I propose to take Questions Nos. 250 and 251 together.
A Chronic Pain Service was developed in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda during 2012. This Service was not part of the Service Plan for the Louth Meath Hospital Group, but rather an adjunct service provided by a Consultant Anaesthetist who had the appropriate skills and a particular interest in the provision of such a service. The service ran from February 2012 to December 2012 and ceased when the Consultant left the employment of the hospital. The HSE has been unsuccessful in recruiting a clinician with the same expertise and it is not therefore possible to provide this service at this time. Further recruitment of Anaesthetic staff is planned in November 2013 and endeavours will be made to secure this expertise in that context.
As discussed at the meeting of the Dublin North East Health Forum on 23rd September 2013, the provision of all services, including specialist clinics for the management of acute and chronic pain, must be considered in the context of the development of the HSE National Service Plan. The Deputy will also recall from my response to his previous Parliamentary Question on this matter that the reorganisation of public hospitals into groups will allow hospitals to work together, in concert with their primary and community care colleagues, to provide high quality, safe and appropriate services which address the evidence-based needs of their populations across the whole Group, using the services and resources of all of the hospitals in the Group.