Written Answers. - Comhairle na nOspidéal.

Question:

397 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will confirm that there is no representative of Tallaght Hospital, Dublin 24, on the board of Comhairle na nOspidéal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8222/01]

The constitution of Comhairle na nOspideál is governed by the Health (Hospital Bodies) Regulations, 1970. These regulations provide for a membership of 27, including not fewer than 14 persons who are registered medical practitioners engaged in a consultant capacity in the provision of hospital services. The regulations also stipulate that all persons appointed to the comhairle shall be selected for appointment by the Minister for Health. It has been the practice over the years for each Minister to consult with a number of bodies prior to making the final decision on the appointments to the board.

Recently, when I was making appointments to the new comhairle, I consulted with a range of bodies including all of the health boards, voluntary hospitals and other major organisations including trade unions. As a result, I received a large number of nominations for appointment to the board. Given the statutory limit on the total number of members, it was not possible to appoint representatives from every hospital to comhairle.

In making the appointments, I had full regard to the need to achieve a wide geographical spread, the value of representing a large number of consultant specialties and the need to ensure an appropriate gender balance. In these circumstances, it was not possible to appoint a representative from Tallaght Hospital on this occasion but I can assure the Deputy that the new comhairle has been carefully structured to represent the views of all sectors across the health services.