Dec 16, 2014
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health the reason approval for the Fair Deal scheme is only provided from a current date, when many applicants are waiting 15 weeks for a decision, and have already taken up a nursing home bed; if his attention has been drawn to the difficulty that this poses financially, for elderly persons in need of this facility; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
REPLY (Minister of State Kathleen Lynch):
The HSE's National Guidelines for the Standardised Implementation of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme provide that State Support and Ancillary State Support should be paid from either the date that the release of funding is approved, or date of admission to the nursing home, whichever is the later. This is a necessary feature of the Scheme to enable the HSE to manage the budget for the Scheme.
The budget for the Nursing Homes Support Scheme in 2014 is €939m. At end of October 2014 (latest figures available) 21,926 people were supported by the Scheme. I am aware that waiting times on the Nursing Homes Support Scheme placement list have grown. This is not a satisfactory situation and I am trying to address it.
In addition to the budget for the Scheme, in July this year, the HSE allocated €5 million for an initiative to improve access to appropriate care for older people. To date, this has funded over 300 transitional care beds for patients in acute hospitals from the placement list for the Nursing Homes Support Scheme and over 200 home care packages to assist patients in the acute hospitals who require a home care package to be discharged.
The Government has provided additional funding of €25 million for 2015 to address delayed discharges, of which €10 million will be allocated to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme. In the longer term this issue requires an integrated response across primary, community, and residential services and my Department is working closely with the HSE to ensure that available resources are deployed in the most effective way possible.
Funding was released on 2nd December for just over 1,000 Nursing Home Support Scheme applicants, bringing the numbers on the placement list to 1,071 and reducing the waiting time for funding to 12 weeks.
June 24, 2014
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection her views on the unreasonable delays in the payment of arrears of disability allowance payable to applicants who have been approved on appeal and have already waited approximately two years to have their claim approved; the steps she will take to improve this situation; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Reply from Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD: The Department aims to process and pay without delay all successful appeals returned by the Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO). There are, however, some temporary delays currently being experienced by some successful disability allowance (DA) appellants. Over the past year, the Department has been working to reduce the number of DA applications awaiting decision and the successful clearing of high level of claims has resulted in an equally high level of appeals which are been serviced as quickly as possible.
Additional staff resources have been assigned to this work. As most of these customers are already in payment on other schemes, arrears due (if any) will issue once overlaps with these other scheme payments have been calculated and resolved.
April 9, 2014
Deputy John Deasy asked tthe Minister for Health the position regarding the proposed primary care centre for Dungarvan, County Waterford; if progress has been made in securing a PPP partner; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Reply by Minister of State Alex White: Considerable progress has been made in developing the primary care centre PPP project. The HSE lodged the planning application for the Dungarvan primary care centre in November 2013 and has been advised that planning has been approved. Details are available on the local authority website.
The National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) published a Prior Indicative Notice (PIN) / Pre-Qualification Questionnaire in the OJEU on 19 December 2013. Four submissions were received by the closing date which was 10 March 2014.
Information can be located at the following web address: http://www.ndfa.ie/TenderCompetitions/PrimaryCareCentresPPPProgramme.htm
It is expected that 10-14 sites (indicative number 12 based on affordability) will be delivered as part of a single PPP contract with the remaining centres to be delivered by the HSE using other procurement means.
February 11, 2014
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the funding programmes that are available from his Department to assist projects involved in youth diversion and rehabilitation; and to whom should applications for State support be directed in each instance.
REPLY / Minister Ruairí Quinn:
There are no funding programmes available from my Department designed to directly assist projects involved in youth diversion and rehabilitation and therefore no application process for such support.
In addition to funding overall mainstream provision for education my Department also provides funding of some €4million across a number of projects and centres to provide for continuum of education and to facilitate ongoing engagment with and retention of children in education.
Such supports include: Youth Encounter Projects, established in the 1970s as non-residential facilities for children at risk of coming into conflict with authority or are at serious risk of dropping out of mainstream school. There are five YEPS, three in Dublin and one each in Limerick and Cork, providing 120 places for children. The current overall enrolment is 107. YEPs receive a pay and non-pay allocation of €1.124 million to cover the employment of all ancillary staff and to cover school running costs. Permanent teachers and Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) in the school are paid through the Primary and SNA Payroll system at an overall cost of €1.85million.
City Motor Sports, Swift Alleys, Francis Street, Dublin 8, provides education and training for young people aged between 15 and 18 years. It was established in 1995 as City Motor Sports in the south west inner city as a response to widespread joyriding in the locality. The current enrolment is 14. My Department funds the cost of 51 teaching hours per week at a total cost of €90,375 in 2012 and provides a non-pay grant of €113,479 to City of Dublin ETB to meet running costs.
The Carline Project is located in a purpose built centre, in Lucan, Co Dublin. It caters for young people aged 14 to 17 years. The current enrolment is 22. My Department funds the cost of 71 teaching hours per week at a total cost of €141,787 in 2012 and provides a non-pay grant of €170,000 to County Dublin and Dun Laoghaire ETB to meet running costs
Life Centres are informal education centres established by the Christian Brothers in 1996, with the assistance of the Holy Faith Sisters, as a response to the needs of young people who have dropped out of mainstream education. There are two Life Centres in Dublin and Cork which receive a grant of €114,000 towards running costs and 2,768 teaching hours under the ETB co-operation hours scheme at an estimated cost of €233,000.
Matt Talbot Adolescent Service Centre in Co Cork provides residential drug and alcohol treatment for 14-18 year old boys. It provides educational courses at Junior and Leaving Certificate Level, ECDL and FETAC Levels 3 and 4. My Department provides €190,000, through Cork ETB, towards the cost of instruction staff at the centre
In addition my Department funds the Youthreach programme which provides two years integrated education, training and work experience for unemployed early school leavers with incomplete qualifications or vocational training who are between 15 and 20 years of age. There are almost 6,000 places available nationwide under the Youthreach. Almost 3,700 of these places are provided by ETBs in just over 100 Youthreach centres. Expenditure in the region of €68 million was provided for this service in 2012. The majority of the remainder of places are provided by FÁS in Community Training Centres which also provides two years integrated education, training and work experience incorporating basic skills training, practical work training and general education with the application of new technology integrated into all aspects of programme content. The overall cost for this service in 2012 amounted to some €43.3million.
A small portion of the overall funding in Youthreach includes provision for under 16's. At the end of December 2012 the number of learners under 16 enrolled in Youthreach Centers and Community Training Centres were 192 and 43 respectively.
Deputy Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the funding programmes that are available from his Department to assist projects involved in youth diversion and rehabilitation; and to whom should applications for State support be directed in each instance.
REPLY / Minister Alan Shatter:
My Department, through the Community Programmes Unit of the Irish Youth Justice Service, manages the funding and the delivery of 100 Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDP) nationwide and 5 local Drug Task Force (LDTFs) projects. The GYDPs, which are staffed by two youth justice workers, are managed locally by community based organisations working with a local project committee which is chaired by the local Garda District Officer. The LDTF projects, which work closely with their collocated GYDP projects, are staffed with a drugs and alcohol worker and operate a referral system from Gardai, parents and other sources and may also refer onwards to assessment and treatment centres. The project committees are required to submit detailed plans with budgetary costings annually to the Community Programmes Unit.
The GYDP projects are community-based, multi-agency, crime prevention initiatives which are designed to engage with and seek to divert young people from becoming involved in or further involved in anti-social and/or criminal behaviour. They operate in support of the statutory Garda Diversion Programme and aim to bring about the conditions whereby the behavioural patterns of young people towards law and order can develop and mature through positive interventions and interaction with the project. The projects are particularly targeted at 12-17 year old “at risk” youths in communities where a specific need has been identified and where there is a risk of them remaining within the justice system. The approach is supported by a risk assessment of participants designed to identify their needs and to enable a project to plan interventions that provide the best possible outcome for the participant.
Deputy Deasy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the funding programmes that are available from her Department to assist projects involved in youth diversion and rehabilitation; and to whom should applications for State support be directed in each instance.
REPLY / Minister Frances Fitzgerald:
My Department provides a range of funding schemes, programmes and supports to the youth sector. This includes provision for the Youth Service Grants Scheme under which funding is made available to support 31 national and major regional voluntary organisations involved in the development and provision of youth programmes and services. Targeted supports for disadvantaged, marginalised and at risk young people are provided through the Special Projects for Youth Scheme, the Young Peoples Facilities and Services Fund Rounds 1 and 2 and Local Drugs Task Force Projects.
These schemes support some 477 projects and services, provided by the voluntary youth sector, throughout the country. There are some 1,400 youth work staff and over 40,000 volunteers involved in the provision of these services and activities for young people. In 2014, funding of €50.530m, including €750,000 for a new capital funding programme, has been provided to my Department for these schemes. In addition, capital funding of €1.5m was provided in 2013 for the start-up of new Youth Cafés and 30 applications have been approved in locations throughout the country. Details of the successful proposals are available on my Department's website - www.dcya.gov.ie. The funding for these schemes is administered, in the main, by the Education and Training Boards on behalf of my Department.
Young people are provided with a wide range of programmes and activities, which respond to their needs, interests, capacity and age profile. The supports available are complementary to the school system and to other supports in place to assist young people who are marginalised and contribute to addressing a range of issues affecting young people and their communities including early school leaving, unemployment, drug/substance misuse, youth homelessness, and the impact of problems to do with juvenile crime and anti-social behaviour.
Having regard to the difficult funding situation in recent years, no new applications have been sought for these schemes since 2008. My Department, along with all government departments, is required to deliver substantial savings on all funding programmes in line with the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure (CRE). My Department, in determining the annual allocations for youth programmes, while having regard to the CRE, has sought to ensure that, as far as is possible, the focus is maintained on the front line youth services particularly those for the most vulnerable young people. This year, I secured an additional €1m in the 2014 Budget to offset the impact of the CRE on the youth services. As a result the overall reduction in 2014 budgets for the youth services at 3.75 % was significantly less had been indicated in the CRE.
Further information about the specific projects and services can be had from the projects themselves or the Youth Officer in the relevant local Education and Training Board or directly from my Department. If the Deputy has a particular case in mind and wishes to make the details available to officials in my Department, they will be more than happy to assist in providing a link to the specific project.
My colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality has overall responsibility in the area of crime and anti-social behaviour and his Department funds a range of youth services, in particular Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs) and Young Person Probation Projects (YPP). I see the role of my Department as working in an integrated way to develop strong linkages between all those working in prevention and intervention, developing closer working relationships between the prevention services provided by Child and Family Agency, and services provided by the Irish Youth Justice Service, which is co-located in my Department, and the youth sector.
The main focus is on ensuring best outcomes for all our children and young people through the most efficient use of available resources thereby achieving best value for money. I want to ensure, notwithstanding the significant challenges we face, that we build on best practice and continue to innovate to ensure that young people are enabled and empowered to acquire the skills and experiences to realise their potential and to engage and develop in society.
Deputy Deasy asked the Minister for Health the funding programmes that are available from his Department to assist projects involved in youth diversion and rehabilitation; and to whom should applications for State support be directed in each instance.
REPLY / Minister James Reilly
Local and Regional Drugs Task Forces receive annual funding from the Drugs Initiative of my Department to allocate to community based drugs initiatives in their areas. Organisations involved in providing youth diversion and rehabilitation may apply to their local Drugs Task Force for funding. A list of the Drugs Task Forces can be found on www.health.gov.ie
January 28, 2014
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health if he is concerned that Ireland is falling short of the 75% flu vaccination target for older age groups, according to a progress report on the 2009 EU Council Recommendation; and the reason Ireland’s vaccination coverage dropped from 70% in 2008/09 to 56.3% in 2011/2012.
REPLY / Minister James Reilly:
In Ireland the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) collates influenza vaccine uptake statistics in those aged 65 years and older based on data obtained from the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS), HSE- Finance Shared Services. These data provide information on the number of patients vaccinated with influenza vaccine (by age group and HSE-Area of residence), attendance at GP clinics and pharmacies for vaccination and the number of registered medical and GP visit cardholders aged 65 years and older. The number of patients vaccinated with influenza vaccine refers to GP and pharmacy paid claims for influenza vaccination reported by the PCRS and so are dependent on GPs’ and pharmacist’s claims for reimbursement. Data from pharmacies are only available for the 2012/2013 influenza season when administration of influenza vaccine by pharmacists commenced.
As highlighted, the uptake of influenza vaccine in those aged 65 years and older decreased from 70% in the 2008/2009 to 56.9% in 2011/2012. These estimates are based on PCRS data received by HPSC. The uptake in the season 2008/2009 was the highest uptake reported. The reason for this decline is unknown but as previously stated may be due to data received by PCRS which is dependent on GPs’ and pharmacist’s claims for reimbursement. Data from pharmacies were only available for the 2012/2013 influenza season when administration of influenza vaccine by pharmacists commenced which may have influenced 2011/2012 season data. In addition, during the period 2011/2012 data reported were not complete as PCRS did not report vaccinations administered by GPs and claimed through the new vaccination claiming system. The 2012/2013 dataset is not fully complete from PCRS and it may improve when the complete dataset is received. In 2008/2009 there were a number of high profile avian influenza H5N1 outbreaks in UK and other European countries. It is also possible that the higher uptake noted that year reflected a mistaken belief that seasonal influenza vaccine would protect against H5N1 avian influenza.
Of note is that a national telephone survey undertaken after the 2012/2013 influenza season measuring influenza vaccine uptake reports 59.9% coverage (provisional data) in those aged 65 years and over which is similar to the uptake recorded in the previous season i.e. 2011/2012 season. This survey also explored the reasons for non-vaccination among respondents. Respondents in the age group 65 years and over perceived themselves as not needing the influenza vaccine and of not being at risk of contracting influenza. In those who were vaccinated, recommendation by the GP was a strong predictor of influenza vaccination.
As pointed out the influenza vaccine coverage in this age group is below the WHO target of 75% and this is of concern. Efforts to improve flu vaccine uptake in those aged 65 years and older are made annually by launching the influenza vaccination campaign (media and written materials by the National Immunisation Office) at the start of the influenza season. In addition, HSE areas communicate to all nursing homes and residential care units at the start of each flu season regarding the importance of improving influenza vaccine uptake among elderly residents.
Table 1: Cumulative percentage seasonal influenza vaccine uptake in Medical Card Holders aged 65 years and older by season (September – August), attending GP clinics. (Click table to enlarge view)
Deputy Deasy asked the Minister for Health the reason flu vaccination rates for Irish persons with chronic medical conditions/risk groups were just below 29% in 2009/2010 the most recent available data compared to 70% in the Netherlands; and the reason vaccination rates among healthcare workers here reached only 18% in 2011/12 down from 26.5% in 2009/10.
REPLY / Minister James Reilly:
I am informed by the HSE that provisional data from the National Telephone Survey 2013 indicates that among those in the age group 18 - 64 years, with chronic medical conditions, self-reported influenza uptake for the 2012 - 2013 season was 28.4%. There has been little change from uptake in this group previously reported from the National Telephone Survey undertaken in 2010 (for the 2009 - 2010 season). In general, data from previous surveys has found that low uptake among groups recommended vaccine is based on lack of self-perceived risk and need for vaccination. A GP or clinician recommending influenza vaccine is a predictor of vaccine acceptance (source: National Telephone Survey 2010).
Based on data from a European survey (VENICE II survey, 2011 - 2012 influenza season), only three of 28 EU member states (UK, the Netherlands, France) were able to provide administrative data relating to influenza immunisation among individuals with clinical risk (aged 6 months - 64 years). The influenza vaccine uptake in this group ranged from 29.7% (France) to 73.6% (the Netherlands). An additional three countries provided survey based data for that season (Portugal, Norway and France). The range of uptake was 31% (Portugal) to 45.6% (France- estimated based on a number of surveys).
Possible reasons for higher uptake in the Netherlands may be related to the fact that both vaccine and vaccine administration are free for all, whereas in Ireland although the vaccine is free for all, those individuals without medical or GP only cards are required to pay for administration. It is well documented in international literature that payment for preventive care services (such as vaccination) negatively impacts on vaccination uptake. Additionally, the Netherlands uses computerised medical records to estimate uptake among risk groups. Ireland does not have information systems with which to routinely identify those at risk for vaccination and to monitor uptake among this group.
The most recent data on seasonal influenza vaccination uptake among Health Care workers (HCWs) is available from HPSC. Overall in 2012 - 2013 the percentage uptake among HCWs as reported by participating hospitals was 17.4% (range 10.1% - 27.8%), a slight decrease from 18.0% reported in 2011 - 2012). However, data from the National Telephone Survey 2013 found that self-reported vaccine uptake among HCW participants of 29.5%, suggesting that the data provided by hospitals may be incomplete and not accurately reflect uptake among HCWs, some of whom may obtain vaccination outside the occupational health care department (and therefore not reported by occupational health statistics).
During the current 2013 - 2014 influenza season HSE is working to improve uptake among HCWs in the hospitals and other health care settings. Based on provisional data from HPSC (for October 2013 - January 2014) the estimated uptake among hospital HCWs is 18.1%, and among HCWs in long term care facilities is 22.8%. The slight increase reported in this current season most likely reflects the increased attention and promotion to vaccination within the HSE health care facilities (hospitals and long term care facilities). The data for the complete season will be available following the final request for uptake figures made at the end of the season (May 2014).
Internationally, achieving high influenza vaccine uptake among HCWs is seen as challenging. Within Europe recent data (VENICE II survey, 2011 - 2012 influenza season) reported a wide inter-country variation of influenza vaccine coverage among HCWs, range 6.4% (Poland) to 54.4% (Romania).
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health his plans he has to extend the provision of additional services in Primary Care Centres to deliver more medical treatment at community level and ease pressure in public hospitals; and if he will outline the types of services that could be extended to these centres.
REPLY / Minister of State Alex White:
The development of primary care is central to the Government's objective to deliver a high quality, integrated and cost effective health system and is a key element of the overall Health Reform Programme. This includes the development of Primary Care Teams (PCTs) and Primary Care Centres (PCCs). The core objective is to achieve a more balanced health service by ensuring that the vast majority of patients and clients who require urgent or planned care are managed within primary and community based settings. This will be achieved by increasing activity in the primary care setting and redirecting services away from acute hospitals to the community.
The development of primary care centres, through a combination of public and private investment, will facilitate the delivery of multi-disciplinary primary health care.
It is the Government’s intention to develop as many primary care centres as possible using one of the following methods:
Considerable progress has been made in the delivery of primary care centres and 34 centres have opened since May 2011.
The establishment of Community Intervention Teams (CITs) is an example of delivering services appropriate for care in the home/community. These Teams work in partnership with PCTs, General Practice, Community Hospitals, home support services, acute hospitals and other professionals, to deliver enhanced services and patient centred care in the most appropriate setting. The benefits of CITs include:
There are currently 7 functioning CITs nationally, with further developments and expansions planned in 2014. The number of patient referrals to CITs in 2013 was 21,493.
Other services scheduled for transfer to Primary Care Centres include the following and these will be progressed further by the HSE during 2014:
The above are examples of routine clinical activity targeted for transfer from acute hospitals to primary care in the short to medium term as the Primary Care Centre infrastructure is developed.
January 15, 2014
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health the steps being taken to ensure adequate service provision across Irish hospitals for Cystic Fibrosis patients, both children and adults, including specialist isolated treatment facilities, in view of the fact that Ireland has the highest CF rates in the world, with one in nineteen people here carrying the gene.
Reply from Minister James Reilly: Cystic Fibrosis is Ireland's most common life-threatening inherited disease. This Government is acutely aware of the challenges that people with cystic fibrosis and their families face in managing their condition and fully acknowledges the need for and supports the provision of dedicated accommodation in an environment which allows appropriate isolation for improved infection control. Given the need to avoid the exposure of CF patients to possible sources of infection, the aim is to minimise wherever possible the need to admit such patients to hospital and instead to provide treatment on an ambulatory daycare basis, as close as possible to home.
There has been significant investment in services for people with cystic fibrosis in the past few years including a new dedicated CF unit opened in 2012 at St Vincent's University Hospital, the National Adult Referral Centre; a new purpose-built dedicated Ambulatory Outpatient facility at Beaumont Hospital for patients with CF; a new outpatient facility at CUH which was completed with local philanthropic support from Build4Life as well as Exchequer funding. Other capital projects currently underway include a dedicated paediatric out-patient CF unit at Galway University Hospital which is expected to be completed during 2014; and the development of a CF unit in CUH, for which funding has been raised by Build4Life. As the Deputy will be aware, Build4Life has raised the issue of ringfencing of these beds for patients with CF. I understand that the HSE and Build4Life are now in a process which I hope will bring about a resolution shortly.
A further key initiative in recent years has been the introduction of newborn screening for cystic fibrosis in July 2011. This test is included as part of the National Newborn Bloodspot Screening Programme. Early identification and care will enhance the outcomes for children with CF. Last year, the new CF drug ivacaftor (Kalydeco) was made available and it is estimated that approximately 120 patients will be suitable for treatment with this new drug.
A Cystic Fibrosis Clinical Programme has now been established as one of the HSE's National Clinical Programmes. Its aim is to provide the framework to ensure that patients with CF receive optimal care to preserve/enhance their quality of life and improve health outcomes and wellbeing within the context of the three key objectives of all of the National Clinical Programmes - to improve the quality of care provided, to improve access to specialist services and to improve cost-effectiveness and efficiency.
January 15, 2014
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the developing crisis regarding cystic fibrosis beds in Cork University Hospital; and the position regarding the supposed ringfencing of agreed beds for CF patients in the context of substantial fundraising by the Build4life voluntary charity.
Reply from Minister James Reilly: At the outset, I want to commend Build4Life on its achievement in raising €2.3m to fund this unit in Cork University Hospital. The situation that has now arisen in relation to this development is regrettable. I understand that the HSE and Build4Life are now in a process which I hope will bring about a resolution shortly.
I understand that the proposed Unit will have 20 beds, 10 of which will be designated for patients with CF, eight within the unit with two additional isolation beds provided in the Renal Unit. I have been assured that patients with CF will have priority access to these ten beds at all times. The ring fencing of beds for CF patients has been an issue in other hospitals around the country but has been resolved through written agreements and good operational procedures. I am confident that a similar agreement can be reached in this instance.
The key issue is that patients with CF are assured that sufficient beds will be available when they are needed, but at the same time, when beds are not needed for CF patients, they can be freed up for other very ill patients with respiratory and other conditions. I note that Cystic Fibrosis Ireland has expressed its confidence that, following discussions, an agreement can be drawn up that will allow building to commence.
January 15, 2014
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health the level of services that will be provided by the eye unit at Waterford Regional Hospital into the future in the context of the rearrangement of hospital services.
Reply from Minister James Reilly: Last May, I published the Government's plan to reorganise public hospitals into more efficient and accountable Hospital Groups which will harness the benefits of increased independence and greater control at local level. The establishment of acute hospitals into a small number of groups, each with its own governance and management, will, I believe, provide an optimum configuration for hospital services to deliver high-quality, safe patient care in a cost effective manner. The Deputy will be aware that the establishment of hospital groups was committed to in ‘Future Health: A Strategic Framework for Reform’ and is a key building block in delivering on the Programme for Government commitment to fundamentally reform our health service.
Hospital Groups will be required, within one year, to develop a strategic plan which will outline how they will provide more efficient and effective patient services; how they will reorganise these services to provide optimal care to the populations they serve; and how they will achieve maximum integration and synergy with other Groups and health services, particularly primary care and community based services. The role of individual hospitals within each group will be considered in detail in the context of this strategic plan.
Waterford Regional Hospital is part of the South/South West Group along with Cork University Hospital/CUMH; Mercy University Hospital; South Tipperary General Hospital; South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital; Kerry General Hospital, Bantry General Hospital; Mallow General Hospital, and Lourdes Orthopaedic Hospital, Kilcreene. It will therefore be a matter for the South/South West Group to determine where services, including ophthalmology, will be located within the Group, taking into account the health needs of the population as well as Government policy.
January 15, 2014
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the reported transfer of up to 1,200 cataract operations awaited by patients on the Waterford Regional Hospital list to private hospitals; the average cost to the Health Service Executive of outsourcing such surgery per patient; if there was any consultation with the salaried consultants at WRH who are both contracted and keen to carry out these procedures; and if he is concerned that this effectively represents a double payment by the State.
Reply from Minister James Reilly: In relation to the specific query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.