Payments Board to have the information collated and I will communicat...More Button

Written Answers. - Grant Payments.

Was asked: the reason sufficient funds have not been given to the health boards to enable them pay the various statutory grants available to citizens; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that health boar...More Button

Limerick East): I am pleased to set out in the following tables details of (a) health board non-capital allocations for the years 1994 to 1997, (b) approved overdraft facilities for 1997. In relation...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Appointments.

Was asked: when an announcement will be made in relation to the appointment of a general surgeon to south Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): The management of health services, including the employment of staff, is a matter, in the first instance, for each health agency. Approval for the filling of the post of consultant su...More Button

Was asked: when written confirmation of the financial arrangements for the consultant paediatrician appointments to south Tipperary will be forwarded by his Department to the South-Eastern Health Board; and if h...More Button

Limerick East): A consultant paediatrician was sanctioned by my Department in May 1996 for St. Joseph's Hospital, Clonmel. All such sanctions are subject to approval by Comhairle na n-Ospidéal, the ...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Services.

Was asked: if he is satisfied with the provision of facilities at the ENT unit at St. Michael's Hospital, Clonmel, County Tipperary; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the bathing and toilet facili...More Button

Limerick East): Monitoring of the standards of care provided for patients in psychiatric hospitals is carried out by the inspector of mental hospitals. In his most recent report of inspection of St. M...More Button

Written Answers. - Registration of Births.

Was asked: the procedure available to correct the birth record of a person (details supplied) who was registered in 1964 in error as male; if he will supply the necessary documents; and if he will make a stateme...More Button

Limerick East): The administration of the registration system is a matter for An t-Árd Chláraitheoir — Registrar General — of Births and Deaths and for local Registrars who operate under his general d...More Button

Written Answers. - Health Centre Facilities.

Was asked: the current position regarding the upgrading and development of the health centre facilities in Dungarvan, County Waterford.More Button

Limerick East): Major upgrading work and an extension of the existing health centre facilities in Dungarvan have been identified as a priority by the South-Eastern Health Board. Initial funding was p...More Button

Written Answers. - Orthodontic Service.

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) in County Cork will not be treated under the school treatment scheme in spite of being told by a dentist that she needed orthodontic treatment.More Button

Limerick East): As the provision of orthodontic treatment to eligible persons in County Cork is the statutory responsibility of the Southern Health Board I have asked its chief executive officer to in...More Button

Written Answers. - Child Care Act, 1991.

Was asked: the progress, if any, made to date in implementing the Child Care Act, 1991; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Limerick East): I signed the commencement order for Parts VII and VIII of the Child Care Act, 1991 on Wednesday, 18 December 1996. Regulations under Parts VII and VIII came into effect from the 31 De...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Waiting Lists.

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be called to Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9, for surgery in view of the fact that he has been waiting for a full year and is in severe pain.More Button

Limerick East): Inquiries were made into this matter. I understand that Beaumont Hospital has confirmed that the person in question is on its neurological waiting list. The hospital at this moment i...More Button

Written Answers. - Nurses' Pensions.

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the implications for the pensions of retired nurses of the Labour Court recommendations on nurses' remuneration.More Button

Limerick East): It is the Government's intention that retired nurses and other public servants will benefit from the local bargaining clause of the PCW pay agreement. The pay proposals developed to da...More Button

Written Answers. - Mohill (Leitrim) Health Centre.

Was asked: when work will commence at the health centre for Mohill, County Leitrim.More Button

Limerick East): As the Deputy will be aware, the provision of health centres in the Leitrim area is a matter for the North-Western Health Board in the first instance. My Department has received a list...More Button

Written Answers. - Alcoholic Lemonades.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the widespread concern at the sale of alcoholic lemonades; the action, if any, he has taken to allay such public concern; and if he will make a statement on the matt...More Button

Limerick East): I am aware of public concern with regard to the sale of alcoholic fruit drinks. Evidence available from UK-based research indicates that such drinks are particularly popular with unde...More Button

Written Answers. - Tribunal of Inquiry into the BTSB.

Was asked: if he will have arrangements made to have a number of copies of the transcript of the proceedings of a tribunal (details supplied) made available to interested parties to facilitate them in preparing ...More Button

Limerick East): The Hepatitis C Tribunal of Inquiry was established under the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act, 1921, as adapted by or under subsequent enactments, and the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evi...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Waiting Lists.

Was asked: if he will ensure that a person (details supplied) in County Mayo is called for a hip operation in the immediate future in view of the fact that he is in severe pain.More Button

Limerick East): Inquiries were made from Beaumont Hospital in this matter. I understand that the person concerned has an appointment to attend the consultant for assessment of his condition on 7 July...More Button

Written Answers. - Dermatological Service.

Was asked: if he will ensure that a person (details supplied) in County Mayo is given an appointment to see a dermatologist with the Western Health Board as a matter of urgency in view of the fact that he is in ...More Button

Limerick East): As the provision of dermatological services to eligible persons in County Mayo is the statutory responsibility of the Western Health Board in the first instance, I have asked its chief...More Button

Was asked: if EpiPen auto-injectors will be made available in accident and emergency units in hospitals.More Button

Limerick East): Before consideration could be given to making this medicine-delivery device available in accident and emergency units, it would have to have a product authorisation in this country. I...More Button

Written Answers. - Food Allergies.

Was asked: if he will assist people here to establish an anaphylaxis campaign association and provide funding for the establishment of such a campaign; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if there is any national allergy clinic here; and, if not, if he intends to establish one.More Button

Was asked: if he is satisfied with the level of allergy awareness here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if there is any full-time dedicated consultant working in the public health sector dealing with allergies and anaphylaxis.More Button

Was asked: if a national anaphylaxis campaign has been arranged to educate the public about life threatening food allergies, highlighting the importance of avoiding the allergen and the emergency treatment of an...More Button

Limerick East): I propose to take Questions Nos. 152 to 156, inclusive, together. Allergies arise from a very wide variety of causes and affect individuals in many different ways. Therefore, beyond a...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Staff.

Was asked: the number of personnel working in his office on a non-established basis; and the number of such personnel who have unlimited use of mobile telephones which are charged to or reimbursed by his Departm...More Button

Limerick East): The number of personnel working in my office on a non-established basis is four. Two of these persons have the use of mobile telephones, the costs of which are charged to my Departmen...More Button

Written Answers. - Implant Operations.

Was asked: the number of implant operations and procedures which have been carried out nationwide in the past five and ten years; the number of complaints or claims arising from these operations; if his attentio...More Button

Limerick East): As the Deputy will appreciate, the information sought is not routinely collected and it will take some time for the agencies involved to examine their records and collate the necessary...More Button

Written Answers. - Drug Treatment Services.

Was asked: whether the premises of the Meath Hospital, Dublin 8 will be used as a drug treatment centre after the hospital is moved to Tallaght, Dublin 24; whether it is proposed to consult with local residents'...More Button

Limerick East): The provision of drug treatment services in Dublin is a matter for the Eastern Health Board in the first instance. In considering locations for drug treatment centres, the board has r...More Button

Written Answers. - Mental Handicap Services.

Was asked: when he will publish the recently compiled database of persons with a mental handicap who require services; if he will give a commitment to allocate funding in proportion to the percentage of the wait...More Button

Written Answers. - Dermatological Service.

Was asked: if he will arrange an appointment for a person (details supplied) in County Mayo to see a dermatologist with the Western Health Board as a matter of urgency in view of the fact that he is in great dis...More Button

Limerick East): As the provision of dermatological services to eligible persons in County Mayo is the statutory responsibility of the Western Health Board I have asked the chief executive officer of t...More Button

Written Answers. - Hyperbaric Unit.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the need for a hyperbaric centre in the Cork region; and the plans, if any, he has for the provision of such a centre.More Button

Limerick East): My Department has received no proposals from the Southern Health Board regarding the installation of a hyperbaric unit which is used to treat patients who suffer “bends” as a result of...More Button

Written Answers. - Cancer Services.

Was asked: if the implications of his cancer plan in respect of the treatment of cancer patients between three general hospitals (details supplied) in the Midland Health Board region will result in these hospita...More Button

Limerick East): Further to the report on “Cancer Services in Ireland: A National Strategy”, a regional director has recently been appointed for cancer services in the Midland Health Board. The region...More Button

Written Answers. - Services for the Elderly.

Was asked: the proposals, if any, with his Department from the Midland Health Board to fund additional geriatric beds in Birr and Tullamore, County Offaly; if so, the status of such proposals; if a commitment wi...More Button

Limerick East): The provision of long-stay beds for the elderly in the Tullamore and Birr areas is a matter for the Midland Health Board. Following the publication of the Health Strategy, the Midland ...More Button

Written Answers. - Animal Health Controls.

Was asked: the steps, if any, his Department has taken to protect public health arising out of a report by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, about high levels of antibiotic residue in pork produc...More Button

Limerick East): The veterinary services of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and, where appropriate, the veterinary services operated by local authorities under the Abattoirs Act, 1988,...More Button

Written Answers. - Reporting of Child Abuse.

Was asked: the alternatives, if any, he proposes to put in place to assist those who wish to report allegations of child abuse without fear of libel action in view of the Government's decision not to proceed wit...More Button

Limerick East): Throughout 1996 my colleague Deputy Currie, Minister of State with special responsibility for child care, hosted a consultative process on mandatory reporting. The process examined no...More Button

Written Answers. - Day Care Centres.

Was asked: the applications, if any, he has received with regard to a replacement day care centre for Teach Mhuire, Mayfield, Cork city; if he intends to give financial support in the 1997 financial year to this...More Button

Limerick East): As the Deputy will be aware, the development of a day care centre for the elderly in Mayfield, Cork city is the responsibility of the Southern Health Board. The Southern Health Board i...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Services.

Was asked: the submissions, if any, he has received from the Cork branch of the Post-Natal Distress Group on their request for a mother and baby unit in the maternity complex planned for Cork University Hospital...More Button

Limerick East): As the Deputy will be aware, during 1996 my Department gave the go ahead to the establishment of a project team comprising medical, nursing, technical and managerial personnel to plan...More Button


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