Responsibility for the provision of accident and emergency services at St. Columcille's Hospital, Loughlinstown, rests with the Eastern Regional Health Authority. My Department has, therefore, asked the regional chief executive of the authority to reply directly to the Deputy with the information requested.
The report of the National Task Force on Medical Staffing, the Hanly report, envisages St. Columcille's Hospital being developed as a local hospital. The report recommends investment in local hospitals such as St. Columcille's so that they are in a position to provide most of the local population's needs for hospital care. Improvements proposed include: a greatly expanded proportion of elective day surgery and elective medical procedures for the region in a range of specialties. This will involve: an increasing volume of elective procedures that are often currently performed in the larger hospitals; a strong focus for locally accessible multi-specialist day and out-patient, OPD, care; pre and post-natal maternity services; a point of access for general practitioners to services and diagnostic facilities; and rehabilitation and long-stay care.
I will shortly be announcing an implementation group for the East Coast Area Health Board which will be tasked with planning and overseeing the detailed implementation of the recommendations of the report regarding provision of acute hospital services in that area. It should be noted that the implementation of the report in the East Coast Area Health Board will ultimately involve the appointment of an additional 129 consultants to the region.