Written Answers. - Health Centres.

Charlie O'Connor

Question:

255 Mr. O'Connor asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the gathering of staff and members of the community at Millbrook Lawns health centre in Tallaght, Dublin 24 on 27 June 2003 to mark the fourth anniversary of the fire which severely damaged this important community facility, and that staff and the public are now tolerating totally unacceptable conditions which would not be tolerated anywhere else in the country; if he will personally intervene and in consultation with the health boards, have the redevelopment of the Millbrook Lawns health centre progressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19217/03]

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

262 Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health and Children when the essential refurbishment to Millbrook lawns health centre, Tallaght, Dublin 24, will be executed following the fire exactly four years ago; the reason it has not been attended to by the health board since the fire occurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19281/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 255 and 262 together.

The provision of health centres to meet the needs of local communities and the maintenance and upgrading of such centres within its functional area is a matter for the relevant health board or the Eastern Regional Health Authority. In the case of Millbrook Lawns health centre, Tallaght, Dublin 24, this responsibility rests with the ERHA. I have been in contact with the ERHA and it has informed me that Millbrook Lawns health centre currently provides a comprehensive range of services including public health nursing, development clinics, dental, speech and language therapy, community welfare, home help, social work and addiction services. Pre-school services are also provided from this centre.

A number of improvements have been made to the health centre since 1999, including the internal and external painting of the premises. Additional offices have been provided for use by community welfare and Barnados. The fire alarm system has been upgraded and the ceiling has been substantially improved. The speech and language therapy service has been relocated to a different area within the centre. Essential health and safety improvements have been made in the last year. Improvements to the electrical system have also been carried out. In fact, a health and safety audit, conducted last November noted significant improvements since the previous inspection and further recommendations from this recent audit are being actively addressed. It is planned to relocate the addiction services before the end of 2003. The authority has informed me that it will continue to ensure that the conditions in the existing heath centre are maintained to the highest standard possible for the effective delivery of services.
The re-development of the centre is a priority capital project for the South West Area Health Board and submissions to obtain the necessary funding have been made to the ERHA. The South West Area Health Board continues to work with the ERHA on this matter. All capital requirements for the health boards, including the ERHA, are funded under the NDP. My Department is at present reviewing, from a national perspective, the NDP for each health board. This process encompasses providing for existing capital contractual commitments and, where possible, the planning or construction of new projects this year and into the future. It is in this context that capital developments for the ERHA are being considered. The Department fully appreciates the importance of progressing such developments and will continue to work closely with the authority in relation to prioritising their overall capital needs in line with the funding resources available under the NDP.