Harney, Mary

Thursday, 10 February 2005

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 597 No. 4

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Order of Business.

It is proposed to take No. 1 the Garda Síochána Bill 2004 [Seanad] — Second Stage; and No. 15 the Driver Testing and Standards Authority Bill 2004 — Second Stage (Resumed).More Button

Deputy Bruton asked about the report of the monitoring committee. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform will make a statement when the report is published. Our thoughts today are with the ...More Button

We have established 13 nursing schools in recent years.More Button

We have invested capital expenditure of €240 million in the development of such schools.More Button

Everybody has acknowledged that it is a substantial amount of money. Most independent analysis supports that.More Button

Nurses from Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and many European countries are going overseas as well. The report into the death of Róisín Ruddle contains recommendations about gaps, par...More Button

It is obvious that Deputies will be given copies of the report. I am sure they would like an opportunity to study it. Some of the issues raised in the report were discussed during the debate on the Pr...More Button

Not in the House today, no.More Button

I assume Deputies would like an opportunity to study the report before it is discussed in the House. I would have thought that such an approach would be better.More Button

I understand there will be questions on the matter today. It is not correct to suggest that there is a nursing crisis.More Button

Perhaps Deputy Ó Caoláin or Deputy Ó Snodaigh had the rope.More Button

The heads of the Údarás na Gaeltachta Bill will be published later this year. I do not think they will be published before the elections in early April.More Button

The Bill will be published in this session.More Button

Yes.More Button

The Minister will bring the Bill back to the Cabinet.More Button

I do not intend to anticipate the contents of the Bill.More Button

The Bill will be published later this year. I will discuss it with the relevant Minister to see whether it can be introduced sooner.More Button

They are the doctor-only medical cards. For somebody who was so critical, the Deputy seems very anxious about them. As I stated previously, in light of legal advice, legislation is required and it wil...More Button

It is not.More Button

I am delighted the Deputy is anxious to have them issued given that she was very critical of them at first.More Button

The idea is that they will be issued in April.More Button

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform tells me he will be ready to present the relevant legislation to Government in a couple of weeks.More Button

I believe it is almost ready to go to Government and will be dealt with this session.More Button

The legislation will be introduced later this year.More Button

I will not comment on the content of the Bill. The Deputy will have to wait to see it.More Button

The Bill on the constitutional treaty will not be presented to the House before Easter. It will be after Easter and before the summer. The building control Bill will be introduced in autumn of this ye...More Button

The Taoiseach indicated on Tuesday that legislation will be published this session.More Button

We did not take the roof off it.More Button

I understand the Bill will be published this week.More Button

It is to put into effect the budgetary provisions. All Members are aware of that.More Button

The company law consolidation and reform Bill has nothing to do with Shannon Development, as the Deputy well knows. We will do whatever is in the best interest of the region.More Button

Time will be allowed later this year.More Button

Priority Questions - Hospital Waiting Lists.

Was asked: if the national treatment purchase fund is in a position to take responsibility for outpatients department waiting lists for individual hospitals to streamline access to secondary care for patients in...More Button

In accordance with the health strategy, the immediate focus has been on the reduction of waiting lists and waiting times for inpatient and day-case treatments in acute hospitals. The national treatmen...More Button

I largely share Deputy Twomey’s perspective. The NTPF was established as a universal insurer for those waiting a long time for appointments. The idea was that the fund would have a very focused, targe...More Button

Yes.More Button

The Deputy is correct in what he is implying. Not only doctors say that. Sometimes going to an accident and emergency unit is the only way people can get to see a consultant. However, it is adding to ...More Button

Priority Questions - Industrial Disputes.

Was asked: the measures she is taking to protect patient care, in view of the decision by hospital consultants to ballot for industrial action; the outcome of the promised meeting of legal teams; if she has sati...More Button

It is regrettable that the Irish Hospital Consultants’ Association and the Irish Medical Organisation are contemplating industrial action in pursuit of a resolution of the dispute over medical indemni...More Button

There is a misunderstanding. The arrangements with the MPS were also offered to the MDU. When the MDU complained to the European Commission, it held that the procedures were fair. The British Governme...More Button

My comments were similar to those of Mr. Justice Johnston. The MDU should meet its responsibilities. This has gone on for far too long. Obstetricians are not the only ones affected. Mr. Young from St....More Button

Two issues arise. From the perspective of State aids, if an unfavourable deal was done with one group, namely, the MDU that would have implications for the MPS which at all stages made it clear that i...More Button

Priority Questions - Accident and Emergency Services.

Was asked: if it is proposed to proceed with the configuration of accident and emergency services in the State’s hospitals as proposed in the Hanly report; if so, the way in which it will be put into effect in e...More Button

The Government has already undertaken specific investment measures to provide new and improved accident and emergency departments in hospitals, to increase the number of emergency medicine consultants...More Button

The key recommendation in the Hanly report is that we need more manpower at consultant level throughout the country. Although the genesis to the Hanly report was the working time directive, its remit ...More Button

The position of counties Cavan and Monaghan is a good example.More Button

The two counties have a population of probably 120,000 to 140,000, and both have a hospital. In that context, it is not possible for both hospitals to have all the resources and specialties we would w...More Button

There are many hospitals. We need to learn from our experience and best practice, and we need to bring services as close to people as possible in a safe environment. This is what we are trying to achi...More Button

No, it is for many specialties. One cannot provide a regional service with one consultant or, in some cases where they visit on an outpatient basis from time to time, no consultant.More Button

The purpose of the reform agenda is focused on priorities regarding increased numbers and increased usage of beds. Following a survey of 4,000 patients, Dr. Conor Burke of James Connolly Memorial Hosp...More Button

Priority Questions - Mental Health Services.

Was asked: the details of the consultations between her Department and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform in relation to siting a psychiatric hospital in the grounds of the new prison; her views ...More Button

Priority Questions - Health Services.

Was asked: the reason she has commissioned a report from experts on the Tuam Hospital project given that the Western Health Board has already prepared a planning brief which was lodged with her Department in 200...More Button

Other Questions - Nursing Home Subventions.

Was asked: if she has plans to change the criteria for supplementary subvention as provided by health boards to bring it more into line with current nursing home costs; and if she will make a statement on the ma...More Button

Was asked: if she has plans to increase the maximum rate of supplementary subvention that is awarded to patients going into nursing homes; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if she has plans to increase subvention rates for nursing home care; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Other Questions - Hospital Staff.

Was asked: if she had discussions with the Health Service Executive to consider changing the date of the changeover of NCHDs to a time that is less likely to put patients at risk; and if she will make a statemen...More Button

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the concerns expressed by a senior accident and emergency consultant to the HSE at the risks for patients arising from the total change of NCHD staff occurring at 1 ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 7 and 105 together. I am informed by the Health Service Executive employer representative division that it has been in discussion with the Irish Medical Organisation o...More Button

I agree with the Deputy. In any event 1 January is a bank holiday. It is not an appropriate day to start a new job, either from the employer’s or the doctor’s point of view. I hope we can reach agreem...More Button

Other Questions - Hospital Services.

Was asked: the number of persons treated with radiotherapy at a private clinic in Galway; the intended number of patients that will be treated in any one year; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be deli...More Button

To be fair to Deputy Ó Caoláin, he probably did not hear my answer. The Galway facility is in place. I visited it in January. It will treat patients in March. Approximately 102 staff have been trained...More Button

I have not yet finalised my view on the report. I support the view that two centres are needed in Dublin. The report suggests a need for 35 more linear accelerators over the next few years. We need to...More Button

There is no doubt the mix system has worked well in Ireland. I am a strong supporter of people making investment in the provision of their own health care while they can. We will get more resources in...More Button

Other Questions - Hospital Charges.

Was asked: the reason the increase in the drugs refund threshold, the cost of an overnight stay in a hospital and the cost of a visit to an accident and emergency were implemented from 1 January 2005 when it is ...More Button

On the issue of the January 2005 increases in hospital charges in question, it should be noted that such increases follow on from the announcement in November 2004 of the 2005 health Estimates. The ov...More Button

Written Answers - Pharmacy Regulations.

Was asked: the latest position regarding her consideration of the report of the pharmacy review group; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The pharmacy review group submitted its report to the previous Minister for Health and Children on 31 January 2003 and it was published in February 2004. The Deputy will appreciate the complex issues ...More Button

Written Answers - General Medical Services Scheme.

Was asked: her plans to encourage more general practitioners to work in certain areas of Dublin in which the ratio of patients to general practitioners exceeds 3,000 patients to one doctor; and if she will make ...More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be deli...More Button

Written Answers - Health Services.

Was asked: her plans for the delivery of services in primary care, medical and surgical facilities, special hospital needs and community services; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

With effect from 1 January 2005, under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive has responsibility for the delivery of health services. Under section 31(1) of the Act, the executive is oblige...More Button

Was asked: the action she proposes to take on foot of the Health Research Board findings of wide variations in the use of electroconvulsive therapy between the health board areas; if she has satisfied herself th...More Button

Written Answers - Health Service Staff.

Was asked: the progress made with regard to the recruitment of a chief executive for the Health Service Executive; when it is expected that an appointment will be made; and if she will make a statement on the ma...More Button

I have discussed the progress made to date regarding the recruitment of a chief executive officer of the Health Service Executive with the chairman of the Health Service Executive. The chairman, who a...More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Staff.

Was asked: the position regarding the application of the European working time directive to non-consultant hospital doctors; if the directive is being implemented in all hospitals; if she will report on the impa...More Button

The provisions of the European working time directive as it relates to the working hours of doctors in training came into force on 1 August 2004. The relevant provisions were transposed into Irish law...More Button

Written Answers - Influenza Pandemic.

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to recent concerns expressed that this country may not be adequately prepared to deal with any flu pandemic; the procedures which are in place to deal with such a situa...More Button

Was asked: if consultants have not been co-operating with the committee set up to deal with the possible flu pandemic; the action she intends to take in regard to same; and if she will make a statement on the ma...More Button

Was asked: if she will report on the Government’s preparations for a possible flu pandemic, her views on whether there are not sufficient supplies of effective anti-viral drugs; and if she will make a statement ...More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 16, 46 and 62 together. Ireland’s first influenza pandemic preparedness plan was finalised in 2002. “A Model Plan for Influenza Pandemic Preparedness” was prepared b...More Button

Written Answers - Alcohol Abuse.

Was asked: the progress made to date with regard to implementation of the recent report of the strategic task force on alcohol; if it is intended to implement the recommendations of the report; if she has brough...More Button

Written Answers - Health Service Staff.

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the recent warning from the IMO and the IHCA of the possibility of industrial action unless her Department adopts a more conciliatory approach to a number of industr...More Button

It is regrettable that the Irish Hospital Consultants Association and the Irish Medical Organisation should have decided to take industrial action in pursuit of a resolution of the dispute surrounding...More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Accommodation.

Was asked: if the CAPITA report has been fully implemented; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A joint steering committee involving representatives of health service management and representatives of the nursing unions is at present working towards the implementation of the recommendations of t...More Button

Written Answers - Health Strategy.

Was asked: if there will be no large scale investment in primary care in 2005; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when the primary care strategy will be implemented; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: her views on the fact that by the end of 2005, €12 million out of a projected €1 billion will have been spent on the primary care strategy, half way through the proposed lifespan of this strategy; and...More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 21, 44 and 106 together. The primary health care strategy, “Primary Care: A New Direction”, which was published in 2001, sets out the Government’s broad vision for t...More Button

Written Answers - Children in Care.

Was asked: if she will examine the case of a person (details supplied); if she will review the procedures to prevent this traumatic situation being repeated in other circumstances; and if she will investigate wh...More Button

Written Answers - Irish Blood Transfusion Service.

Was asked: her views on the internal audit carried out by the IBTS which found that blood products had been sold to commercial interests without the knowledge or consent of the donors concerned; if she has satis...More Button

On 3 December last, I received a copy of an internal audit report of the Irish Blood Transfusion Services Board, IBTS, on discard blood products. The audit involved a search of available records to de...More Button

Written Answers - Control of Infectious Diseases.

Was asked: the most recent steps she has taken to deal with the MRSA problem in hospitals; if there is evidence that this new strategy is working; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the steps being taken to control the spread of the MRSA in our hospitals; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 24 and 28 together. The strategy for the control of antimicrobial resistance, SARI, was launched in June 2001. Since then, approximately €20.5 million in funding has...More Button

Written Answers - Ambulance Service.

Was asked: her proposals for the building of a new ambulance base in Monaghan town; if she will report on its stage of development; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, HSE, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be...More Button

Written Answers - Health Service Executive.

Was asked: the amount spent by the HSE on developing its logo; and the cost incurred by all areas under the control of the HSE for stationery and other changes demanded to implement its new logo policy.More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its...More Button

Written Answers - Health Strategy.

Was asked: her views on the construction of health centres with general practitioners and pharmacies on site but financed by private developers; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: her plans for private investment in the primary health sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 27 and 41 together. The strategy “Primary Care: A New Direction” recognises that the provision of modern, well equipped, accessible premises will be central to the e...More Button

Written Answers - Patient Statistics.

Was asked: the number of high dependency patients under the care of the HSE; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Ministerial Meetings.

Was asked: if she will report on her meeting with the Cancer Care Alliance on 31 January 2005; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I met with a delegation from the Cancer Care Alliance last week which included representatives from the western, north-western and south-eastern areas. I listened carefully to the delegates’ views con...More Button

Written Answers - Accident and Emergency Services.

Was asked: if, in regard to the package of measures announced by her Department in the Estimates to improve accident and emergency services, she will list those measures implemented to date; the timetable for th...More Button

Was asked: if she will report on progress since 1 January 2005 in her efforts to address the crisis in hospital accident and emergency units, in particular the unit at Tallaght Hospital; and if she will make a s...More Button

Was asked: if the proposed introduction of three acute medical units in Dublin hospitals has now been agreed with the hospital consultants; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the out of hours services she intends funding under her ten point plan for accident and emergency crises; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the situation in accident and emergency units in view of the decision of the Health and Safety Authority to order a safety inspection of all such units; the steps being taken to ensure that all such u...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which accident and emergency facilities are properly equipped to deal with requirements such as emergencies; if sufficient staff and space is available in such instances; and if she will...More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 31, 42, 50, 76, 88 and 135 together. The areas referred to by the Deputies are part of a ten point action plan on accident and emergency services, which I announced ...More Button

Written Answers - Health Services.

Was asked: her views on the need for a statutory appeals system to be set up for all health and community services.More Button

A statutory complaints framework is provided for under the provisions of Part 9 of the Health Act 2004, which was enacted in December 2004. This provides for the establishment of a statutory complaint...More Button

Written Answers - Mental Health Services.

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to recent figures from the Health Research Board showing that there were 66 children admitted to adult psychiatric units in 2003; her views on whether these are appropr...More Button

Written Answers - Health Services.

Was asked: the number of CAT scanners in operation in the health service; the locations of same; their hours of operation; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be deli...More Button

Was asked: if she has had discussions with potential providers of a private radiotherapy service for the patients of the south east; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I had a meeting earlier today with representatives of the University of Pittsburgh’s cancer institute and EuroCare International at which they outlined their plans to provide acute hospital services, ...More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Services.

Was asked: the reason for the delay in presenting the report on the death of a person (details supplied) at Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when she expects to receive the report of the independent review into the circumstances of the death of a person (details supplied); the reasons for the long delay in finalising this report; and if sh...More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 36 and 37 together. The report of the panel reviewing the events surrounding the death of Róisín Ruddle was published on my Department’s website earlier today. First...More Button

Written Answers - Health Reports.

Was asked: her views on the findings of the Pollock report on the high incidence of cystic fibrosis here and the low level of services; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I welcome the recent Pollock report commissioned by the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland on the treatment of cystic fibrosis in Ireland. The Health Service Executive, which has the responsibilit...More Button

Written Answers - Health Services.

Was asked: if she will conduct a cost benefit analysis of the widespread use of the RAST blood test compared with the skin prick test; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Protocols for the diagnosis and treatment of clinical conditions are matters for the attending doctor and his-her patients. The use of any particular diagnostic test such as the RAST test, either in i...More Button

Written Answers - Cancer Screening Programme.

Was asked: if she will report on the cooperation which is taking place to advance cross-Border services in the north west region, particularly in the progression of early detection of male and female cancers, an...More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be deli...More Button

Written Answers - Medical Cards.

Was asked: the timetable for the introduction of the general practitioner only medical cards; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the details of the roll out of the doctor only medical cards; when the necessary legislation will be brought before Dáil Éireann; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if she intends putting legislation for the doctor only medical cards through Dáil Éireann as a matter of urgency; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the reason for the delay in introducing legislation to provide for the issuing of the promised 200,000 doctor visit cards; if all arrangements for the introduction of the cards have been agreed with t...More Button

Was asked: the number of medical cards issued as of 30 September 2004; the latest date for which figures are available; the reason the number of medical card holders continues to decline having regard to the ple...More Button

Was asked: the discussions she has had with general practitioner representatives about the introduction of the general practitioner only medical card; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 43, 52, 68, 73, 78 and 87 together. My Department is at present considering the nature of the legislative changes required to enable effect to be given to the decis...More Button

Written Answers - Environmental Pollution.

Was asked: if she will launch a public information campaign on the issue of the indoor environment and indoor pollution and the need to keep houses well ventilated; and if she will make a statement on the matter...More Button

Ventilation standards in houses are a matter for my colleague the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government who has general responsibility for the construction industry. I have no pl...More Button

Written Answers - Health Reports.

Was asked: if the recommendations of the radiation oncology report are still part of Government policy; if they have been modified; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government’s policy on radiation oncology is based on the report entitled “The Development of Radiation Oncology Services in Ireland”. The report was prepared by a multidisciplinary group of exper...More Button

Written Answers - Cancer Screening Programme.

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the recent report produced by the Health Board Executive on behalf of the chief executive officers of health boards recommending the introduction of a national cervi...More Button

The Health Board Executive commissioned an international expert in cervical screening to examine the feasibility and implications of a national roll out of a cervical screening programme. The examinat...More Button

Written Answers - Care of the Elderly.

Was asked: the number of reported cases of abuse of older persons in their homes or in long stay residential care since 1 January 2000; and if she has satisfied herself that there are sufficient trained personne...More Button

Written Answers - Mental Health Services.

Was asked: the further measures she proposes in order to provide support for persons with mental illnesses who are discharged from psychiatric institutions and hospitals, especially in view of the high level of ...More Button

Written Answers - Health Services.

Was asked: the reason there is no dedicated provision for the identification and treatment of allergies in the public health system here in view of the increase in the incidence of allergies.More Button

Was asked: the reason there are no consultant allergists in teaching hospitals here; if she intends to review this; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 53 and 99 together. The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the resp...More Button

Written Answers - Health Service Staff.

Was asked: the number of administrative posts created in preparation for and in the implementation of the establishment of the HSE; the number of front line therapy and allied medical vacancies currently in the ...More Button

My Department approved a total of nine top level management posts, comprising a chief executive officer and eight national director posts, in the Health Service Executive, HSE. The national director p...More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Services.

Was asked: the progress which has been made in the provision of a CT scanner for a hospital (details supplied) in County Cork.More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be deli...More Button

Written Answers - Care of the Elderly.

Was asked: the details of an announcement she made in a recent interview in which she stated that she intends giving €200 per week to elderly patients to assist them in going home after an episode of admission i...More Button

Was asked: her plans to expand on initiatives such as Slán Abhaile or Home First to assist elderly patients at home; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 56 and 70 together. As the Deputy may be aware, home care grant schemes have been piloted by the Health Services Executive in a number of areas. These schemes have b...More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Services.

Was asked: the plans she wishes to consider or undertake to further centralise cancer treatment services; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the steps she will take to guarantee the important role of small hospitals in respect of cancer treatment arising from recent reports; when sanction will be given to a dedicated oncology unit at Water...More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 57 and 86 together. The Government is committed to making the full range of cancer services available and accessible to cancer patients throughout Ireland. To this e...More Button

Written Answers - Nursing Home Accommodation.

Was asked: if she made any departmental investigations to ascertain whether there is capacity in the private nursing home sector to look after high dependency patients; the number of such places; the locations o...More Button

Written Answers - Nursing Home Subventions.

Was asked: if her Department is monitoring compliance with her directive to health boards of December 2004 that charges do not apply to qualifying elderly persons in residential care; if her attention has been d...More Button

The position is that, following legal advice from the Attorney General on the matter, my Department instructed health boards on 9 December 2004 to cease imposing any financial charges from that date o...More Button

Written Answers - Private Health Care.

Was asked: her plans for private investment in the hospital sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I believe the private sector has a significant part to play in contributing to the provision of additional capacity in the acute hospitals system. My Department is in the process of developing an over...More Button

Written Answers - Medicinal Products.

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the fact that an arthritis treatment (details supplied) has been withdrawn in the United States; if she will order an immediate review of its use in this State; and ...More Button

The Irish Medicines Board is the competent authority for the regulation of medicinal products in Ireland. The IMB assesses, on an ongoing basis, the quality, safety and efficacy of medicinal products....More Button

Written Answers - Mental Health Services.

Was asked: the role her Department played in informing the decision to relocate the Central Mental Hospital to a green field site with the proposed new prison on the Dublin-Meath border; and if she will make a s...More Button

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the serious concern expressed by those organisations dealing with persons with a mental illness about the decision to relocate the Central Mental Hospital to the sam...More Button

Written Answers - Pilot Programmes.

Was asked: the number of pilot programmes which are ongoing in the health services; if she will identify these programmes; the length of time they have been in operation; the number of patients or regions covere...More Button

It has not been possible to provide the details required by the Deputy within the time available. The information is currently being collated in respect of the ongoing pilot programmes with which my D...More Button

Written Answers - Health Services.

Was asked: the number of persons awaiting orthodontic treatment in the various Health Service Executive areas at the latest date for which figures are available; the number awaiting assessment for such treatment...More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, HSE, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be...More Button

Was asked: when the cancer strategy will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The national cancer forum is currently finalising a new national cancer strategy which is expected to be completed in the spring. The national cancer forum, a multidisciplinary group of experts in can...More Button

Written Answers - Mental Health Services.

Was asked: the plans she has to publish the review of the care and treatment of a person (details supplied) in the course of their admission to the acute psychiatric in-patient unit at the Mid-Western Regional H...More Button

Written Answers - Children in Care.

Was asked: the steps being taken to establish the location of up to 250 foreign children who have disappeared from the care of the health board authorities since 2001; and if she will make a statement on the mat...More Button

Written Answers - Health Reform Programme.

Was asked: the status of the Hanly report on medical reform; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I regard the report of the national task force on medical staffing as a significant contribution to the development of acute hospitals services and to the organisation of medical staffing. The report ...More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Staff.

Was asked: when funding for two neurology consultants and their support teams will be issued to Waterford Regional Hospital; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be deli...More Button

Written Answers - National Health Strategy.

Was asked: to comment on the commitment given in the national health strategy to provide an additional 3,000 hospital beds; the number provided to date; the list of hospitals in each case; the projected number t...More Button

The health strategy contains a commitment that over ten years a total of 3,000 acute beds will be added to the system. In this context, funding has already been provided for an additional 900 beds in ...More Button

Written Answers - Organ Retention.

Was asked: the progress made to date by the Dunne inquiry into the retention of organs of deceased children; the date on which the report will be published; the steps being taken to address the concerns of the f...More Button

Was asked: when the Dunne inquiry report on paediatric hospitals will be published; the reason for the delay in the publication of this report; the communications she has had with the Parents for Justice group; ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 77 and 124 together. On 1 September 2004, the Government decided that the post mortem inquiry should furnish its final report not later than 31 March 2005 and that the...More Button

Written Answers - Medicinal Products.

Was asked: the amount which is spent on antihistamines; her views on whether there is an over reliance on antihistamines for allergic reactions; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The most recent figures available show that in 2003, the total cost of antihistamines prescribed under the general medical services, drug payment scheme and long-term illness scheme was €2,338,784. Fi...More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Services.

Was asked: the estimated number of hospital bed days lost during 2004 as a result of the winter vomiting bug; the steps being taken to control the spread of this infection; and if she will make a statement on th...More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be deli...More Button

Was asked: if she will set up a redress board for the victims of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the expected completion date of the inquiry, to be chaired by Judge Maureen Harding-Clarke, into the activities of a person (details supplied); if her attention has been drawn to the call made by a nu...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 81 and 91 together. The inquiry referred to by the Deputies is ongoing and, subject to legal advice, it is my intention to publish the report of the inquiry when it co...More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Staff.

Was asked: if she has plans to meet the IHCA; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am keeping in close contact with the IHCA and the IMO regarding recent developments. I am available to meet them as and when required.More Button

Was asked: if she has plans to support a hospital consultant to sue the Medical Defence Union; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The question of who is responsible for settling claims against consultants arising from events, which occurred prior to the establishment of the clinical indemnity scheme, is, in the first instance, o...More Button

Written Answers - Care of the Elderly.

Was asked: if she expects the social service inspectorate to be established on a statutory basis; if she intends to include the inspection of public nursing homes in its remit as well as the full range of health...More Button

Written Answers - Medicinal Products.

Was asked: her views on whether we need regulation of complementary and alternative medicines to deal with those persons who refer to themselves as allergists; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A national working group was established in May 2003 to advise on future measures for strengthening the regulatory environment for complementary therapists and is expected to report in 2005. I will re...More Button

Written Answers - Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

Was asked: if she will provide the most recent figures on sexually transmitted infections; her views on whether further and urgent action is needed to prevent further increases; her plans for any such action; an...More Button

Written Answers - Hospitals Building Programme.

Was asked: if she has plans to build a new community hospital in Dingle; if her attention has been drawn to the generous gift being made to the State in regard to the hospital; and if she will make a statement o...More Button

Written Answers - Health Insurance.

Was asked: the total percentage increase in VHI premiums since 1997; if her attention has been drawn to statements made by VHI representatives that the increase in the cost of private beds in public hospitals is...More Button

It is estimated that the total percentage increase in VHI premiums for its core products since 1997 is 96%. Officials in the Department of Health and Children have estimated that the recently announce...More Button

Written Answers - Medical Cards.

Was asked: the reason she has not published the report commissioned from Deloitte and Touche on the GMS, in view of the fact that it is now two years since a draft was submitted to her; if the report has yet bee...More Button

Was asked: if her Department intends to publish a report on the GMS services; if so, when it will become available; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 94 and 100 together. The Deloitte and Touche report has been updated and is being considered by the Department of Health and Children. I expect to publish it in the ne...More Button

Written Answers - Health Service Staff.

Was asked: the way in which the goals of having more professionals trained and thus available for the regions in areas such as orthodontics, physiotherapy, radiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy c...More Button

Significant progress has been made in increasing the number of training places in a wide range of health and social care professional courses in recent years. Following the implementation of the recom...More Button

Written Answers - Community Care.

Was asked: if it is still intended to provide the 850 community nursing units promised by her predecessor in July 2002; when they are likely to be available; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The provision of step down services for people ready to be discharged from hospital is a key element in ensuring that health services are matched to patient needs. When I published the health Estimate...More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Charges.

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the fact that St. Columcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown, County Dublin, has been penalised €1 million of its 2005 budget; her views on the fact that a hospital that p...More Button

Casemix is an internationally accepted management system for the monitoring and evaluation of health services. It allows for the collection, categorisation and interpretation of hospital patient data ...More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Accommodation.

Was asked: if she has satisfied herself that sufficient beds are being provided to meet demographic requirements; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which efforts have been made to prevent the occupancy of hospital trolleys and the use of facilities other than standard beds in a hospital ward to cater for patients; the reason it has ...More Button

Was asked: the number of medical and surgical beds available throughout the country on any given day; the extent to which this is adequate to meet requirements; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 98, 141 and 142 together. The average number of acute hospital beds available in November 2004, the latest date for which complete figures are available, was approxima...More Button

Written Answers - Medical Cards.

Was asked: if all social welfare recipients whose sole income is social welfare are in receipt of a medical card; her views on whether recent social welfare increases may disqualify certain recipients from a med...More Button

Entitlement to health services is primarily based on residency and means. The determination of eligibility for medical cards is the responsibility of the Health Service Executive. Other than for perso...More Button

Written Answers - Medicinal Products.

Was asked: if she intends to draw up new guidelines for the use of adrenaline pens to provide new training and retraining for the treatment of allergies for general practitioners; and if she will make a statemen...More Button

The common list of reimbursable medicines for the general medical services and drug payment schemes ensures equity between the schemes in respect of the range of medicines paid for by the State. The l...More Button

Written Answers - Nursing Home Subventions.

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the need to ensure that elderly patients in private nursing homes are not left without any money of their own in cases in which their entire pension has to be used t...More Button

Written Answers - Primary Care Strategy.

Was asked: her plans to publish a progress report on the primary care strategy; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The national primary care steering group published a progress report in July 2004 which provides a detailed overview of progress in the implementation of the primary care strategy, Primary Care: A New...More Button

Written Answers - Proposed Legislation.

Was asked: when she intends publishing regulations regarding the proposed parliamentary questions unit within the HSE; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The provisions of section 79 of the Health Act 2004 provide for the making by the Minister for Health and Children of regulations regarding the dealings between the Health Service Executive and Member...More Button

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the recent call made by a person (details supplied) that nurses who speak out in defence of vulnerable patients should be able to do so with legislative protection; ...More Button

Regulation of the nursing and midwifery professions is the statutory responsibility of An Bord Altranais. The code of professional conduct for each nurse and midwife provides a framework to assist nur...More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Services.

Was asked: her views on a departmental statement that work to identify the primary care development requirements required to support the reconfiguration of the hospital services in the Hanly pilot regions will b...More Button

The task force on medical staffing recognised the important contribution that primary care can make to the provision of quality patient care and to reducing inappropriate demand on the hospital sector...More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Staff.

Was asked: the number of nursing posts unfilled at the latest date for which figures are available; the number of qualified nurses who were offered permanent posts in the acute hospital service during 2004; if h...More Button

According to the most recent Health Service Employers Agency survey of nursing resources, recruitment remains well ahead of resignations and retirements. Employers reported that 794 vacancies existed ...More Button

Written Answers - Care of the Elderly.

Was asked: the number of social workers for older persons available (details supplied); her views on whether there is a need for more social workers to work with persons in this age group; and if she will make a...More Button

Written Answers - Health Service Staff.

Was asked: the number of persons who are considered to be frontline staff in the delivery of health care; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I take it the Deputy is referring to the public health care sector, for which employment information is collected by the Department on the basis of the grade of staff and the employing agency, rather ...More Button

Written Answers - Health Services.

Was asked: the reason an initiative for the joint primary care-hospital care of diabetic patients in Dublin has not been continued; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be deli...More Button

Written Answers - Drug Treatment Programme.

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the concerns of pharmacists regarding a number of issues including the fact that a growing number of unstable methadone patients are presenting in community pharmacy...More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, HSE, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be...More Button

Written Answers - Health Reports.

Was asked: if she has received the fourth periodic report of the National Economic and Social Forum; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am aware of the report to which the Deputy refers. Section six of the report comments on the implementation of the National Economic and Social Forum report on equity of access to hospital care. The...More Button

Written Answers - Cancer Strategy.

Was asked: when the cancer strategy will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The national cancer forum is finalising a new national cancer strategy which is expected to be completed in the spring. The forum, a multidisciplinary group of experts in cancer care, has conducted an...More Button

Written Answers - Nursing Home Subventions.

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway is not entitled to a higher payment of a nursing home subvention; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Rights of the Child.

Was asked: her views on the call made by the Ombudsman for Children for a constitutional amendment to protect the rights of children; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Ambulance Service.

Was asked: if she will report on the different system in place between the Dublin fire brigade service and the other non-Dublin fire services in relation to the ambulance service and the contract with the Easter...More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be deli...More Button

Written Answers - Mental Health Services.

Was asked: the percentage allocation to the mental health services of the total budget for the health services for 2005.More Button

Written Answers - Health Services.

Was asked: the situation regarding the provision of a new health care centre at Glanmire, County Cork; and when funds will be made available for the construction of the centre.More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be deli...More Button

Was asked: the reason for the long delay in sanctioning approval for a day care centre (details supplied) in County Cork; the situation regarding same; and when she will sanction the commencement of the project.More Button

Written Answers - Medical Cards.

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5 was refused a medical card; and if they will be given the maximum support and advice.More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be deli...More Button

Written Answers - Nursing Home Subventions.

Was asked: if a nursing home subvention will be offered to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if a nursing home subvention will be offered to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Charges.

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) in County Clare received an invoice from a hospital; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be deli...More Button

Written Answers - Health Service Staff.

Was asked: her proposals to put in place a recruitment mechanism whereby area medical officer posts which are vacant due to former area medical officers having transferred to another post within the Health Servi...More Button

The public health doctors agreement 2003, signed up to by both management and the Irish Medical Organisation, provides that no future area medical officer vacancies which arise would be filled. The ag...More Button

Written Answers - Vaccination Programme.

Was asked: the number of cases of mumps in the first month of 2005; the way in which this compares with the same period in 2004; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella and, in accordance with the recommendations of the immunisation advisory committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, can be adm...More Button

Written Answers - Health Services.

Was asked: the reason the health board has withdrawn a significant amount of home help that had been supplied to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; and the further help which may be given to this per...More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be deli...More Button

Was asked: the State supports which are available in the case of a person (details supplied).More Button

Was asked: the help which is available in the case of persons (details supplied) in County Wexford.More Button

Written Answers - Health Service Staff.

Was asked: if she will report on the recent changes by An Bord Altranais (details supplied) in regard to the necessary qualifications required for entry into education for public health nurses; and the reason th...More Button

Regulation of the nursing and midwifery professions, including the setting of requirements and standards in the education programmes for registration, is the statutory responsibility of An Bord Altran...More Button

Written Answers - National Treatment Purchase Fund.

Was asked: the number of patients sent outside the jurisdiction for treatment in the past five years; the reason such treatment was not acceptable here; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be deli...More Button

Written Answers - Health Services.

Was asked: the number of children that have been treated through the orthodontic services in the past seven years; if they were of category 1, 2 or 3; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be deli...More Button

Written Answers - Health Reports.

Was asked: the number of reports in respect of the health services which were undertaken in the past seven years; the cost of such reports; the action or actions accruing therefrom; and if she will make a statem...More Button

It has not been possible to provide a response to the question within the time allowed. The information requested is currently being assembled on reports undertaken by my Department and agencies outsi...More Button

Written Answers - Health Service Staff.

Was asked: the degree to which the number of general practitioners, hospital doctors, consultant physicians and consultant surgeons is adequate to meet requirements or is in line with European norms in this rega...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which nursing, medical and surgical staff complements here compare with the norms throughout Europe; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 138 and 144 together. The responsibility for the management of the workforce in a given Health Service Executive, HSE, area lies exclusively with the chief officer of ...More Button

Was asked: the precise shortfall in terms of nursing staff at present; the plans she has to bring numbers up to the required levels; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In the most recent Health Service Employers Agency survey on nursing resources, employers reported that 794 vacancies existed at 30 September 2004. The vacancy rate now stands at 2.34%. This could be ...More Button

Was asked: the total number of nurses available in the various hospitals throughout the country in both the public and the private sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There were 33,765 whole-time equivalent nurses employed in the public health service at the end of 2003. Of these, 23,794 were employed in 140 hospitals in the acute, district, psychiatric and geriatr...More Button

Written Answers - Clinical Indemnity Scheme.

Was asked: the extent to which she has endeavoured to resolve the matter of insurance cover for consultants; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Since taking up my appointment as Minister for Health and Children, I have devoted a considerable amount of time and effort to attempting to resolve this complex and difficult issue. I have had severa...More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Services.

Was asked: the extent to which the Maynooth Community Hospital is fully commissioned and occupied; if she has further action planned to meet the requirements in the catchment area; and if she will make a stateme...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 84 of 3 February 2005, if a copy of the working group’s report has been presented to her for her information or comments.More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be deli...More Button

Was asked: if and when a refund in respect of a pension awarded to St. Mary’s Hospital, Phoenix Park, is refundable to the family of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Expenditure.

Was asked: further to the reply of 27 January 2005 in respect of the use of credit cards in her Department, the total expenditure involved and the various transactions covered by credit card payment during the ...More Button

The total expenditure on credit cards between June 2002 to January 2005 is €49,521.06. Cards are issued to me as Tánaiste and to eight nominated officers. Expenditure details are set out in the follow...More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Services.

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) in County Mayo had surgery cancelled in Galway Regional Hospital, in view of the urgency of the situation; when they will be called for the urgent surgery; and i...More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be deli...More Button

Was asked: the reason all elective surgery in the new orthopaedic unit in Mayo General Hospital, Castlebar, County Mayo was cancelled; and when elective surgery will recommence.More Button

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be deli...More Button

Written Answers - Hospital Charges.

Was asked: the eligibility criteria with regard to the refund of €2,000 for hospital charges for the elderly; the avenues which are open for families of next of kin to seek payment in respect of persons who are ...More Button

The category of person who will receive refunds under the ex gratia scheme in respect of payments deducted from them for publicly funded long stay care in facilities run by former health boards or pri...More Button


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