Written Answers. - Hospital Services.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

104 Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for Health and Children the proposals, if any, he has to extend the dialysis service at Waterford Regional Hospital in order that the nine patients awaiting treatment there can be accommodated (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1254/99]

The provision of renal dialysis at Waterford Regional Hospital is a matter for the South-Eastern Health Board in the first instance. A new dialysis unit was opened there in March 1997, catering for 32 patients per week as part of the major capital development at the hospital. In 1998 I approved additional funding of £200,000 to enable the hospital to provide a service to further patients that required dialysis as demand for the service grew. As a result, a total of 42 patients are now attending the unit each week.

I am aware that further demand for access to this service exists and my Department will continue to work with the South-Eastern Health Board in identifying and addressing the board's overall service development needs. In this regard, expansion of dialysis services will continue to be considered in the context of the board's competing priorities.