Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Dáil Éireann Debate
609. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health if he had brought the funding arrangements for the national children’s hospital to the Cabinet this year as promised, ahead of the recent decision by An Bord Pleanála. [15822/12]
The Minister for Public Enterprise and Reform, Minister Howlin, T.D., announced in November 2011, at the publication of the “Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016: Medium Term Exchequer Framework” that the Government had decided to fund the construction of the New Children’s Hospital with part of the proceeds from a new licensing arrangement for the National Lottery which would involve an up-front payment in exchange for a longer term licence. He indicated that details of the proposal would be brought to Government early 2012.
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is currently examining the various options with respect to the next National Lottery licence. Minister Howlin expects to be in a position to revert to Government shortly on the matter. The Government’s intention is to seek a large upfront payment to the State as part of the arrangements for the new licence, with some of the payment to be used to help fund the building of the proposed new National Children’s Hospital. Following the publication of the Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016 Report, the Health Service Executive commenced drawing up its capital programme for the multi-annual period 2012-2016. The Executive is required to prioritise the capital infrastructure projects within its overall capital funding allocation taking into account the existing capital commitments and costs to completion over the period. A draft capital plan for the period 2012-2016 has been submitted to my Department. My Department has been reviewing the proposals and following up with the HSE where further details are required.
The recent developments regarding the National Children’s Hospital will require that some of the assumptions made in the plan in that regard are reviewed and my Department, together with the HSE, will be addressing the issues arising as a matter of priority.
Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): I am determined to address the issues which cause unacceptable delays in patients receiving treatment in our hospitals. In this regard I have established the Special Delivery Unit (SDU), which will work to unblock access to acute services by dramatically improving the flow of patients through the system, and by streamlining waiting lists, including referrals from GPs. The SDU is working closely with its partner agencies — mainly the HSE and the NTPF.
As a priority, public hospitals were instructed to ensure that, by the end of 2011, they had no patients waiting more than 12 months for treatment. I can confirm that the vast majority of hospitals achieved this objective. During 2012 the SDU will support hospitals in the delivery of a 9 month maximum wait time for inpatient or daycase surgery.
As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply. Should the patient’s general practitioner consider that the patient’s condition warrants an earlier appointment, he/she would be in the best position to take the matter up with the consultant and facility involved.
612. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Galway will receive the orthodontic treatment for which they have applied; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14876/12]
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