Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Questions (248, 249, 250)

Conor Lenihan

Question:

328 Mr. C. Lenihan asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will make a statement on the mooted merger between Tallaght Hospital and St. James’s Hospital and the extent to which his Department and officials have been involved or consulted with regard to the discussions. [6965/04]

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Conor Lenihan

Question:

329 Mr. C. Lenihan asked the Minister for Health and Children his views, in light of the Hanly report recommendations for the country’s hospitals, on whether there could be significant savings in the area of shared services and administration through hospital merging in the manner now proposed by executives in Tallaght Hospital and St. James’s Hospital. [6966/04]

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Conor Lenihan

Question:

330 Mr. C. Lenihan asked the Minister for Health and Children if, in the event of a merger between Tallaght Hospital and St. James’s Hospital, such a merger will not be given his approval if it leads to the downgrading of Tallaght hospital in terms of the expansion of services at this relatively new facility. [6967/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health and Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 328 to 330, inclusive, together.

Officials of my Department have received a preliminary briefing on discussions which are ongoing between representatives of the hospitals mentioned by the Deputy and the faculty of health sciences at Trinity College Dublin on future governance arrangements. As far as I am aware, this process is about developing the hospital services and the question of downgrading any facility does not arise.

The acute hospitals review group has been asked to prepare a national hospitals plan for the interim health services executive, taking account of the principles set out in the Hanly report. The Hanly proposals include the development of integrated hospital networks, within which the management of hospitals would be closely linked. Any proposals regarding the management of individual hospitals or groups of hospitals will be relevant to the work of the review group.