Thursday, 29 January 2004

Questions (131)

David Stanton

Question:

128 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount of funding made available by his Department to establish doctor co-operatives around the country; the places at which such co-operatives have been established; his further plans in this regard; if he will sanction the establishment of a doctors co-op in east and north Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2664/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health and Children)

The funding provided for out of hours co-operatives between 2000 and 2003 totalled €46.5 million including an additional amount of €4.143 million in 2003 for further expansion. The following table gives a breakdown of each board's allocation under this heading.

Health Board

Amount allocated (€million)

Eastern Regional Health Authority

5.57

Midland Health Board

5.213

Mid-Western Health Board

5.028

North Eastern Health Board

6.638

North Western Health Board

4.905

South Eastern Health Board

7.123

Southern Health Board

6.988

Western Health Board

4.869

Totals

46.501 million

The total funding available in 2004 amounts to €24.048 million. These funds have been included into health boards' base allocation for the continued provision of services under this heading. This dedicated funding is exclusive of the fees paid to participating general practitioners.

At present there are out of hours co-operatives operating in all health board areas. These are at various stages of expansion and development. In one board area, the North Eastern Health Board, there is a region wide co-op. Generally, co-operatives operate either a full or limited out of hours service for both private and medical card patients.

It should be noted that the geographical areas to be covered by co-operatives and any expansion are decisions for the relevant health board to make, having regard to the strategic, financial and other issues involved. Of the additional funding provided in 2003, €0.857 million was provided for the Southern Health Board for an expanded service in its area. It would be a matter for that board to decide on further expansion in its area.