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Written Answers. - Hospital Waiting Lists.

Wednesday, 18 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 559 No. 6

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 175. Mr. Perry Information on John Perry Zoom on John Perry  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  the plans he has in place to deal with the extreme shortage of neurologists in the country to improve the services for people with neurological conditions with an increase in the numbers of neurologists and a concomitant improvement in the services that are available to people with neurological problems; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that some patients have to wait for six months for an appointment which is a reflection of the severe shortage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26902/02]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Comhairle na nOspidéal is the statutory body whose main function is to regulate appointments of consultant medical staff in hospitals providing services under the Health Acts, and to specify [1561]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. Arising from a number of meetings with various interest groups, I requested Comhairle na nOspidéal to conduct a review of neurological services and related issues. Comhairle established a committee with the following terms of reference:

To examine the existing arrangements for the provision of consultant-level neurology and neurophysiology services nationally and following consultation with the interests concerned, to make recommendations to Comhairle na nOspidéal on the future organisation and development of neurology and neurophysiology services. The review will focus on updating the 1991 Comhairle report taking into account recent advances in and increasing demand for neurological and neurophysiological services.

The Comhairle review is near completion and the report is expected in the new year. The need for additional investment in neurology and neurophysiology will be considered in the light of the review by Comhairle, other competing priorities, and the availability of adequate funding.

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