Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - County Physician Appointment.


asked the Minister for Health if it is his intention to sanction the appointment of a second county physician at Lisdarn Hospital, County Cavan.

In the exercise of their functions under the Health Act, 1970, Comhairle na nOspidéal approved a second post of physician for Lisdarn Hospital in May 1978 and my Department agreed to make the necessary funding available.

The post was advertised in August 1978 but it did not prove possible to fill it on that occasion; the initiation of steps to have the post re-advertised is a matter for the North-Eastern Health Board.

If the North Eastern Health Board advertised the post, will the Department of Health fund it?

I am not in a position to give any formal assurance on that. As the Deputy is aware, the last advertisement appeared in August 1978. Major developments are taking place in the general Cavan area but at the moment I am not in a position to give an assurance on this with embargoes and so on but I am prepared to discuss the matter.

Have the health board been notified that the Department of Health have sanctioned this post?

No. It is important to bear in mind that the post was advertised in August 1978 and that at the time it did not prove possible to fill it. I do not know the reason. I am sure that if the North Eastern Health Board decide to re-advertise the post, and provided it does not cut across the embargo situation that exists, they will probably be able to go ahead and fill it.

Are funds available—

This question is confined to Lisdarn Hospital in Cavan.

As a member of Comhairle na nOspidéal I have an interest in this.

Provided the Deputy is relevant.

The Minister stated that funds were available in 1978 and I should like to know if they are available in 1983 for this post.

The health board requested the Local Appointments Commission in 1978 to defer the re-advertising of the post until some minor building work at the hospital had been completed. I understand that the work has been completed but I am not certain that the health board are giving the filling of the post a high priority now. That is a matter for the health board.

Will the Minister inform the health board that they may proceed to advertise the post again?

That is a matter for the health board. It appears that at present they are not giving it a high priority.

My understanding of the situation is that the health board are anxious to make the appointment having regard to the difficulties for patients and the county physician. I understand that they are awaiting sanction from the Department and I want the Minister to tell the House if he will give that sanction.

I will communicate with the Deputy about the matter but I will have to inquire about the situation from the health board. However, I must repeat that at present the health board are not giving this a high priority.