asked the Minister for Health if he will have a better system adopted for early appointments at clinics in the Clare area of the Mid-Western Health Board.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Clinic Appointments.
I understand the question relates to those clinics which are operated as part of the community care programme. The provision of these services in the area referred to is a matter for the Mid-Western Health Board. They have indicated that they have experienced difficulties in recent months due to personnel problems resulting from vacancies and absence due to illness. Steps taken by the board to resolve these problems are at an advanced stage and when they are completed the position should be much improved.
This reply is exactly similar to one given six or eight months ago. I am sure the Minister is aware that the situation has disimproved. In the matter of dental treatment, no anaesthetist whatsoever is available. However, that is not relative to the making of appointments. For eye clinic appointments there is a waiting period of 12 months and the period is longer in such chronic surgical cases as hernia. One patient told me he was awaiting an operation for one-and-a-half years and he asked me if I could possibly arrange to have his operation carried out in this land.
I want to assure the Deputy and all the people in that area that I share their anxiety. However, it is only fair to say with regard to ophthalmic clinics, to which the Deputy referred specifically, that the major problem is the illness of the doctor who did most of the work. The health board are about to advertise.
It is a good thing that the ill doctor for the eyes does not have to go to the clinic for treatment or he also would have to wait a year-and-a-half.