Fitzgerald, Frances

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Seanad Éireann Debate
Vol. 203 Nbr. 12

Order of Business

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Committee on Procedure and Privileges: Motion

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Health (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2010: Second Stage

I welcome the Minister to the House. Fine Gael opposes the legislation, as we believe the introduction of the prescription levy will mean that some of the poorest and most vulnerable families and ...More Button

In addition, we oppose the legislation on health grounds. Prescription charges were abolished in Northern Ireland in April this year. Since 2008 prescriptions have cost £3, prior to which t...More Button

I am interested in the Minister’s view on the deterrent effect of this cost on the most vulnerable and those with chronic illness. Significant international research shows any disincentive f...More Button

I refer to the Welsh Assembly report on helping to improve health in Wales. This report found that there was no increase in the number of prescriptions dispensed following removal of the charge. ...More Button

She probably has spoken to representatives of the Irish Medical Organisation about the Bill. They presented a plan to her last year, which they claimed would shave €300 million off the State&...More Button

Everybody has anecdotal evidence of drugs being much cheaper abroad than in Ireland. That continues to be an issue and this raises a question about the influence pharmaceutical companies exert as ...More Button

I have had discussions with the Minister about breast cancer screening. We have a superb system but the most vulnerable women still do not take up the screening even though it is free. Low income...More Button

I have a number of other queries for the Minister, one of which always arises with regard to the HSE. What will be the administrative cost of managing the scheme? People will wish to know the ans...More Button

Obviously, pharmacies will have to make their own arrangements, but in the case of the HSE, will extra staff have to be recruited to administer the scheme or are staff being relocated? What exactl...More Button

Has the Minister had discussions with the Irish Pharmacy Union? Pharmacists are opposed to the prescription levy for similar reasons to those I have outlined. They are also concerned about the ad...More Button

There is the question of reference pricing and tackling the cost of generic drugs which the Minister said could probably save about ten times the costs she is saving with the Bill. The generic dru...More Button

The agreements have kept the price of generic medicines in Ireland high. It is hard to believe but in some countries savings as high as 90% have been achieved on generic medications. It just show...More Button

Is there any possibility that legislation could be brought forward in 2010 to ensure savings are made? How will the Minister reduce the price of generic drugs? How much will be saved through refe...More Button

The international trends and advice on prescription charges have not been taken on board by the Government in introducing these prices for people who are struggling to cope in Ireland today. The M...More Button

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Health (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2010: Committee and Remaining Stages

I thank the Minister for her replies to the various queries raised on this section earlier. Will the Minister clarify a matter on the administrative side? The Minister appears to be suggesting th...More Button

I refer to cases involving long-term illness cards. The Minister indicated anyone with a long-term illness card will be exempt. Will the Minister comment on the position of cases of palliative ca...More Button

The Bill gives the Minister powers to introduce extra charges. It is effectively a carte blanche to introduce extra charges. The Minister referred to the range of criteria she would use to...More Button

The Minister can also use the criteria of medical needs and the financial burden on the persons who avail themselves of services under subsection (1), which is rather wide. It seems to give the Mi...More Button

On Second Stage I mentioned the proposals IMO representatives had made regarding cost savings and the range of activities they considered could be engaged in to address prescribing and usage behavi...More Button

Does the Minister have any reservations about the charge in the context of the deterrent effect of such charges on people who are most vulnerable from a financial and illness point of view? Is she...More Button

An bord snip nua made many recommendations and I take the Minister’s point that Mr. Colm McCarthy recommended a more punitive prescription charge, but it would have been disgraceful if we had...More Button

Looking for revenue from those on the GMS is hitting the worst off. That is the point. Some people will pay the €10, and it might well be the elderly who will be hit most frequently. The el...More Button

The Minister made a very important point about the education of the patient. There is much educating to be done with regard to the demands of people for medication and the pressure experienced by ...More Button

The Minister said she will review this and that the data will come in quite quickly, as the system is set up to collate that type of data. I ask her to bring a review of what happens with this to ...More Button

I will make a final point. The health data for life expectancy and illnesses show clearly that those who are least well off financially, those dependent on social welfare and those with medical ca...More Button

Can the Minister outline the date for this Act coming into operation?More Button

Will the content of these discussions concern the administration of the scheme? In that respect, the Minister mentioned the need for some adaptation to the computer system in operation at present....More Button

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Employers’ Job Incentive Scheme: Motion

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Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Second Stage

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