Health Questions:

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Health Questions:

Oct
2014
01

Dáil Issues, Health, Oral Questions

Medical Cards; Maternity Services;Treatment Abroad Scheme; Life During Pregnancy;Dangers of MMS and CD drugs;

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health (Leo Varadkar)
by Deputy Clare Daly
for ORAL ANSWER on 30/09/2014
To ask the Minister for Health the steps he proposes to take to overhaul Irish maternity policy which shows increasing reliance on caesarian sections, which is expensive, wasteful, damaging to maternal and foetal outcomes and not in accordance with international best practise.

– Clare Daly T.D.
REPLY.
My Department is currently developing a new National Maternity Strategy in conjunction with the HSE. This Strategy will determine the future model of services to ensure that women have access to safe, high quality maternity care in a setting most appropriate to their needs. As part of the development of the Strategy, it is proposed to review and evaluate current maternity services. The issue of Caesarian section rates will be considered in that context.
QUESTION NO: 113

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health (Leo Varadkar)
by Deputy Clare Daly
for ORAL ANSWER on 30/09/2014
To ask the Minister for Health the position regarding the way he will ensure that psychiatrists are screened to work within the new legislation in view of the fact that over 100 psychiatrists have signed an open letter opposing the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act and many stating they would participate in the carrying out of assessments in effect to prevent a women accessing her legal right to an abortion where her life is in danger from suicide; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Clare Daly T.D.
REPLY.
The Deputy may wish to note that the Guidance Document to assist health professionals in the implementation of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act identifies clear referral pathways for assessment under Section 9 of the Act.

For example, if a GP considers a pregnant woman’s life to be at real and substantial risk from suicide, he/she should refer her urgently to the local consultant psychiatrist, or a consultant obstetrician in an appropriate institution or through the appropriate emergency pathway depending on her condition and how critical her situation is. If a GP experiences difficulty in accessing the local consultant psychiatrist, he/she can refer to the relevant Executive Clinical Director (Mental Health) to organise an appropriate assessment. The Document clarifies that women may also present to a variety of care providers such as crisis pregnancy services, public health nurses, counsellors, social workers or other members of the primary care team. Such services can either refer the woman to her GP or advise the woman to present as an emergency at a hospital where appropriate.

Provision for conscientious objections is made in Section 17 of the Act. Section 17(3) states that a person who has a conscientious objection shall arrange for the transfer of care of the pregnant woman concerned as may be necessary to enable the woman to avail of the medical procedure concerned.

 
QUESTION NO: 80

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister of State at the Department of Health (Kathleen Lynch)
by Deputy Clare Daly
for ORAL ANSWER on 30/09/2014
To ask the Minister for Health the steps he plans to take to ensure that the extremely dangerous MMS and CD are outlawed, following numerous attempts at specially organised events to push them as a miracle cure for conditions such as autism and the fact that the product is toxic industrial strength bleach.

Clare Daly T.D.
REPLY.
Irish and EU medicines legislation requires that any product which it is claimed treats a medical condition must be authorised as a medicinal product by the European Medicines Agency or the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) before being placed on the market. From the information available to me, the product referred to as Master Mineral Solution (MMS) or CD contains the substance chlorine dioxide. MMS is not authorised as a medicine for sale or supply in Ireland and it is therefore an offence to place this product on the market in Ireland without a marketing authorisation.

The HPRA continues to advise consumers not to take this product as its safety and efficacy have not been evaluated or accepted by any medicines regulatory agency. The Food Safety Authority and the National Poisons Information Centre of Ireland have also issued a public safety warning regarding the use of MMS.

The HPRA has confirmed that it is actively following up on this issue as a matter of urgency. Consumers experiencing side effects thought to be associated with MMS are advised to consult a health care professional.

As Minister I would be very concerned at the promotion of unauthorised products for which unfounded claims of medicinal benefits are made. I would strongly advise people not to purchase such products, which may well be harmful to anyone who consumes them.

 

QUESTION NO: 82

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health (Leo Varadkar)
by Deputy Clare Daly
for ORAL ANSWER on 30/09/2014
To ask the Minister for Health if he has satisfied himself with the operation of the Treatment Abroad Scheme Department of the Health Service Executive in relation to the making of decisions, the appeal process and new E112 forms which remove the right to voluntary and informed consent; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Clare Daly T.D.
REPLY.
The Treatment Abroad Scheme, operated by the Health Service Executive, provides for the referral of patients to another EU/EEA country or Switzerland for a treatment that is not available in Ireland or where undue delay is experienced in accessing necessary treatment in Ireland. Under the Scheme, the HSE provides for the cost of approved treatments abroad through the issue of form E112.

There are clear qualifying criteria to access the Scheme set out in EU Regulations and in Department of Health Guidelines. Treatment must be medically necessary, must meet the patient’s needs and may not be an experimental treatment. It is also a requirement that the hospital outside the state will accept form E112. The application must be assessed and a determination given before that patient goes abroad. The HSE is not required to approve a treatment which is not available in Ireland where an equivalent treatment which will meet the patient’s needs is available.

The Scheme is operated on an equitable and transparent basis for all applicants and ensures the implementation of the governing statutory framework is applied in a consistent manner.

Each application to the Scheme is reviewed individually on its own merits and there are no restrictions on a person making an application to the Scheme for review and decision. Previous approvals or declines are not used as an influencing factor on subsequent applications. Each application is processed and given a formal written decision. If that decision is one of decline, the reason for that decision is clearly outlined and the option of an appeal is afforded.

The application form does not remove the right to voluntary and informed consent. In fact, the application form is specifically designed to secure that consent by notifying the applicant that the HSE reserves the right to access medical records. This access is specific to that required for the proportionate administering of the Scheme.

An application to the Scheme is for the funding of a treatment, not an approval of the treatment sought. In processing an application the HSE must examine the form to decide if the application meets with the rules set for the Scheme. Of necessity the HSE must ensure it has sufficient information to establish compliance with the legislation and guidelines and the veracity of the application. It is considered that the measures undertaken by the HSE in respect of the application process are proportionate, both in ensuring the patient’s right to access the Scheme and also in ensuring the Scheme is properly administered.
QUESTION NO: 90

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health (Leo Varadkar)
by Deputy Clare Daly
for ORAL ANSWER on 30/09/2014
To ask the Minister for Health if he will withdraw the Guidance document for the Implementation of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, which amplifies rather than minimises the flaws in the legislation, and leaves Ireland still in breach of the European Court of Human Rights, as a woman whose life is in danger cannot effectively access her legal right to an abortion.

Clare Daly T.D.
REPLY.
I welcome the publication of the Guidance Document for the Implementation of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act and it is my understanding that this document is in full compliance with the Act. In addition, the Guidance Document identifies referral pathways to fulfil the requirements of the Act, and other relevant matters, and this information should assist health professionals in the practical operation of the Act.

I wish to thank the relevant professional bodies and all the members of the Committee for their expertise, dedication and support in drafting this important Document.