Tuesday, 27 July 2021
Department of Health
3177. To ask the Minister for Health if his Department will consider establishing a national diabetes register to track the prevalence of the condition, measure outcomes, ascertain cost of care and plan for future services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40581/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 2921 and 3177 together.
In September 2019 Sláintecare Integration funding was allocated to the HSE to design and procure a National Diabetes Registry demonstrator product and develop a full specification plan for a National Diabetes Registry.
The development of a National Diabetes Registry will have a long-term benefit on:
- Patient care by facilitating benchmarking of individual care against guideline recommendations and QI feedback to practitioners
- Provision of appropriate health services by providing reliable information to healthcare planners and policymakers.
This project was paused as it was dependent on the input and expertise of key HSE staff who were redeployed onto urgent COVID-19 work and will be revisited again in the future.
2923. To ask the Minister for Health the current supports available for nursing home residents to cover transportation costs for medical appointments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39644/21]
The Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS), commonly referred to as Fair Deal, is a system of financial support for people who require long-term residential care. Participants contribute to the cost of their care according to their means while the State pays the balance of the cost.
The NHSS covers the cost of the standard components of long-term residential care which are:
- Nursing and personal care appropriate to the level of care needs of the person;
- Bed and board;
- Basic aids and appliances necessary to assist a person with the activities of daily living; and
- Laundry service.
Costs not covered by the NHSS include those individually incurred for items like social activities, newspapers and hairdressing. This may also include medical services such as therapies and some medical equipment. A person's eligibility for other schemes, such as the medical card scheme or the drugs payment scheme, is unaffected by participation in the NHSS or residence in a nursing home. In determining the services covered by the NHSS it was considered very important that the care recipient and the taxpayer would be protected and would not end up paying for the same services twice. For this reason, medications and aids that are already prescribed for individuals under an existing scheme are not included in the services covered by the NHSS, as this would involve effectively paying twice for the same service.
It is important to state that residents of nursing homes should enjoy the same levels of support and access to services as when they lived in their own homes. It is acknowledged that the reason they require 24 hour levels of support is due to their level of dependency, which in turn may require access to clinical services including hospital and other outpatient appointments in the community. The HSE provides for a level of Intermediate Care Vehicles, which are used predominantly for non-emergency transport between acute hospitals for admission and discharge purposes. They would be reserved for those who would need specific support in transport. In other cases, normal transport arrangements apply. These arrangements (e.g. wheelchair taxi) are normally funded by the individual.
Although the NHSS covers core living expenses, residents can still incur some costs in a nursing home, as set out above. In recognition of this, anyone in receipt of financial support under the NHSS retains at least 20% of their income. The minimum amount that is retained is the equivalent of 20% of the State Pension (Non-Contributory).