I propose to take Questions Nos. 683, 685 and 695 together.
Recently Comhairle na nOspidéal published its report of the committee to review neurology and neurophysiology services. I am happy to endorse its recommendations for a significant enhancement of services, including increases in consultant manpower. The report also recognises that there are aspects of a number of other specialties and services such as rehabilitation medicine, geriatric medicine and old age psychiatry that are related to an overlap with neurology services. Comhairle has recommended that a national multidisciplinary review of rehabilitation services be undertaken to further inform the policy framework on the development of neurology services.
Consistent with this recommendation, and in line with commitments in the national health strategy, a national action plan for rehabilitation services is currently being prepared by my Department. It will set out a programme to meet existing shortfalls in services and to integrate specialised facilities with locally based follow-up services. The rehabilitation action plan, together with the Comhairle report and the work undertaken by the Neurological Alliance of Ireland through its own publications, will offer a comprehensive policy framework for the future development of neurology and neurophysiology services here.
My Department will continue to work closely with the alliance and with the Irish Consultant Neurologists Association on the future development of services. The implementation of the Comhairle recommendations will be progressed having regard to the evolving policy framework in the area, competing funding priorities and the report of the national task force on medical staffing.