I propose to take Questions Nos. 692 and 693 together.
Responsibility for the provision of health services in County Mayo rests with the Western Health Board. It has advised my Department that the hospice unit was officially opened on 23 January 1999. The cost of refurbishing it amounted to €222,204.16 and it consists of two inpatient beds. Its occupancy rates when it was open were in the region of 95%. Unfortunately, the inpatient beds have not been available for some time due to the absence of a medical officer.
The board has had difficulty in filling the post of medical director to service the hospice unit. It was advertised in the national newspapers on three previous occasions. The advertisements contained details of the remuneration package available. It is in line with national pay rates for the grade. The board is in the process of readvertising the post in conjunction with a post of general practitioner for the Foxford-Straide area. It hopes that the new advertisement will generate a positive response and the post will be filled.