Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin
Minister for Health and Children
the steps he is taking to deal with the shortage of neurologists; the number of neurologists in each health board area; if new neurologists are being recruited; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin):
Comhairle na nOspidéal is the statutory body whose main function is to regulate appointments of consultant medical staff in hospitals that provide services under the Health Acts and to specify qualifications for such appointments. It also advises on matters relating to the organisation and operation of hospital services and publishes reports relating to such services.
My Department is advised by Comhairle that there are currently 14 consultant adult neurology posts in the country, five consultant paediatric neurology posts and three consultant neurophysiology posts. I am attaching a table showing the location of these posts within the health board areas. Arising from a number of meetings with various interest groups, I requested Comhairle na nOspidéal to conduct review of neurological services and related issues. Comhairle established a committee to, inter alia, examine existing arrangements for the provision of consultant-level neurology and neurophysiology services nationally and to make recommendations to Comhairle on the future organisation and development of those services. I understand from Comhairle that the committee's report will be available very shortly.
The need for additional investment in neurology and neurophysiology will be considered in the light of the Comhairle report, other competing priorities, and the availability of adequate funding.
Consultant neurology and neurophysiology posts by health board area