Harris, Simon

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Questions on Promised Legislation

Waiting lists are not increasing nationally; they have fallen for the third month in a row. Of course, patients on a pre-planned list, which is where a doctor wants to see the patient in another s...More Button

I agree with the Deputy on the issue of an integrated system. I have outlined to her how we have asked Trinity College Dublin to undertake a body of work, which will conclude in the first quarte...More Button

Questions on Promised Legislation (Continued)

That is not the case in respect of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. I am delighted that this landmark Bill passed Committee Stage in the Seanad yesterday, having been delayed for many years. Man...More Button

The Deputy specifically referenced the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. I assure him that it is being rural-proofed by engaging with retailers.More Button

Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016 Report: Motion [Private Members]

I do not need that much time.More Button

Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016 Report: Motion [Private Members] (Continued)

I welcome the opportunity to have this report. I begin by thanking the Joint Committee on Health and all its members for the incredible work they put into considering this issue and for the unanim...More Button

I again acknowledge the significant work undertaken by Deputy Harty and all the members of the committee on this Bill. The committee heard testimony from a number of interested parties, includin...More Button

Deputy Gino Kenny said the intention of the Bill is to make cannabis available to patients, but he is aware there is a number of worrying provisions in the Bill, including references to recreatio...More Button

Deputy Gino Kenny's Bill also proposes the establishment of two new State agencies, namely, the cannabis regulation authority and the cannabis research institute. He has views in terms of how th...More Button

The question of providing access to cannabis products that are not authorised as medicines is a complex but important matter. While it has been reported that a lot of research has been carried o...More Button

Given the complexities involved, any measures put in place to allow access to cannabis for medicinal purposes will need to be done in a cautious and controlled way and with the appropriate level ...More Button

I wish to make clear once again that, while cannabis is not currently viewed under Irish legislation as a product having medicinal use, there are already provisions under the Misuse of Drugs Acts...More Button

I have received two applications from consultants. Neither Deputy Boyd Barrett nor I are consultants. Such applications from doctors will be considered because they know an awful lot more about t...More Button

In February, I published the country's first ever policy review on this area, namely, the HPRA's report, Cannabis for Medical Use - A Scientific Review. On foot of the conclusions of the regulat...More Button

The conditions are spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, MS, nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, and treatment-resistant epilepsy. I then put together an expert group chaire...More Button

I am pleased to inform the House that the expert group has drafted clinical guidelines. The group has completed the targeted consultation and finalised the guidelines. I thank Dr. Ryan, the pat...More Button

I have no wish to conflate the issues, but should the point come up during the debate, I inform the House that my colleague, the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Catherine By...More Button

I believe the Bill to be well-intentioned. I have no doubt about that or about the commitment, passion and dedication of Deputy Kenny. I do not believe this is a party political issue for him. ...More Button

I have experts.More Button

It is the regulator.More Button

That is a slur.More Button

The Deputy is misrepresenting people.More Button

General Practitioner Services

Was asked: his plans to reverse the Financial Emergency Measures in Public Interest cuts on general practices which has had a devastating impact on rural general practitioners; the steps he will take to addre...More Button

I acknowledge the contribution made by general practitioners and other health professionals who provide services under contract on behalf of the HSE, through reductions in the fees in respect of th...More Button

In the context of the publication by my colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, of the Public Service Pay and Pension Bill 2017, on 7 November 2017, I announced that in 2018 I ...More Button

The Government is committed to ensuring the continued sustainability of general practice in rural communities. An enhanced supports package for rural GP practices was introduced in May 2016. Th...More Button

Fire Service

Was asked: the position regarding the Dublin Fire Brigade and ambulance situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am aware that a mediation process between Dublin City Council and staff associations is ongoing in relation to Dublin ambulance services. In these circumstances, it would not be appropriate for ...More Button

Hospital Overcrowding

Was asked: the reason for the recent occurrence in Tallaght hospital in which 15 persons were waiting on trolleys for a hospital bed, some of them waiting over a day, in view of the fact that HIQA in May 2012...More Button

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive for a direct response.More Button

National Treatment Purchase Fund Data

Was asked: the average cost of individual procedures to date under the NTPF scheme.More Button

Was asked: the details of the operation of the NTPF; and the way in which a person can avail of the scheme.More Button

Was asked: the procedures carried out under the NTPF scheme to date in 2017.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 141 to 143, inclusive, together.

  I acknowledge that waiting times are often unacceptably long and I am conscious of the burden that this places...More Button

Medicinal Products Data

Was asked: if a registry of the children affected by foetal anticonvulsant syndrome, also known as foetal valproate syndrome, during pregnancy will be established; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if a registry of the women affected by taking sodium valproate during pregnancy will be established; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if additional services for children affected by foetal anticonvulsant syndrome during pregnancy will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if a six-monthly screening process for a person exposed to sodium valproate during pregnancy will be provided in order that problems are recognised immediately and supports put in place; and if he ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 144 to 147, inclusive, together.More Button

The Irish Epilepsy and Pregnancy Register, based in Beaumont Hospital, was set up in 2001 for pregnant women with epilepsy in Ireland. The aim of this Register is to find out which type of epile...More Button

In March of this year, the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) initiated a new review of the use of valproate-containing medicines in the tre...More Button

In its summary of the public hearing, the EMA noted that the PRAC would consider a number of proposals and ideas presented by participants, including registers of women who were receiving valproa...More Button

It is anticipated that the PRAC’s current review of valproate will be concluded before the end of this year. As soon as the review is concluded, the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), ...More Button

The HSE Clinical Strategy and Programmes Division has developed the National Clinical Programme for Epilepsy, to provide the best value, safe care for all people with epilepsy in the right place,...More Button

It is anticipated that this Practice Guide for the Effective Management of Women with Epilepsy will be ready for approval by the HSE before the end of the year. More Button

In relation to the provision of additional services, the overarching principle governing the planning and delivery of health services, and supports for adults and children with disabilities, is t...More Button

Patients currently taking valproate-containing medicines are advised not to stop taking these medicines and, if they have any concerns about their specific drug treatment and management of their ...More Button

Medicinal Products Regulation

Was asked: the views of the HSE and his Department when their attention was drawn to the fact that pregnant women were being prescribed sodium valproate without proper provision of information on the side eff...More Button

Valproate medicines have been authorised in all EU Member States for the treatment of epilepsy; whilst valproate-containing medicines are also approved nationally in Ireland to treat bipolar disord...More Button

Valproate medicines should be initiated and supervised by a specialist experienced in the management of epilepsy or bipolar disorder. It is also recommended that valproate should not be used in ...More Button

The Irish Medical Council's Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics requires registered medical practitioners to make sure that, "any treatment, medication or therapy prescribed for a patient is...More Button

In 2014 a review of valproate by the European Medicines Agency, resulted in measures to strengthen the warnings and restrictions on the use of valproate medicines in women and girls, due to the r...More Button

In 2015 and again in October 2017, the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, as regulator for pharmacists and pharmacies in Ireland, again highlighted the risks of the use of valproate in women of c...More Button

- the risks associated with valproate use during pregnancy;More Button

- the need to use effective contraception;More Button

- the need for regular review of treatment;More Button

- the need to immediately consult a healthcare professional if they are planning a pregnancy or if they become pregnant.More Button

Pharmacists were encouraged to bring these issues, and any other relevant educational materials, to the attention of patients presenting in their pharmacy.More Button

In October 2016, the HSE's Medicines Management Programme (MMP) launched its ‘Valproate Toolkit’, an online resource consisting of a patient information booklet, summary guide for prescribers and...More Button

Hospital Appointments Status

Was asked: the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE...More Button

The scheduling of appointments for patients is a matter for the hospital to which the patient has been referred. Should a patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition war...More Button

Was asked: when an operation will be provided for a person (details supplied); the reason for the delay in issuing a date for this procedure; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE...More Button

Was asked: the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE...More Button

The scheduling of appointments for patients is a matter for the hospital to which the patient has been referred. Should a patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition war...More Button

Was asked: the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE...More Button

The scheduling of appointments for patients is a matter for the hospital to which the patient has been referred. Should a patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition war...More Button

Was asked: the status of an operation for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE...More Button

Was asked: the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE...More Button

The scheduling of appointments for patients is a matter for the hospital to which the patient has been referred. Should a patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition war...More Button

Primary Medical Certificates Applications

Was asked: the status of an application for a primary medical certificate by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Occupational Therapy Provision

Was asked: if an occupational therapist assessment will be carried out for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.More Button

Hospital Appointments Administration

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) in County Donegal will be considered for radiotherapy treatment at Altnagelvin area hospital, County Derry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE...More Button

Counselling Services Provision

Was asked: if counselling services are provided for persons that suffer a stroke, family members and carers in rehabilitation units which provide particular support for such persons; and if he will make a sta...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy. More Button

Home Help Service Provision

Was asked: if the provision of home help hours will be reviewed for a person (details supplied); if the hours currently provided will be increased; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if the allocated hours of home help service will be commenced for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Patient Files

Was asked: the correct procedure to be followed with regard to patient files; the category of person that can put information into such a file; the appropriate information to be placed in such files; his view...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.More Button

Hospital Closures

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the closure of Passage West health centre, County CorkMore Button

Was asked: the type of services which were available in Passage West health centreMore Button

Was asked: the number of persons that used the services at Passage West health centreMore Button

Was asked: the reason for the planned closure of the health centre in Passage West, County Cork; and the measures in place to ensure public health services remain in the communityMore Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 158 to 160, inclusive, and 200 together.

  As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the He...More Button

Medical Card Data

Was asked: if medical card holders are liable for charges for blood tests at their general practitioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There is no provision under the GMS GP contract for persons who hold a medical card or GP visit card to be charged for routine phlebotomy services provided by their GP, or the practice nurse on beh...More Button

This is a matter of concern for me as it has long been the position, under successive Governments, that no user charges should apply to GP services provided to GMS and GP visit card patients. If...More Button

In order to achieve clarity on this issue, I have asked that any difference of perspective in relation to the provision of phlebotomy services be addressed in the GP contractual review process, w...More Button

Orthodontic Services Provision

Was asked: if his Department has received information regarding the case of a person (details supplied) in County Leitrim; if his attention has been drawn to the urgency of this case; and if he will make a st...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy. More Button

Hospital Beds Data

Was asked: his plans to increase the number of beds in the stroke unit in Beaumont Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In response to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.More Button

Physiotherapy Provision

Was asked: his plans to address the physiotherapy deficit for stroke patients in Beaumont Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In response to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.More Button

Stroke Care

Was asked: his plans to address the early supported discharge for stroke patients in Beaumont hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In response to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.More Button

Tobacco Control Measures

Was asked: his position in relation to the recently published draft Implementing Acts with regard to the Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40 EU track and trace articles 15 and 16; if a submission has been made...More Button

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Was asked: his plans to put a defibrillator in each school in the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The issue of defibrillators in schools is a matter for individual schools in the education sector.More Button

Department of Health is committed to improve survival rates of those who suffer an out of hospital cardiac arrest by implementing the an out hospital cardiac arrest strategy. An Out-of-Hospital ...More Button

Cardiac First Responders (CFR) Ireland, launched in 2015, is the national umbrella organisation for Community First Responders Groups. CFR Ireland works with the National Ambulance Service, Pre-...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a number of smaller pieces of equipment and aids such as over bed tables which were previously supplied by the HSE to medical card holders are now n...More Button

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy. More Button

Question No. 200 answered with Question No. 158.More Button

Hospital Waiting Lists Data

Was asked: the average waiting time for a CT scan in St James's hospital, Dublin 8.More Button

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive for a direct responseMore Button

Hospitals Building Programme

Was asked: the position regarding the national forensic mental health service hospital at Portrane, County Dublin; when the construction of the hospital is due for completion; when phase two of the constructi...More Button

Disability Services Provision

Was asked: his plans to expand the gold star disability project nationwide; his views on the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number of persons waiting for an assessment under the early intervention team in counties Laois and Offaly; the number of these that have been waiting over six months; the number that have been...More Button

Was asked: the number of persons waiting for assessment under the school age team in counties Laois and Offaly; the number of these that have been waiting over six months; the number that have been waiting ov...More Button

Mental Health Services Provision

Was asked: the amount of funding child and adolescent mental health services, CAMHS, received from the mental health budget in each of the years 2011 to 2016, and to date in 2017, respectively; and if he will...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 444 of 3 October 2017 if a phased opening of closed beds at the inpatient unit at Linn Dara, Cherry Orchard, Dublin 10 took place in the week beginning 30 Octo...More Button

Was asked: to outline the measures in place to ensure that staff members within the HSE’s mental health services make decisions based on a clinical focus rather than cost containment in view of the report int...More Button

Was asked: the measures in place for the regulation and oversight of community residences within the HSE’s mental health services; if he has satisfied himself that there is sufficient oversight of the service...More Button

Disability Support Services

Was asked: the number of persons under 18 years of age with severe physical disabilities that are living in their family home in which the family is in receipt of a social housing payment support (details sup...More Button

Mental Health Services

Was asked: to outline the way in which he will address the failures in reporting and managing incidents of sexualised behaviour within Roscommon mental health services; and if he will make a statement on the ...More Button

Was asked: to outline his views on the cultural issues highlighted in the recent report into County Roscommon’s mental health services; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: to outline his plans to introduce regulations for all mental health services in view of the Roscommon mental health services report; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: to outline his views on the finding of the report into Roscommon mental health services, which found that the service’s funding returned €17.6 million unspent over three years; and if he will make ...More Button

Mental Health Services Staff

Was asked: if a strategic plan or nursing strategy will be developed for mental health nursing; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Mental Health Services Expenditure

Was asked: if he will delegate budget authority further down the structure of mental health services; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Cannabis for Medicinal Use

Was asked: to outline the options available to chemotherapy patients who request THC cannabis oil; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Under existing legislation it is open to the Minister for Health to consider granting a licence to an Irish registered medical practitioner, under the Misuse of Drugs Acts, for access to medical ca...More Button

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) can access a programme.More Button

For the purposes of clarity the following information may be helpful.More Button

The two most common active components found in cannabis oil are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).More Button

- CBD is derived from cannabis. However, since CBD is not psychoactive it is not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation, therefore does not require a licence. CBD oil is not authorised a...More Button

- THC is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis. Under the Misuse of Drugs legislation products containing THC are strictly controlled and possession is unlawful except under licence.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, in March 2017, on foot of the conclusions from the Health Products Regulatory Authority’s report ‘Cannabis for Medical Use – A Scientific Review’, I established an Ex...More Button

The Expert Group is tasked with the development of clinical guidance for healthcare professionals treating patients through the Access Programme. The Expert Group is also considering other opera...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that under the Misuse of Drugs legislation it is open to the Minister for Health to grant a licence to an Irish registered medical practitioner for access to medical THC-...More Button

Ultimately it is the decision of the prescribing clinician, in consultation with their patient, to prescribe or not prescribe any particular treatment, including cannabis, for a patient under the...More Button

Pharmacy Services

Was asked: if he will address a matter regarding a person's (details supplied) long-term illness card.More Button

Under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, the HSE has statutory responsibility for the administration of the community drug schemes. Therefore, the matter has been referred ...More Button

Health Services

Was asked: if he will address a matter regarding the death of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In relation to the particular case raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.More Button

Nursing Home Services

Was asked: if an assessment can be rearranged in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the person in question wishes to live independently...More Button

Hospital Services

Was asked: to describe the relationship between the report with his Department from the HSE on the future of accident and emergency services at the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise and the document entit...More Button

A priority in the HSE's 2017 Service Plan is the development of Hospital Group strategic plans. The Dublin Midland Hospital Group is concluding the development of its multi-year strategic plan (Du...More Button

The Dublin Midlands Hospital Group has also been working for some time on a draft plan for a new model of clinical service delivery at Portlaoise Hospital which takes account of the need to devel...More Button

Mental Health Services Report

Was asked: when the first report on the progress of the implementation of the report into the Roscommon mental health services will be sent to the report’s commissioner; and if he will make a statement on the...More Button

Home Help Service

Was asked: the actions he plans to take in order to address the shortfall in home help hours in counties Laois and Offaly; the amount allocated under budget 2018 for home help in these counties; and if he wil...More Button

HSE Data

Was asked: the numbers of persons on the waiting lists for speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy in counties Laois and Offaly; the waiting times for same; and if he will make a s...More Button

As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.More Button

Medicinal Products Availability

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 951 of 26 July 2017, the status of the provision of the drug Spinraza to persons with muscular atrophy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicines under the community drug schemes, in accordance with the provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of...More Button

Disease Management

Was asked: his plans to implement a similar practice to that in Germany for the detection and treatment of Lyme disease; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Lyme disease is diagnosed by medical history and physical examination. The infection is confirmed by blood tests which look for antibodies produced by an infected person's body in response to the i...More Button

All clinical (and other) laboratories in Ireland must undergo continuous quality assurance to ensure that the quality of the diagnostics they provide is maintained at the highest international le...More Button

1. There is not enough scientific evidence that they are suitable tests to diagnose Lyme disease;More Button

2. There is no standard method to perform and interpret these kind of tests; andMore Button

3. Positive results in these kinds of tests may be due to other illnesses or conditions and not just Borrelia infection.More Button

The Scientific Advisory Committee of the HPSC, the Infectious Diseases Society of Ireland, the Irish Society of Clinical Microbiologists, the Irish Institute of Clinical Neuroscience and the Iris...More Button

The Scientific Advisory Committee of the HPSC has established a Lyme Borreliosis Sub-Committee, the aim of which is to develop strategies to undertake primary prevention in order to minimise the ...More Button

The initial work of the Lyme Borreliosis Sub-committee involved a survey of laboratory methods for the diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis in Ireland, the development of Lyme borreliosis guidance for g...More Button

Any changes to testing and treatment will take into account the report of the HPSC Sub-Committee.More Button

Hospital Appointments Delays

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) has been on a waiting list for a long time without treatment.More Button

I acknowledge that waiting times are often unacceptably long and I am conscious of the burden that this places on patients and their families.

  Reducing waiting times for the lo...More Button

Medical Card Applications

Was asked: if a medical card will issue in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.More Button

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Administration

Was asked: the changes introduced in budget 2018 with respect to the fair deal scheme; and the future treatment and possible discount on chargeable assets for farms and businesses.More Button

HSE Funding

Was asked: if the HSE provides funding for a programme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy's question refers to operational matters I have referred it on to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply. More Button