White, Alex

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Ambulance Service Provision

I thank Deputy Stagg for raising this issue, for drawing attention to the improvements made in the HSE national ambulance service, NAS, and for affording me the opportunity to outline the ongoing d...More Button

The Deputy is correct that the NAS is progressing a number of efficiencies arising from the Labour Court decision following a referral to it under the public service agreement. These include the...More Button

Ambulance Service Provision (Continued)

Some concerns over perceived levels of cover or lack of cover at certain stations in the north Leinster area have been raised as these changes have progressed. I reassure the Deputy and the popu...More Button

In addition to the operational efficiencies being implemented, two new rapid response vehicles, RRVs, now operate in the south Dublin and Kildare areas, to improve services further across the gre...More Button

As mentioned, the national ambulance service is a dynamic service. It responds to calls on a prioritised basis, through the advanced medical priority dispatch system, AMPDS, which is in operatio...More Button

With regard to the specific stations mentioned by the Deputy, Maynooth, Baltinglass, Swords, Athy and Arklow, these stations particularly benefit from the dynamic and rolling cover improvements d...More Button

The Deputy has indicated he would like me to ascertain the level of savings associated with the changes in so far as they apply to Maynooth and I will endeavour to ensure that if the information ca...More Button

I cannot explain the broader issue any further than I have done. However, all of us would be concerned if any of the decisions being made in order to achieve efficiencies brought an associated r...More Button

Our primary concern is to ensure the health and well-being of the population, including access to emergency care if needed. If it can be demonstrated there is some risk associated with this change...More Button

Water Fluoridation

cal authorities have a statutory obligation to fluoridate public water supplies as provided for in the Health (Fluoridation of Water Supplies Act) 1960.More Button

The Expert Body on Fluorides and Health keeps up to date on new and emerging issues regarding water fluoridation and no new issues have emerged to change the Expert Body's advice to the Departmen...More Button

Water fluoridation and the use of appropriate fluorides is a major plank of public health policy in Ireland in the prevention and management of tooth decay. In 2002 the Forum on Fluoridation, whic...More Button

The information provided by the Deputy has been forwarded to the Expert Body for consideration by its New and Emerging Issues Sub-Committee.More Button

Drugs Payment Scheme Threshold

The General Medical Services (GMS) Scheme and the Drug Payment Scheme (DPS) are separate schemes with separate qualifying criteria. More Button

Under the GMS Scheme, medical card holders are required to pay a €1.50 charge per item for medicines and other prescription items supplied to them by community pharmacists, subject to a cap of €...More Button

Under the DPS, no individual or family pays more than €144 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme significantly reduces the cost burden for families and ...More Button

Under the Drug Payment Scheme, no individual or family pays more than €144 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme significantly reduces the cost burden fo...More Button

There are no plans to make changes to the scheme. In addition, people who cannot, without undue hardship, arrange for the provision of medical services for themselves and their dependants may be...More Button

Medical Card Applications

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

Under the provisions of the Health Act 1970, eligibility for health services in Ireland is based primarily on residency and means. There are currently two categories of eligibility for all persons ...More Button

There is a provision for discretion to grant a card in cases of "undue hardship" where the income guidelines are exceeded. The HSE recently set up a clinical panel to assist in the processing of...More Button

There is an emergency process for a person who is terminally ill, or in urgent need of medical attention and cannot afford to pay for it, that provides a card within 24 hours while the normal app...More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

  Question No. 1043 answered with Question No. 1003.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

Question No. 1095 answered with Question No. 1028.More Button

As part of Budget 2013, it was announced that the income thresholds for medical cards for the over 70’s age group are to be changed. The intention is that: persons aged 70 years and over, whose gr...More Button

People who lose the medical card will be entitled to make use of the Drugs Payment Scheme (DPS) which reimburses the cost of medication that exceeds a monthly threshold. Primary legislation is r...More Button

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

Medical Card Delays

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The current processing time for medical cards applications and appeals is 96.05% within 15 days as at 3 December 2012.More Button

Health Services Provision

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

The Health Service Executive Community Audiology service administers and monitors hearing tests for adults who are at risk for hearing loss. Appointments for the audiology service are sent in a st...More Button

The Health Service Executive Community Audiology service administers and monitors hearing tests for adults who are at risk for hearing loss. Appointments for the audiology service are sent in a st...More Button

Medicinal Products Expenditure

The prices of drugs vary between countries for a number of reasons, including different prices set by manufacturers, different wholesale and pharmacy mark-ups, different dispensing fees and differ...More Button

Medical Card Eligibility

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

Under the provisions of the Health Act 1970, eligibility for health services in Ireland is based primarily on residency and means. There are currently two categories of eligibility for all persons...More Button

There is a provision for discretion to grant a card in cases of "undue hardship" where the income guidelines are exceeded.The HSE recently set up a clinical panel to assist in the processing of app...More Button

There is an emergency process for a person who is terminally ill, or in urgent need of medical attention and cannot afford to pay for it, that provides a card within 24 hours while the normal appli...More Button

Under the provisions of the Health Act 1970, medical cards are provided to persons who, in the opinion of the Health Service Executive, are unable without undue hardship to arrange general practiti...More Button

Approximately 1.85 million people are covered by a medical card, an increase of almost 25% since the end of 2009. The cost of the General Medical Services scheme is estimated to have been approx...More Button

Under the Drugs Payment Scheme no individual or family pays more than €144 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme is easy to use and significantly reduc...More Button

I have asked the Health Service Executive for a report on the issue raised by the Deputy. I will revert to the Deputy on the matter as soon as possible.More Button

Under the provisions of the Health Act 1970, medical cards are provided to persons who, in the opinion of the Health Service Executive, are unable without undue hardship to arrange general practiti...More Button

In assessing medical card entitlement for people under 70 years of age, calculations are based on income net of income tax and PRSI and allowances are given for reasonable expenses incurred in re...More Button

Approximately 1.85 million people are covered by a medical card, an increase of almost 25% since the end of 2009. The cost of the medical card scheme in 2012 is estimated to have been approximat...More Button

Under the provisions of the Health Act 1970, medical cards are provided to persons who, in the opinion of the Health Service Executive, are unable without undue hardship to arrange general practiti...More Button

In calculating net income, allowances are given for reasonable expenses incurred in respect of rent/mortgage payments; in respect of childcare costs and in respect of expenses incurred in travel ...More Button

Orthodontic Services Waiting Lists

The HSE provides orthodontic treatment to patients based on their level of clinical need. An individual's access to orthodontic treatment is determined against a set of clinical guidelines and pri...More Button

Long-Term Illness Scheme Eligibility

I propose to take Questions Nos. 990 and 1035 together.More Button

There are no plans to extend the list of conditions covered by the Long Term Illness Scheme.More Button

Under the Drug Payment Scheme, no individual or family pays more than €144 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme significantly reduces the cost burden f...More Button

Medical Products

Centrax contains the active substance prazepam which is a long acting benzodiazepine. Prazepam shares the characteristics of benzodiazepines in general, including the need to use them for the shor...More Button

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website, Centrax has been discontinued in the US but my Department is not aware of any safety concerns regarding long-term use specific to this...More Button

Benzodiazepines are known to be associated with dependence and withdrawal symptoms and consequently are primarily recommended for short-term treatment only. My Department is reviewing the Misuse ...More Button

The Health Service Executive is responsible for the supply of drugs. The HSE has therefore been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

Questions Nos. 1098 to 1100, inclusive, answered with Question No. 994.More Button

Medical Card Reviews

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

Prescription Charges

Medical card holders are required to pay a €1.50 charge (per item) for medicines and other prescription items supplied to them by community pharmacists, subject to a cap of €19.50 per month for ea...More Button

Medical card holders are required to pay a €1.50 charge (per item) for medicines and other prescription items supplied to them by community pharmacists, subject to a cap of €19.50 per month for ea...More Button

Due to the very difficult and challenging economic environment, the Government has committed to achieving additional savings in health expenditure with €781m of savings targeted in 2013. The incr...More Button

Health Services Staff Issues

The HSE informed the Deputy in a direct reply on 21 June 2012 that the appointment of a Principal Dental Surgeon for Dublin South East/Wicklow was anticipated by the end of June 2012. The HSE has b...More Button

The HSE has therefore been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

General Practitioner Services

The Programme for Government commits to reforming the current public health system by introducing Universal Health Insurance with equal access to care for all. As part of this, the Government is c...More Button

Legislation to allow the Minister for Health to make regulations to extend access to GP services without fees to persons with prescribed illnesses is currently being drafted by the Office of the ...More Button

In circumstances where the taking of blood is necessary to either (a) assist in the process of diagnosing a patient or (b) monitor a diagnosed condition, General Practitioners (GPs) may not charge ...More Button

The HSE has written to GP contract holders and clarified the position in relation to this matter and has also communicated its position to the Irish Medical Organisation.More Button

As of October 2012, the HSE had received formal complaints that 14 GPs had allegedly charged patients for phlebotomy services.  Where evidence had emerged of GPs charging patients for routine phl...More Button

The HSE is also continuing to advise eligible patients who believe they have been inappropriately charged by a GP for routine phlebotomy services, to seek a refund from the GPs in question.More Button

Tobacco Control Measures

Ireland's public health policy objective in relation to smoking is to promote and subsequently move towards a tobacco free society. I am committed to moving us closer towards that objective. The ...More Button

Orthodontic Services Fees

The HSE provides orthodontic treatment to patients based on their level of clinical need. An individual's access to orthodontic treatment is determined against a set of clinical guidelines and prio...More Button

Medical Card Drugs

Under the provisions of the Health Act 1970, medical cards are provided to persons who, in the opinion of the Health Service Executive, are unable without undue hardship to arrange general practiti...More Button

The public in-patient charge (€75 per day subject to a maximum of €750 in any period of 12 consecutive months) is provided for by the Health (In-Patient Charges) Regulations 1987 (as amended), ma...More Button

I have no plans to introduce further exemptions to hospital charges at this time.More Button

General Medical Services Scheme Review

The Programme for Government provides for the introduction of a new General Medical Services (GMS) General Practitioner (GP) contract with an increased emphasis on the management of chronic conditi...More Button

My Department and the HSE are currently examining the changes that need to be made to the GMS contract to facilitate the introduction of Universal Primary Care. There have been preliminary discu...More Button

HSE Expenditure

The Estimate agreed for the Health Votes includes ambitious savings targets for the PCRS (medical cards and drug costs), many of which will require legislation to achieve. A reduction in expenditur...More Button

The HSE's National Service Plan has just been finalised for 2013. The HSE is now working with the relevant programme directors to profile their budgets appropriately. It is not possible at this s...More Button

Health Services Issues

The HSE has been asked to respond to the Deputy, as soon as possible, in relation to this issue.More Button