Wednesday, 7 May 2003
Dáil Eireann Debate
102. Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a paediatric urologist post has been left vacant as a result of a failure to resolve disagreements between Crumlin, Temple Street and Tallaght Hospitals; the steps he intends to take to ensure that the post is filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12030/03]
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): By way of background, I should explain that the future provision of paediatric surgery services was reviewed in 1997-98 by Comhairle na nOspidéal, in the absence of agreement among the three paediatric hospitals in Dublin on the filling of a consultant paediatric surgery vacancy which had arisen. Comhairle recommended that specialist paediatric and neonatal surgery for the children of the State should be concentrated in Our Lady's Hospital, Crumlin, because of the relatively small volume of cases and the high level of multidisciplinary expertise required. It is envisaged all three paediatric hospitals continuing to provide non-specialist paediatric surgery and less complex urology services.
Temple Street Hospital has not accepted the proposed transfer of the specialist surgical procedures to Crumlin and, largely as a result of that, it has not been possible to proceed with the permanent filling of the vacancy referred to by the Deputy. This is despite the fact that the filling of the vacancy has been approved by Comhairle and that the necessary funding is available from the Eastern Regional Health Authority. In an effort to break the impasse, Comhairle na nOspidéal established a sub-committee last year which has met with various interests, including paediatric surgeons, neonatologists, representatives of Temple Street and Crumlin Hospitals, the ERHA and my Department.
I understand that Temple Street Hospital has recently made a submission to Comhairle in relation to the potential effect on the hospital's services that the transfer of specialist surgery would have. Following the consultation process, Comhairle will prepare a position paper outlining its conclusions and recommendations in relation to the specialist paediatric surgical services. I wish to emphasise that I am fully committed to supporting a resolution of this situation that will be in the best interests of the paediatric patients who require these specialised procedures.
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