Tuesday, 31 January 1984
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. S. Brennan: asked the Minister for Health if he will confirm that his Department have sought the laying off of 25 shift workers employed by the joint hospitals' board (linen services) laundry in Rathfarnham, Dublin; if, in view of the high unemployment in the area, he will reverse this decision; and if hospitals in the Dublin area are placing work with outside laundries; and, if so, if he will indicate the extent to which this is happening.
Minister for Health (Mr. B. Desmond): I propose to take Question Nos. 243 and 244 together. I have not asked the Hospitals Joint Services Board, Rathfarnham, to implement any redundancies among its staff. The board itself, having made a detailed study of the likely demand for its laundry service in the coming years, concluded that manning levels are higher than would be necessary to meet this demand. In the circumstances the board has decided that it has no option but to lay off a certain number of staff. Since the matter is at present the subject of negotiation between the board and the trade unions concerned I do not think it appropriate that I should make any further comment at this stage.
With regard to the last part of the Deputy's question, the Hospitals Joint Services Board has not a monopoly of the hospital laundry services in the Dublin area. It has always been the case that part of the Dublin laundry hospital requirement was met from other services including private laundries. The extent to which this happens varies and it is not possible to give precise figures on the matter.
My Department, in consultation with the Hospitals Joint Services Board, among other bodies, are currently undertaking  a review of laundry policy in the Dublin area in the light of the programme for the development of general hospital services now being implemented.
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