Category Archives: Health

Early Access to new Hepatitis C treatments will save lives- Keane

Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South-West, Cáit Keane, has today (Monday) welcomed the announcement by Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, that the HSE is putting in place a programme to provide early access to powerful new direct-acting anti-viral drugs for Hepatitis C patients with the greatest clinical need, due to the advanced nature of their condition.

“I have been calling for this action to be taken in the Seanad now for several weeks. I know that the  patients  in  question  have  been  identified  by clinical experts as suffering  from very serious liver disease and to be most likely to benefit substantially from this  intervention.

“I am very pleased that we can commence the use of these new medicines in Ireland.  These  drugs  have  the  potential  to  bring  major benefits for patients  with  serious  illness as a result of Hepatitis C. I also want to thank Gilead, Janssen and Bristol Myers Squibb for agreeing to enter into negotiations with the HSE and the Department of Health in the interests of these seriously ill patients.

“The early access programme will apply to patients deemed to have an urgent need for treatment, and for whom previously licensed drug treatments would not be appropriate.  Similar early access programmes are in place in a number of other European countries. A number of powerful new Direct-Acting Antiviral therapies are being licensed in Europe for people with Hepatitis C. As with other countries, Ireland must ensure that access to high-cost treatments such as these is managed, in order to prioritise access for patients who can benefit most, while ensuring that the financing model is sustainable and affordable.

“The aim is to provide access for as many patients as possible, within the resources provided by taxpayers.For that reason, the Department of Health has also set up an advisory group to consider a multi-annual approach to the clinical and public health management of Hepatitis C. I understand that this group will report to the Minister in the coming weeks. Its recommendations will inform decisions about extending access to these new drugs to further groups of patients. This is a very welcome development that will save lives and therefore, I fully support it.”

ENDS

Mount Carmel to re-open in the new HSE service plan – Keane

Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South-West, Cáit Keane, has today (Thursday) welcomed the news that Mount Carmel Hospital is to re-open under the HSE Service Plan. Senator Keane was speaking following the announcement of the new HSE Service Plan. The facility was closed in 2013 due to a cited reason of a lack of viability. However, the Hospital is to be re-opened under the service plan additional funding provision.

“The new plan also provides for an additional 115 short stay hospital beds, including the opening of Mount Carmel, with 65 beds on a phased basis from March 2015. This measure will support older people in the most appropriate care setting and will support early discharge from acute hospitals, reduce delayed discharges and provide rehabilitation services to support the older person in returning to their home.

“This will support quality long-term residential care services for 22,361 older people under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, including 330 additional in 2015.

“A key component of Fine Gael’s last election manifesto was a commitment to help older people stay in their homes as long as possible. The new plan makes this possible with the inclusion of funding for community care services and measures to tackle delayed discharges. As part of a comprehensive suite of home care and community support services, home care packages will be available to an additional 600 older people, to enable them to live independently, in their own homes, for as long as possible.

“The new plan also provides for an additional 115 short stay hospital beds, including the opening of Mount Carmel, with 65 beds on a phased basis from March 2015. This measure will support older people in the most appropriate care setting and will support early discharge from acute hospitals, reduce delayed discharges and provide rehabilitation services to support the older person in returning to their home.

“There will be a joint approach to the management of delayed discharges in acute hospitals between the hospitals, primary care and clinical programmes to ensure the best possible solution for patients requiring long-term care.”

ENDS

Keane welcomes news that HSE has purchased Mount Carmel Hospital

Senator Cáit Keane, Fine Gael’s candidate in the Dublin South West bye-election, has today (Tuesday) welcomed news that the HSE has purchased Mount Carmel Hospital.

“The HSE has confirmed that the hospital will be used for step-down service for patients who no longer need acute hospital care, and will be commissioned next year.  This is good news for healthcare professionals in Dublin South West,” Senator Keane stated.

“The loss of 328 jobs in this facility earlier this year was a huge blow to the area.  Mount Carmel had been in operation for 65 years and the people of this constituency had a huge affinity with the hospital and rightly so,” she continued.

“Medical workers will be keen to learn about the staff requirements available to be filled.  This news will also come as a bonus to construction workers in the area, as the hospital will require refurbishment to accommodate the new units.

“I would urge the HSE to engage positively with all stakeholders in the coming months to ensure plans for the hospital are adequately communicated,” the Senator added.

Funding restored to 30 organisations – Keane

Fine Gael Senator Cáit Keane has welcomed the announcement by the Government that funding has been restored to 30 organisations under the Scheme to Support National Organisations (SSNO). This funding will last for 12 months before being reviewed by Pobal, and will cost €1.28 million. Just some of the organisations who will benefit include:

  • The Dyslexia Association of Ireland,
  • Irish Deaf Society
  • Arthritis Ireland,
  • The Irish Heart Foundation
  • Suas Educational Development.