I propose to take Questions Nos. 159, 160, 181 to 183, inclusive, and 254 to 261, inclusive, together.
I have seen the report which the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland commissioned from Dr. Ronnie Pollock. The report reviewed existing hospital services for people with cystic fibrosis in the context of accepted international standards and concluded that the services available for persons with cystic fibrosis in this country are not of the standard that they should be.
The report provides an assessment of need for current and future cystic fibrosis patients. It makes recommendations with regard to the numbers and categories of staff that are appropriate for a modern, multi-disciplinary cystic fibrosis service. Following publication of the report, the Health Service Executive, HSE, at the request of the Cystic Fibrosis Association, established a working group to review the current configuration and delivery of services to persons with cystic fibrosis in Ireland, both in hospitals and in the community. The working group is also to make recommendations for the reconfiguration, improvement and development of those services.
The working group is multi-disciplinary in its composition and includes representation from the Cystic Fibrosis Association. It held its first meeting in early April and I understand it hopes to complete its work over the next few months. The Pollock report is one of a number of reports relating to cystic fibrosis services being considered by the group. The work of the group will result in an agreed proposal for the development and reconfiguration of services for cystic fibrosis patients in Ireland. The funding and implementation of the services will be a matter for the HSE.
I will be glad to meet with the Cystic Fibrosis Association and the HSE to discuss the development and reconfiguration of services for persons with cystic fibrosis when the working group has finalised its proposals.
In regard to the services for cystic fibrosis patients at St. Vincent's University Hospital, I understand the HSE has made some additional funding available to the hospital to implement short-term measures to alleviate some of the pressures, including the provision of additional staff and additional space.