1. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health the reason that two primary care centres in Swords and Balbriggan, County Dublin were added to the list of 35 primary care centres published by the Health Service Executive in July; the person who made the decision to add these two centres; the criteria for adding them and if different criteria was used compared to the criteria used for the original 20 on the list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41082/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Primary Care Centres Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly)(Deputy James Reilly): Early in 2012 the HSE embarked on a prioritisation exercise for primary care, PC, centres across the country. It is the intention of the Government to develop as many centres as possible by one of three separate methods: direct investment; by way of leasing arrangements; or by way of public private partnership. The locations were then considered for development by way of PPP as part of the Government’s stimulus package. Selecting...

2. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the progress he has made towards the planned roll-out of a bowel cancer screening programme before the end of 2012; if he will ensure that it is targeted at the 55 to 74 years age group; if he will confirm full-funding for this prevention programme that will not only save the State significant costs in treatment of advanced bowel cancer but will save an untold number of lives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41081/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Cancer Screening Programme)

(Deputy James Reilly): I am very pleased to confirm that the colorectal screening programme will commence, as promised, on a phased basis in the fourth quarter of this year. This delivers on a key commitment of the Government.
Colorectal cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among both men and women in Ireland. Approximately 2,200 new cases are diagnosed each year and it is the cause of death in around 950 people each year. Colorectal screening works on two fronts: it provides e...

3. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Health the reason the Health Service Executive is still using the medical model of disability assessments; the reason occupational therapists are in total control of budgets and decisions for wheelchair repairs and replacements; the reason the HSE has not moved to a consultative model with the patient when it comes to these matters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41146/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Services for People with Disabilities)

Deputy James Reilly: Assessments of people with disabilities are conducted for many reasons. The type of assessment conducted reflects the purpose for which the assessment is being completed. Assessments for mobility aids are generally carried out by an occupational therapist or a physiotherapist. Items which are essential to ensure safety, dignity and independence are prioritised on the basis of the assessment and funded from the disability services budget. However, while assessments, inclu...

4. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health the date on which he received the July performance report from the Health Service Executive; his views on the fact that the number of patients waiting to be seen at an outpatient clinic for the first time has almost doubled to 340,000 compared with figures released in April; if he will provide information on the true extent of the outpatient figures with some hospital deficits having doubled since April; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41083/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Hospital Waiting Lists)

(Deputy James Reilly): The draft HSE July performance report was received in my Department on 7 September. The figure reported therein of 339,441 patients waiting for an outpatient appointment is not new. The HSE’s May performance report indicated that 342,665 patients were waiting for outpatient appointments, while the June report showed that 361,000 were waiting for appointments. Representatives from the SDU held a media briefing for health correspondents on 21 June, at which they outlined ...

5. Deputy Seamus Healy asked the Minister for Health the extent of the waiting list, numbers and waiting times for in-patient and out-patient ear nose and throat services at Waterford Regional Hospital; and the measures he will take to address this situation. (Question 41228/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Hospital Waiting Lists)

Deputy James Reilly: Data on inpatient and day case waiting lists are collected by the National Treatment Purchase Fund. There are currently 136 adults on the in-patient and day case waiting list for ear, nose and throat services at Waterford regional hospital. A total of 73 adults are waiting for an inpatient procedure and 63 adults are waiting for a day case procedure. One patient is waiting longer than nine months but I am pleased to say that the nine month waiting time target set in the H...

6. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health the action he will take to address the prevalence of unregistered, unregulated operators providing dentures directly to consumers as highlighted by the Consumers Association of Ireland in May 2011; if his attention has been drawn to breaches of the law in this regard and the concern expressed by the Dental Council and by properly regulated and registered practitioners, as well as the false advertising by illegal operators; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41004/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Dental Services Provision)

(Deputy James Reilly): The Dental Council is the regulatory body with the authority to bring a prosecution for breaching section 51 of the Dentists Act 1985, which prohibits the practice of dentistry by unregistered persons. The council has undertaken a significant amount of work investigating the matters raised in the article referred to by the Deputy and its investigation in this regard is ongoing.
A range of initiatives has been undertaken to address the problem of unregistered practitioners...

7. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health if he will confirm that the proposed cuts to funding for personal assistants for the disabled have been reversed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41007/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Services for People with Disabilities)

(Deputy James Reilly): I assure the Deputy that in the context of the current financial challenges facing the Health Service Executive, I have instructed the executive to continue to provide services to people in receipt of personal assistant services in accordance with their needs. While savings have to be achieved out of the total disability budget of €1.4 billion per annum, the HSE has been requested to distribute adjustments across the sector, with a focus on cutting administration, trainin...

8. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the steps he has taken to date to improve mental health services for young persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40689/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Mental Health Services Provision)

(Deputy James Reilly): The development of the child and adolescent mental health service, CAMHS, has been prioritised by the HSE in recent years and considerable progress has been made to date. A special allocation of €35 million was provided in budget 2012 for mental health in line with commitments in the programme for Government. Funding from this special allocation will be used primarily to strengthen community mental health teams in both adult and children’s mental health services by ensur...

9. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health if he will set out the reduced services to patients and the savings, if any, as a result of the reduction in planned theatre activity at Cavan General Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40982/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Hospital Services)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): The funding pressures now being experienced in the health services mean that the acute sector must reduce its costs in order to deliver the agreed level of activity within the resources available to it. This means that we must concentrate on maximising efficiency and getting the best possible services for patients from the budgets available to us. However, this on its own is not sufficient. Activity levels in our acute hospitals have been running ahead ...

10. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Health if he will address the concerns raised regarding the cutbacks to ambulance stations and services in Tallaght and Swords, County Dublin and in Maynooth, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40995/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Ambulance Service Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): In relation to the ambulance stations and services in Tallaght, Swords and Maynooth, I can confirm that there will be no reduction in staffing levels. Current overtime will, however, be reduced. 
Following a referral to the Labour Court under the Public Service Agreement, the HSE National Ambulance Service is currently progressing a number of efficiencies arising from LCR 20313, including the issue of removal of overtime built in to rosters. New rost...

11. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health the reason he added primary care centres to the list using a particular criteria selected by the Health Service Executive; if he has had previous connections with the general practitioners involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40959/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Primary Care Centres Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): I propose to take Questions Nos. 11, 19, 26, 32 and 66 together.
Early in 2012 the HSE put together a list of high priority locations for the development of primary care centres across Ireland. It is the intention of Government to develop as many centres as possible by one of three separate methods:
- by direct investment;
- by way of leasing arrangements;
- by way of Public Private Partnership.
The locations were then considered for development by way ...

12. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the Framework for Smaller Hospitals; the location and by whom is it being drawn up; if there is consultation with the smaller hospitals concerned; if there will be public consultation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40993/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Hospital Services)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): The future organisation of our acute hospitals is a major policy issue for the Government. It is essential that all hospitals provide care in the right way, at the right location, and in a manner that ensures a safe, high quality service for all.
The Government is committed to securing and further developing the role of our smaller hospitals which will see them provide more, not fewer services. The challenge is to make sure that they provide services,...

13. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the higher price for generic medicines in this State compared to Northern Ireland and Britain; if his Department has undertaken or will undertake an investigation; if he will take action to ensure that the potential savings to the State and to patients from generic substitution is not negated by profiteering by the industry in this State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40991/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Medical Products)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): The prices of medicines vary between countries for a number of reasons. These include different prices set by manufacturers, different wholesale and pharmacy mark-ups, different dispensing fees and different rates of VAT. 
Negotiations are ongoing between officials of the Department/HSE and the two bodies that represent pharmaceutical manufacturers in Ireland regarding reductions in the price of medical products supplied under State Schemes. It is expec...

14. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Health the progress made, if any, regarding the proposed development of a primary care centre at Tralee, County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41000/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Primary Care Centres Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): I propose to take Questions Nos. 14, 21, 23, 25 and 68 together.
The Deputies have asked about the development of primary care centres at a number of specific locations. 
I can confirm that each of these locations is included in the published list of thirty-five potential locations for the delivery of primary care centres by public private partnership. The initiative is part of the Government’s Infrastructure Stimulus Package announced in July of this...

15. Deputy Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the deficit in the health budget following the €130 million in cuts announced recently; if there will be any further cuts before Budget 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40963/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): The financial situation in the HSE continues to be extremely challenging. In the short term, to address the 2012 position, a range of measures are being undertaken in order to achieve a balanced budget. These include the use of capital to fund revenue on a once-off basis and the transfer of Department funds to the HSE on a once-off basis. The HSE has been required to review all pay and non-pay savings targets with a view to further targeting all areas ...

16. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health the reason for the medical treatment being provided in respect of a person (details supplied) in terms of rehabilitation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41009/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Hospital Services)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): I can confirm that the person mentioned by the Deputy was referred to the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) and following assessment by the hospital’s liaison service, he was placed on the waiting list for admission to the NRH. The person will be admitted to the NRH with a view to ascertaining a rehabilitation programme for him, which will be tailored to meet his individual needs. He will be admitted as soon as possibl...

17. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Health if he will reverse the decision to cease the provision of gluten-free products on prescription for medical card patients with coeliac disease or if he will provide equivalent alternative supports or measures for coeliac patients, in view of the excessive cost of gluten-free products; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40989/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Medical Card Drugs)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): I propose to take Questions Nos. 17, 184 and 195 together.
In the current financial environment the Health Service Executive (HSE) is facing a challenge to deliver services in a way that will minimise any adverse impact on patients and continue to protect, as far as possible, the most vulnerable citizens. Unfortunately, it has become necessary for the HSE to suspend certain products from its list of reimbursable items. These include glucosamine, omega...

18. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Health following the recent agreement with consultants, if he has abandoned plans for a new grade of hospital doctor which it was hoped would provide a more clear career path for NCHDs; the action he will take to address this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40969/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Hospital Staff)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): As the Deputy is aware I was examining the introduction of a new entry level consultant post that would provide an opportunity for clinicians to work autonomously with clinical responsibility for all aspects of their patients’ care. This initiative was in response to concerns about the large numbers of qualified Irish doctors travelling abroad, the career structure for doctors and the recent difficulties in filling non consultant hospital doctor (NCHD) ...

19. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health the way the priority list for primary care centres was approved with particular reference to the changes announced in July 2012 (Question 40940/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Primary Care Centres Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): I propose to take Questions Nos. 11, 19, 26, 32 and 66 together.
Early in 2012 the HSE put together a list of high priority locations for the development of primary care centres across Ireland. It is the intention of Government to develop as many centres as possible by one of three separate methods:
- by direct investment;
- by way of leasing arrangements;
- by way of Public Private Partnership.
The locations were then considered for development by way ...

20. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health when he was informed of findings in the Health Service Executive July performance report which was published on 20 September 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40961/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - HSE Reports)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): The draft HSE performance report for July was received in my Department on the 7th of September. The figure reported therein of 339,441 patients waiting for an outpatient appointment is unacceptably high. However the reported increase is not due to a sudden large increase in the numbers waiting but rather to more accurate data which presents a more accurate picture of the problem.
That this more accurate reporting procedure in relation to outpatient wai...

21. Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Health the progress made, if any, regarding the proposed development of primary care centres at Ballymote, County Sligo, and Ballaghadereen and Boyle, County Roscommon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41001/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Primary Care Centres Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): I propose to take Questions Nos. 14, 21, 23, 25 and 68 together.
The Deputies have asked about the development of primary care centres at a number of specific locations. 
I can confirm that each of these locations is included in the published list of thirty-five potential locations for the delivery of primary care centres by public private partnership. The initiative is part of the Government’s Infrastructure Stimulus Package announced in July of this...

22. Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Health the options in place to deal with the medical consultants pay and their unwillingness to support his plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40792/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Hospital Consultants Remuneration)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): I propose to take Questions Nos. 22, 28, 33, 40, 52 and 63 together.
Following a request on 13 September by senior health service management on behalf of the Government, intensive discussions between health service employers and the two consultant representative bodies commenced immediately at the Labour Relations Commission and concluded on 17 September 2012. These dealt with a range of matters, including measures to ensure that the relevant parts of ...

23. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Health if he will report the progress made, if any, on the proposed development of a primary care centre at Togher, Cork City; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40990/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Primary Care Centres Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): I propose to take Questions Nos. 14, 21, 23, 25 and 68 together.
The Deputies have asked about the development of primary care centres at a number of specific locations. 
I can confirm that each of these locations is included in the published list of thirty-five potential locations for the delivery of primary care centres by public private partnership. The initiative is part of the Government’s Infrastructure Stimulus Package announced in July of this...

24. Deputy Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Health in relation to kidney transplant operations in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, where the waiting time for the procedure has increased from three to six months to 14 months, his views on the 70 patients who as of 31 May 2012 are at an advanced stage of work-up to have this procedure done with live donors; the number of those 70 patients thart are pre-emptive patients; and the difference in waiting times for those patients having the same procedure done privately at the same hospital (Question 37887/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Hospital Waiting Lists)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): I am advised by the HSE that the ‘work up’ of patients for the live donor programme involves clinical assessment of both recipients and potential donors. Clinical criteria are defined for all renal patients to be placed on the renal transplant list. Pre-emptive live donor transplantation is a possibility for patients; however, this number is not possible to define as while some patients may be pre-emptive at initial stages of work up, the process and ti...

25. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health the progress made, if any, regarding the proposed developments of primary care centres in each case at Crumlin/Drimnagh, Coolock, Darndale, Rowlagh/North Clondalkin, Summerhill, Balbriggan and Swords, County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41003/12 asked on 27 Sep 2012 - Primary Care Centres Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): I propose to take Questions Nos. 14, 21, 23, 25 and 68 together.
The Deputies have asked about the development of primary care centres at a number of specific locations. 
I can confirm that each of these locations is included in the published list of thirty-five potential locations for the delivery of primary care centres by public private partnership. The initiative is part of the Government’s Infrastructure Stimulus Package announced in July of this...