Parliamentary Questions

Since 2017 I have been asking some Parliamentary questions to the Irish government on various health related matters. The Minster is required to answer. See below for some of them. Special thanks to the TDs for Deputies for asking these questions on my behalf.

 

 

QUESTION PQ 4826 17

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health (Simon Harris T.D.)
by Hildegarde Naughtan TD
for WRITTEN ANSWER on 14/02/2016  

*To ask the Minister for Health the percentage of the health budget which is spent on the care of persons with chronic diseases here; and the cost of this to his department and the economy in general.

REPLY 

Click to download PQ 4826 17 Response

QUESTION NO:  214

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health (Simon Harris T.D.)
by Deputy Clare Daly
for WRITTEN ANSWER on 13/07/2016  

 
 *  To ask the Minister for Health if he will direct his officials to attend the International Congress for Integrative Health and Medicine in Berlin, Germany in 2017; if it would be of educational benefit for his officials to attend, given that none of his officials attended the International Congress for Integrative Health and Medicine in Stuttgart , Germany in May 2016, which was attended by representatives of 40 other countries..

Clare Daly T.D.

 
REPLY.
The Department of Health engages with a range of international fora on an on-going basis. The purpose of this engagement is to promote and protect Ireland’s interests on health policy and related matters, and to benefit from the expertise and best practice available internationally. All invitations to attend events abroad are given careful consideration, taking into account competing work pressures and resource constraints.

 

QUESTION NO:  196

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health (Simon Harris T.D.)
by Deputy Clare Daly
for WRITTEN ANSWER on 13/07/2016  

 
 *  To ask the Minister for Health if he will publish guidelines on the integration of complementary and traditional medicine in the healthcare services.

– Clare Daly T.D.

 
REPLY.
I have no plans to publish guidelines on the integration of complementary and traditional medicines.  

The Deputy may be interested to note that under medicines legislation a medicine must be authorised either nationally by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) or centrally by the European Medicines Agency (EMA)  before being placed on the market.  Traditional herbal medicines must also be approved before being made available for sale.  The Registration Scheme for manufacturers of traditional herbal medicines is operated by the HPRA.

 

 

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 26/10/2017
Question Number(s): 166 Question Reference(s): 45461/17 Written
Department: Health
______________________________________________

QUESTION

*  To ask the Minister for Health if he will request that the manufacturers of statins sold here to make available the essential underlying research data used by each of the manufacturers regarding the adverse effects associated with statins..

Hildegarde Naughton T.D.

REPLY

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) is the competent authority responsible for the regulation of human medicines in Ireland.   Under European and Irish legislation, before a medicine can be placed on the Irish market, the manufacturer must seek an authorisation from the HPRA or, in the case of certain medicinal products, the European Medicines Agency. A determination on an application for authorisation of a medicinal product is based on a rigorous scientific assessment of the application against the criteria of quality, safety and efficacy, legal and regulatory requirements.  I have no role in the process of medicinal product authorisation.

All pharmaceutical companies seeking marketing authorisations for their medicines must provide evidence in a dossier which includes information from pre-clinical studies, clinical trials and manufacturing and testing data. The format of the dossier and type of data to be submitted is laid down in EU and national legislation and guidelines. Authorisation thereafter is made on the basis of initial and continuing benefit versus risk balance for specific therapeutic indications, having regard to the quality, safety and efficacy of the product for the proposed conditions of use.

The Summary of Product Characteristics for each medicine includes detailed information on the use, dosing recommendations, precautions for use, and the known side-effects of the medicine concerned.  Information on the research data submitted to the competent authority is included in a number of sections, particularly section 5.1. The summaries for all products are accessible from the HPRA website (www.hpra.ie), including those for the statins authorised in Ireland, namely atorvastatin, fluvastatin, pitavastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin, and simvastatin, which are authorised under a range of brand names and in various strengths. The package leaflet for patients reflects the information described in the summary, but is required to be presented in an abbreviated and easy-to-read format.

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 26/10/2017
Question Number(s): 167 Question Reference(s): 45462/17 Written
Department: Health
______________________________________________

QUESTION

*  To ask the Minister for Health the costs of statins purchased from the various manufacturers; the amount paid by the HSE; and the names of the manufacturers of same for each of the past five years, in tabular form.

Hildegarde Naughton T.D.

REPLY

Under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, the HSE has statutory responsibility for the pricing and reimbursement of the community drug schemes; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 26/10/2017
Question Number(s): 168 Question Reference(s): 45463/17 Written
Department: Health
______________________________________________

QUESTION

*  To ask the Minister for Health the amount spent by his department and by the HSE on educating the persons to change lifestyle as a preventive measure against chronic disease, in tabular form..

Hildegarde Naughton T.D.

REPLY

The Health and Wellbeing Programme in my Department is responsible for coordinating the implementation of Healthy Ireland which is the National Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing 2013-2025. The Framework is based on evidence and experience from around the world which clearly shows that to create positive changes in health and wellbeing takes the involvement of the whole of Government and all of society working in unison. Since Healthy Ireland was launched in March 2013, my Department has launched the following health and wellbeing initiatives:

  • The National Sexual Health Strategy 2015 – 2020;
  • Tobacco Free Ireland – Report of the Tobacco Policy Review Group;
  • The National Positive Ageing Strategy;
  • Get Ireland Active – National Physical Activity Plan for Ireland;
  • A Healthy Weight for Ireland – Obesity Policy and Action Plan;
  • The National Healthy Cities and Counties of Ireland Network; and
  • Healthy Food for Life – The Healthy Eating Guidelines and Food Pyramid.

It is not possible to identify in totality how much funding is currently spent on improving health and wellbeing across all Government Departments and agencies and in wider society.
Since the launch of Healthy Ireland, expenditure on its implementation from within the budget of the Department of Health has amounted to the following:

  • 2013 €89,315;
  • 2014 €586,470;
  • 2015 €607,706.83;
  • 2016   €1,156,405; and
  • 2017 €922,109.

In addition to the expenditure noted above, other expenditure arising within the Department could also be described as “Healthy Ireland” depending on classification.

Separate to the expenditure detailed above, the Government, in July 2016, approved the creation of a Healthy Ireland Fund and subsequently provided an initial allocation of €5 million in Budget 2017 to kick-start its establishment. The Fund was announced by An Taoiseach on Monday the 2nd of October 2017.

The Healthy Ireland Fund will help drive the cross-governmental approach as set out in the Healthy Ireland Framework to improve the mental and physical health and wellbeing of the population.  The main aim of the Fund is to support innovative, cross-sectoral, evidence based projects, programmes and initiatives that support the implementation of the key national policies in areas such as Obesity, Smoking, Alcohol, Physical Activity and Sexual Health.  In particular the Fund will be for projects and programmes aimed at children and young people and their families, and supporting communities and vulnerable groups who are at most risk of experiencing health inequalities.

The Healthy Ireland Fund is managed and administered by Pobal on behalf of the Department and a further €5m has been made available for the Fund in Budget 2018.

As the Deputy is aware, operational responsibility for the delivery of specific initiatives promoting health and wellbeing by the health services is a matter for the HSE. Expenditure arising in the HSE, particularly in the Health and Wellbeing Division, could also be described as implementation of Healthy Ireland. However, it is not possible to disaggregate expenditure on promoting and improving health and wellbeing generally from overall HSE expenditure. Again, for example, within overall HSE expenditure, and in addition to work which is an integral part of the Health and Wellbeing Division, a large component of health promotion and improvement work takes place across the acute and primary care services as part of normal day to day activity. There is also expenditure arising in relation to communications campaigns by the HSE.