Written Answers. - General Practitioner Services.

Paul McGrath

Question:

282 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the health board areas where GP co-operatives are specifically funded by the relevant health board; and if he will clarify that funds available for such co-operatives are earmarked for those services and cannot be used for out-of-hours services. [11320/03]

Paul McGrath

Question:

314 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if his Department supports the establishment of general practitioners out-of-hours services, in particular in locations within each health board area; the number of such services in each health board area; the amount of funds available to each health board for the setting up of such services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10883/03]

I have very much supported the concept of out-of-hours general practitioner co-operatives and am very pleased that they are now operating in all health board areas, for all, or limited hours, on weekdays, at weekends and on public and bank holidays. At present, only the North-Eastern Health board has a regional project. All of the other boards have started on a cell basis and have built or intend to build to cover the board's area on an incremental basis as interest and resources permit. The specific area to be designated as suitable for a co-operative is a matter for the relevant health board to decide and involves lengthy discussion and preparatory work with the stakeholders involved.

As I explained on 8 April to the Deputy, funding is provided for co-operatives in their base line budgets and where additional funds for expansion are being sought by health boards, these must be sought at the time of the submission of their service plans to the Department. These allocations are normally made at the time of the Estimates and the letters of determination to boards specify the amount of money under the particular heading of co-operatives.

Since 2000, €42.357 million has been allocated to boards under this heading and the distribution is as follows:

Health Board/Authority

Amount allocated for co-operatives since 2002

Eastern Regional Health Authority

€5.1 million

Midland Health Board

€4.8 million

Mid-Western Health Board

€4.3 million

North-Eastern Health Board

€6.6 million

North-Western Health Board

€4.4 million

South-Eastern Health Board

€6.2 million

Southern Health Board

€6.1 million

Western Health Board

€4.8 million

Totals

€42.3

An additional €4.7 million funding is being allocated in respect of new co-operatives.