Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Sligo Hospital.

92.

asked the Minister for Health when the new ENT theatre will be provided in the General Hospital, Sligo.

Arrangements have been made for a meeting between officers of my Department and officers of the health board as a result of which it is hoped that agreement on the arrangements for the carrying out of operations at Sligo can be arrived at.

Can we take it that the Department have agreed to provide a separate theatre for ENT operations?

All the information I can give the Deputy is that a meeting is to be held in the near future between officers of the Department and officers of the health boards and that it is hoped that a satisfactory solution will be reached.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that such discussions have been in progress for the past eight months and that no satisfactory conclusion has been reached?

I have been given to understand that this difficulty has been in existence for some time but that it is hoped to have it resolved in the near future.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that in modern institutions provided within the past number of years, separate theatres have been provided for ENT surgeons and that these theatres are regarded as being necessary by eminent consultants and surgeons throughout Europe?

It would be incorrect for the Deputy to convey the impression that this matter is not being taken seriously. There have been a number of complications in connection with the problem. As well as there being consultations with the health boards it was necessary also to consult such persons as architects and ENT consultants. Every effort has been made and is being made to resolve the problem and it is hoped that a final conclusion will be reached shortly.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that officials of the Department refused to sanction a separate theatre in Sligo General Hospital?

I am not so aware.

I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to do everything possible to have the problem resolved because unless the ENT surgeon at the hospital is provided with a separate theatre he cannot carry out his functions successfully.