Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Tralee Hospital.

10.

andMr. Begley asked the Minister for Health when work will commence on the building of the new hospital in Tralee, County Kerry; and its proposed complement.

Approval was given on 4th September, 1969, to the planning of a 280-bed hospital at Tralee.

It will be appreciated that the planning of a hospital of this magnitude will take some time. It is not feasible at this stage to say with any certainty when it will be possible to commence building work.

Did the Minister examine the proposals sent to him by the Kerry County Council some months ago for a hospital with a complement of 300 beds?

There are a number of questions to be decided. Firstly, the total number of beds, which we think should be 280 and, secondly, whether beds for a certain number of disciplines are required more urgently than others. These are matters for planning and consultation between the health authority and my Department. It is bound to take some time, as it does in the case of all hospitals.

Did the Minister examine the proposals submitted by the Kerry County Council to provide a complement of 300 beds because the local authority are very anxious about the nurses' training school there? At the moment they find it very hard to get nurses in the county.

The Kerry Health Authority should put up a scheme.

We have submitted proposals for a general hospital with a complement of 300 beds. I would ask the Minister to reconsider his decision on this.