Written Answers. - Rheumatology Services.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

339 Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for Health and Children the action planned in relation to the report on a rheumatology strategy for the Western Health Board area submitted to his Department in Autumn 2002. [11060/03]

The provision of health services at Mayo General Hospital is the responsibility of the WHB. The board has informed my Department that rheumatology services for patients in the region, including Mayo, are currently provided by a consultant led team of medical, nursing, allied health professionals and support staff based at Merlin Park Regional Hospital.

The board has prepared a strategic plan for the development of rheumatology services in the region which proposes the appointment of a rheumatologist at Mayo General Hospital. In recent years there has been significant investment in acute hospital services in the WHB, including Mayo General Hospital. However, the board's service plan for 2003 does not provide for the appointment of a rheumatologist at the hospital in 2003.

Question No. 340 answered with Question No. 286.