Cowen, Brian

Tuesday, 15 June 1999

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 506 No. 2

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Written Answers. - Speech Therapy Services.

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kerry in special education is not currently receiving speech therapy and has never received speech therapy on a one-to-one basis; the plans, if any, he...More Button

The provision of health services in County Kerry is a matter, in the first instance, for the Southern Health Board. As it would not be appropriate to provide the information sought by the Deputy in re...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Doctors.

Was asked: the position regarding the hours worked by junior doctors, having regard to the recent EU Council meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

It is the responsibility of local hospital management to roster non-consultant hospital doctors taking into account the nature of the clinical service to be provided. The basic working week of all NCH...More Button

Written Answers. - Speech Therapy Services.

Was asked: the arrangements, if any, he is putting in place for the provision of speech therapy services in the Shankill, Ballybrack and Loughlinstown areas of south County Dublin; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

The provision of speech and language therapy services is a matter for the relevant health board. Accordingly, the Deputy's question has been referred to the chief executive officer, Eastern Health Boa...More Button

Written Answers. - Voluntary Agency Funding.

Was asked: if he will provide the financial support requested by an organisation (details supplied) in Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The provision of funding to voluntary agencies for services to people with physical and sensory disabilities is a matter for the relevant health board in whose functional area the services are being s...More Button

Written Answers. - Alternative Medicines.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Irish Medicines Board has announced a major crackdown on vitamins, herbal products and other food supplements and is seeking to have them re-classi...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to an article (details supplied) on 28 May 1999 indicating that the Irish Medicines Board intended to scrutinise certain health products; if this scrutiny will apply to...More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 219 and 272 together. The Medicinal Products (Licensing and Sale) Regulations, 1998, which give effect to Council Directive 65/65/EEC, require that all medicinal pro...More Button

Written Answers. - Dental Services.

Was asked: the reason for the delay in the promised extension of dental cover to school going children up to the age of 16; and if he will make a statement on the matter indicating the prospective date for its i...More Button

Was asked: if dental treatment will be made available to school children up to the age of 16 and not stopped at the age of 14; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Dental treatment services for children are being developed in accordance with the dental health action plan. The plan provides for the extension of eligibility for dental services to children after th...More Button

Written Answers. - Public Health Review.

Was asked: the reason for the delay in appointing a chairperson for the public health review; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A shortlist of candidates regarded as suitable for appointment as chairperson has been agreed in consultation with the Irish Medical Organisation. The list of candidates is currently under considerati...More Button

Written Answers. - Control of Infectious Diseases.

Was asked: the formal out of hours on call arrangements in place in each of the health boards for the management and control of infectious diseases and, in particular, meningitis and E.Coli 0157; his views on wh...More Button

Arrangements for the management and control of infectious diseases are the responsibility of individual health boards. There are no formal out of hours on call arrangements in place in this regard. Th...More Button

Written Answers. - Speech Therapy Services.

Was asked: the number of primary school children awaiting speech therapy in the west Waterford area; and the average waiting period for therapy to commence.More Button

There are currently 124 primary school children awaiting speech and language therapy services in the west Waterford area and the average waiting period for therapy to commence is 37 months.More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Services.

Was asked: the assessment, if any, his Department has made on the continuing and growing need for dialysis services at Waterford Regional Hospital to cater for kidney dialysis patients within the region; and if ...More Button

The provision of renal dialysis at Waterford Regional Hospital is a matter for the South Eastern Health Board in the first instance. A new dialysis unit was opened there in March 1997, catering for 32...More Button

Written Answers. - Grant Payments.

Was asked: the reason the processing of an application under the nursing home subvention scheme with the South Eastern Health Board for a person (details supplied) in County Wexford is experiencing such a delay;...More Button

Written Answers. - Inter-Country Adoptions.

Was asked: the situation regarding the application by a person (details supplied) in County Dublin for an inter-country adoption assessment by the Eastern Health Board.More Button

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has to provide extra staff to deal with the crisis in the South Eastern Health Board in the matter of home study reports for couples who wish to avail of foreign adoptions; a...More Button

Written Answers. - Nursing Staff.

Was asked: the number of nurses employed at Mullingar, Tullamore and Portlaoise general hospitals at 1 April 1999, or nearest suitable date, for each of the past ten years.More Button

The principal source of data on nursing employment levels is my Department's annual personnel census. The number of nurses employed, on a whole-time equivalent basis at 31 December in the years 1989 t...More Button

Written Answers. - Grant Payments.

Was asked: the conditions governing the payment of a subvention for a patient in a private nursing home; if these conditions are applied uniformly across the eight health board areas; the way in which the income...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Charges.

Was asked: if he will examine the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12 whose husband suffers from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, has a medical card and has been told that she needs a test whic...More Button

The determination of eligibility for health services to individuals is the responsibility of the chief executive officer of the appropriate health board. I, as Minister for Health and Children, do not...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Services.

Was asked: the reason for the 18 month delay in providing a hip and knee operation for a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny who is a public patient and holder of a medical card; if the case will be exp...More Button

The provision of medical treatment to eligible persons in County Kilkenny in this instance is the statutory responsibility of the South Eastern Health Board. I have asked the chief executive officer o...More Button

Written Answers. - Autism Services.

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway is unable to take up a vacancy for autistic people at Clybaun Heights, Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The provision of health services in County Galway is a matter, in the first instance, for the Western Health Board. As it would not be appropriate to provide the information sought by the Deputy in re...More Button

Written Answers. - Mental Health Services.

Was asked: if funding will be approved for office space for community support staff at Lanesboro Street, Roscommon, following the deputation with the Brothers of Charity; and if he will make a statement on the m...More Button

I recently met representatives of the Brothers of Charity services and the County Roscommon Association for the Mentally Handicapped together with local representatives, including Deputy Naughten. The...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Waiting Lists.

Was asked: the efforts, if any, he is making to speed up out-patient appointments with consultants in public hospitals having regard to the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 17; and if he will make a...More Button

With regard to this patient, I have asked the chief executive officers of the Mater Misericordiae Hospital and Beaumont Hospital to investigate the position in this case and, given the particular cir...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Services.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that there is enough medical equipment and space in the kidney dialysis unit of Beaumont Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Beaumont Hospital is the national renal transplantation centre. It also provides renal dialysis services for chronic dialysis patients within its catchment area and it also receives acute referrals fr...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Waiting Lists.

Was asked: the efforts, if any, he is making to speed up hospital appointments having regard to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5 who is waiting two and a half years for an angiogram in Beaumont Hospital; ...More Button

As the determination of in-patient appointments is a matter for the hospital authorities in the first instance, based on a clinical assessment of need, I have asked the chief executive officer of Bea...More Button

Written Answers. - Home Help Service.

Was asked: the amount of money payable nationally for the home help system; his views on whether adequate funding is available for this very essential service; the rate per hour formerly payable and the new rate...More Button

Written Answers. - Care of the Elderly.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that adequate facilities are available for the elderly who can no longer be cared for at home; and the number of hospital and other beds that are available for the elderly ...More Button

Economic and social progress and improved health services have combined to reduce premature mortality. The Government recognises the challenge to the health services of a rapid increase in the popula...More Button

Written Answers. - Funding Applications.

Was asked: if an application has been made by an organisation (details supplied) in County Meath for the long-term future of its trainees; if a request for funding towards their further employment will be approv...More Button

There is no record in my Department of an application of the kind referred to by the Deputy. If the Deputy wishes to raise a specific issue with me, I will arrange to have it examined by my Department...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospitals Building Programme.

Was asked: the progress, if any, made in the formation of a project team to advance phase 2B of Mullingar General Hospital; the brief given to this team; the timescale for this team to report; and when work will...More Button

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that I have approved the appointment of a project team for the development of phase 2B of Longford-Westmeath General Hospital, Mullingar. The process of making appoin...More Button

Written Answers. - Medical Cards.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to review the medical card system to allow a medical card to be issued for life to disabled persons in their own right; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the reason persons suffering from mental illness, particularly long-term mental illness, have to make a fresh application for medical card entitlement each year; if he will grant certain categories of...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 241 and 248 together.More Button

Written Answers. - Travel Passes.

Was asked: the assistance, if any, which will be extended by way of a travel pass to persons (details supplied) in County Kilkenny who suffer from epilepsy and have to travel to Dublin from Kilkenny for treatmen...More Button

The provision of services to eligible persons in County Kilkenny in this instance is the statutory responsibility of the South-Eastern Health Board. I have asked the chief executive officer of the boa...More Button

Written Answers. - Births to Non-Nationals.

Was asked: the number of babies born to non-nationals to date in 1999; the comparison figures for each of the years from 1995 to 1998; the number of babies born where either parent is not an Irish citizen; and i...More Button

Statistics on the number of babies born to non-nationals in this country are not routinely collected on that basis by the hospitals concerned. However, I am aware that at one maternity hospital the nu...More Button

Written Answers. - Drug Payment Scheme.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the extreme difficulty caused by the new drug payment scheme; if people are now confined to one chemist where previously they could choose from chemists for their sc...More Button

The position is that, with effect from 1 July 1999 the existing drugs cost subsidisation and drug refund schemes will be merged into one new drug payment scheme, with a threshold of £42 per month per ...More Button

Written Answers. - Support Services.

Was asked: the additional assistance, if any, which will be given to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 who cares for her husband who has Alzheimer's disease; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The provision of support services to persons such as those referred to by the Deputy, is a matter for the local health board, in this case the Eastern Health Board. I have asked the chief executive of...More Button

Written Answers. - Licensing of Medicines.

Was asked: the action, if any, he will take to regulate the supply and sale of unlicensed medicines following the intervention of the Irish Medicines Board recently; the further actions, if any, he will take to ...More Button

The sale or supply of medicinal products is governed by the Medicinal Products (Licensing and Sale) Regulations 1998. These regulations require that all medicinal products placed on the market must be...More Button

Written Answers. - Ambulance Service.

Was asked: if nurses are being withdrawn from ambulance duty in all health board areas; the extent and rationale in this regard; if he has satisfied himself that there will be no drop in the level of medical exp...More Button

Government policy in relation to the development of the ambulance service is as set out in the report of the review group on the ambulance service. With regard to the role of nurses in the ambulance s...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Waiting Lists.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the long waiting time for a kidney scope, which is itself only a diagnostic tool; and the plans, if any, he has to deal with this problem.More Button

My Department does not collect data on waiting lists or waiting times for kidney scopes. If the Deputy wishes to supply further details regarding this issue, I will have it examined.More Button

Written Answers. - Eating Disorders.

Was asked: the estimated prevalence of eating disorders; and if he will give a breakdown between male and female patients.More Button

Was asked: the number of dedicated beds available to persons suffering from eating disorders; the way in which this compares with international ratios for the provision of these services; and if he will make a s...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 250 and 252 together. There is no universally accepted estimate of the prevalence of eating disorders. Eating disorders can be extremely serious for those affected and...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a number of treatments available for patients with eating disorders are not covered by the medical card such as at a clinic (details supplied) and that...More Button

Under arrangements for public hospital services introduced in June 1991, on foot of the Health (Amendment) Act, 1991, everyone, regardless of income, is entitled to public hospital and public consult...More Button

Written Answers. - Ambulance Service.

Was asked: the number of ambulances dedicated to transporting non-ambulance patients to and from hospital services; and his views on whether this number is sufficient for the need in this respect.More Button

The provision of ambulance services is the statutory responsibility of health boards, the deployment of resources to emergency or non-emergency duties is, therefore, a matter for the health boards in ...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Services.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to a situation (details supplied) where people not residing in the catchment area of certain hospitals are being turned away; and if he will make a statement on the mat...More Button

Each of the major Dublin acute hospitals provides a local service to its immediate hinterland. However, referral is a matter for the general practitioner in the first instance, exercising his-her clin...More Button

Written Answers. - Cardiac Services.

Was asked: the position in relation to plans for the development of cardiology services at Cork University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The provision of cardiology services at Cork University Hospital is a matter for the Southern Health Board in the first instance. My Department has been working in close collaboration with the Souther...More Button

Written Answers. - Access to Hospital.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the possible access problems for emergency services at Cork University Hospital as highlighted in the hospital's recent traffic management report; if he will request...More Button

The physical infrastructure, including the access at Cork University Hospital is a matter for the Southern Health Board. I understand this matter is under consideration by the Southern Health Board in...More Button

Written Answers. - Services for People with Disabilities.

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has to help those who suffer from post polio syndrome; the plans, if any, he has to classify this in the long-term illness scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matt...More Button

In common with other voluntary sector groups providing services for people with physical and sensory disabilities, requisite action arising in the context of the post polio support group is based on t...More Button

Written Answers. - Medical Aids and Appliances.

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary suffering from epilepsy and needing a stabiliser is not receiving the necessary medical device; and if he will make a statement on the matter...More Button

The provision of medical treatment to eligible persons in this instance is the responsibility of Beaumont Hospital. I have asked the chief executive officer of the hospital to investigate the position...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Charges.

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) in County Waterford admitted to St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, as a public patient was liable for a payment for professional attendances; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

The provision of services in this instance is the responsibility of St. Vincent's Hospital. I have asked the chief executive officer of the hospital to investigate the position in relation to this cas...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Waiting Lists.

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) in County Sligo will be called for an immediate appointment in view of the fact that she is unable to work and is in pain; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The provision of medical treatment to eligible persons in County Sligo is the statutory responsibility of the North-Western Health Board in the first instance. I have asked the chief executive officer...More Button

Written Answers. - Child Care Services.

Was asked: if he will review the way in which the health board guidelines apply to crèche facilities and those engaged in the child care business in view of the belief that these are too stringent.More Button

The purpose of the Child Care (Pre-School Services) Regulations 1996, is to build on the existing good standards in our pre-school services and gradually improve standards throughout the sector to sec...More Button

Written Answers. - Medical Aids and Appliances.

Was asked: if a motorised wheelchair and a pendant alarm will be provided for a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8 who is a total invalid and hopes to move into a house alone.More Button

The provision of aids an appliances in any individual case is a matter for the relevant health board. Accordingly, I have referred the details of the case provided by the Deputy to the chief executive...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Services.

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8 who suffered brain damage as a result of a blackout and has been hospitalised since August 1998 will be transferred to the unit in Cherry Orchard in view of ...More Button

Cherry Orchard Hospital is administered by the Eastern Health Board, and I have, therefore, asked the chief executive officer of the board to look into the case in question and reply directly to the D...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Management.

Was asked: the management and administrative structure in a number of hospitals (details supplied); the salaries which apply to each grade; the objective criteria and management model which were applied in arriv...More Button

Because of the variety and complexity of hospitals, it is not possible to devise rigid categories for their management structures. However, some years ago, in the context of strengthening management i...More Button

Written Answers. - Dental Services.

Was asked: the nature and extent of the dental service provided for national school children; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Health boards have adopted a planned targeted approach to the delivery of dental services to national school children and have phased out a demand led system. This is to ensure the optimum use of dent...More Button

Written Answers. - Services for Coeliacs.

Was asked: the arrangements for each health board region for providing free bread to coeliacs; if this bread is made available through the chemist; if so, if there is a charge; and if he will make a statement on...More Button

Written Answers. - Orthodontic Services.

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) in County Galway will be called for orthodontic treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the provision of orthodontic treatment to eligible persons in County Galway is the statutory responsibility of the Western Health Board, I have asked the chief executive officer of the Western Heal...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Services.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the need for the provision of an additional ultra sound machine at Blanchardstown Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In 1999 £145,000 was allocated to James Connolly Memorial Hospital for the purchase of medical equipment and minor capital. It is the responsibility of hospital managers to identify and to prioritise ...More Button

Written Answers. - Community Drug Schemes.

Was asked: if he will report on the longterm illness scheme; the illnesses covered by the scheme; and the proposals, if any, he has to review the scheme in the near future in view of the fact the scheme has not ...More Button

The long-term illness scheme entitles persons to free drugs and medicines which are prescribed in respect of a specific schedule of illnesses. The illnesses covered by this scheme are: mental handica...More Button

Written Answers. - Residential Centres.

Was asked: if he will make funds available to a residential centre (details supplied) in County Kildare in order to improve security following a recent incident.More Button

The residential centre referred to by the Deputy is run by the Eastern Health Board. I understand from the board that, following recent incidents in the centre in question, the management of the centr...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Waiting Lists.

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8 will be given a hip replacement operation in view of the fact she has been told it cannot be done in 1999 due to bed shortages; and if he will make a state...More Button

The provision of treatment in this case is the responsibility, in the first instance, of the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Dublin, incorporating the National Children's Hospital. I have, therefore, ask...More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in Dublin 10 will have an operation performed in Tallaght Hospital in view of the fact she has been called three times in the past six months; and if he will make a st...More Button

The provision of treatment in this case is the responsibility, in the first instance, of the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Dublin, incorporating the National Children's Hospital. I have, therefore, ask...More Button

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath who is currently a patient in Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, will be admitted immediately to St. Vincent's Hospital in Dublin to see a neurologis...More Button

The provision of medical treatment in this instance is the responsibility of the voluntary hospital concerned. I have asked the chief executive officer of the hospital to investigate this case and to ...More Button

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath will be immediately admitted to Tullamore General Hospital for a hip replacement operation in view of the fact she is suffering great pain; and if he...More Button

The provision of medical treatment to eligible persons in County Westmeath is the statutory responsibility of the Midland Health Board in the first instance. I have asked the chief executive officer o...More Button

Written Answers. - Alzheimer's Disease.

Was asked: the number of day and residential centres available for the care of Alzheimer's patients on Dublin's northside; and the plans, if any, he has to tackle the shortfall.More Button

Written Answers. - Surgical Procedures.

Was asked: the number of people from County Mayo on the waiting list for orthopaedic operations for each of the years from 1997 to 1999.More Button

Was asked: the number of people from County Mayo who had orthopaedic procedures carried out in Galway in each of the years from 1997 to date.More Button

Was asked: the number of people from County Mayo who had orthopaedic procedures carried out in Dublin in each of the years from 1997 to date.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 278 to 280, inclusive, together. Information in the form requested by the Deputy is not routinely collected by my Department. I have asked the chief executive officer ...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Accommodation.

Was asked: if there is a current policy of segregating elderly patients aged 60 and over once they are admitted to general hospitals; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There is no general policy of segregating elderly patients on admission to acute hospitals. Decisions on the appropriate accommodation for individual patients would be taken at local level in accorda...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Waiting Lists.

Was asked: his views on the reply received from a Dublin hospital on behalf of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12 that an urgent operation which he needs will be considered for a booking date in approximat...More Button

As the Deputy may be aware the scheduling of admission to hospital is a matter for the consultant concerned and is determined solely on the basis of medical priority. Should the person referred to fee...More Button

Written Answers. - Community Drug Schemes.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the hardship created by the changes in the drugs refund scheme; and the plans, if any, he has to lower the limit which people have to spend, particularly for older p...More Button

The position is that, with effect from 1 July 1999, the existing drugs cost subsidisation and drug refund schemes will be merged into one new drug payment scheme with a threshold of £42 per month per ...More Button

Written Answers. - Housing Aid for the Elderly.

Was asked: if the maximum amount payable under the housing aid for the elderly scheme administered by the health boards is set by his Department; when the last increase in this grant was given; the proposals, if...More Button

Written Answers. - Services for People with Disabilities.

Was asked: the financial assistance, if any, granted by his Department or the South Eastern Health Board to the O'Neill Centre, Kilkenny; if his Department is considering any proposals in relation to the centre;...More Button

The provision of funding for services for people with physical and sensory disabilities is a matter for the relevant health board in whose functional area the service is provided. Each board decides, ...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Waiting Lists.

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15 will have a hip operation.More Button

The provision of treatment in this case is the responsibility, in the first instance, of the hospital concerned. The Deputy should therefore ascertain which hospital this person is attending and ask t...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Services.

Was asked: if free travel will be authorised for a person (details supplied) in County Sligo for her appointment in Beaumount Hospital, Dublin 9; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The provision of medical services to eligible persons in County Sligo is the statutory responsibility of the North Western Health Board in the first instance. The associated travel arrangements are al...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Waiting Lists.

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Galway will be called for a hip replacement operation to Cappagh Hospital, Dublin 11; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The provision of medical services in this instance is the responsibility of St. Mary's Orthopaedic Hospital, Cappagh. I have asked the secretary manager of the hospital to investigate the position reg...More Button

Written Answers. - Hepatitis Incidence.

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 56 of 3 June 1999 the number of cases of viral hepatitis type B which have been reported for the first five months of 1999; the measures, if any, he will take in ...More Button

In the period 1 January to 28 May 1999, 45 cases of viral hepatitis type B were notified to my Department. This represents a reduction of 30 over the number of cases reported in the same period last y...More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Services.

Was asked: the progress, if any, on new theatre facilities at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, Dublin 12 (details supplied).More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that the development of enhanced theatre facilities at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, is proceeding without delay. The design team for the development has ...More Button


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