Written Answers - Hospital Services.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

243 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare who has a tumour of the brain and is currently in Beaumont Hospital; if his attention has further been drawn to the fact that the person must be transported for radium treatment to St. Luke's and back to Beaumont due to the shortage of bed spaces in St. Luke's; his views on whether this is causing further distress to both the person and his family; the proposals, if any, he has to increase bed spaces at St. Luke's to prevent such occurrences in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2539/99]

I am informed that the patient to whom the Deputy is referring was admitted to St. Luke's Hospital, Rathgar on 27 November 1998 for radiotherapy treatment. The patient subsequently requested that he receive his treatment as an out-patient and was discharged on 7 December. Accordingly, the hospital continued to treat the patient on an out-patient basis until 29 December.

I understand that the patient became ill on that date and was immediately re-admitted to St. Luke's as an in-patient. His condition was assessed and it was decided that he required immediate neurological assessment at Beaumont Hospital. The patient was immediately referred to Beaumont Hospital and was admitted as an in-patient. Following treatment at Beaumont, radiotherapy treatment was re-commenced at St. Luke's on an out-patient basis on 14 January 1999.

St. Luke's experienced a significant increase in emergency referrals in early January. In the circumstances, it was not possible to immediately re-admit the patient as an in-patient and he remained as an in-patient at Beaumont. The patient was brought from Beaumont to St. Luke's for continuing radiotherapy treatment on an out- patient basis and was subsequently transferred to St. Luke's as an in-patient on 25 January.
It is regular practice for patients who have received treatment at Beaumont Hospital to be referred to St. Luke's Hospital for radiotherapy. In some cases the patients are admitted to St. Luke's for their treatment but in other cases the patients are brought to St. Luke's for their treatment and then back to Beaumont, as they are still under the care of a Beaumont Hospital consultant. I understand that this is the position with the patient concerned.
I understand that the hospital is at present actively exploring the feasibility of extending the Oakland Lodge facility at the hospital with funding provided by the Friends of St. Luke's which will see the provision of a further 10 bed spaces. The hospital authorities anticipate that this expansion will proceed this year. I am confident this further development will impact favourably on the provision of services at St. Luke's.