(South Tipperary) asked the Minister for Health whether the grant of £120,000 has been paid to the Medical Missionaries of Mary for the urgent extension to Airmount Maternity Hospital; County Waterford; if not, the reasons for the delay; and if any conditions have been attached to the grant.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Extension of County Waterford Hospital.
A grant, as described by the Deputy, has not been paid.
I have had under consideration the question of the best means of extending and improving the service now provided at Airmount Maternity Hospital and I consider that, ideally, this should be done by bringing this service into closer association with a major acute hospital. This approach is supported by the recommendations in the Report of the Consultative Council on the General Hospital Services.
Suggestions as to how this might be done have been put to the Sisters at Airmount and I am at present awaiting their reaction to these suggestions.
(South Tipperary): I take it from the Minister's reply that this is an admission that the original planning of the Airmount Hospital was faulty? Is the Minister aware that on 23rd June, 1967, an announcement appeared in the Waterford News and Star by Deputy Browne, Mayor of Waterford, that a grant had been approved by the Minister after a deputation from Waterford was received by him? As far as I know, no conditions were mentioned then. Apparently nothing has happened since then?
I think the Deputy puts the situation well. There were certainly faults in planning. I did promise a grant of £120,000 to the sisters for the improvement of the hospital's services but suggested that these should be associated with Ardkean. They promised they would go very thoroughly into the suggestion and I am awaiting a reply.
(South Tipperary): Is it suggested that the entire Airmount Hospital be removed to Ardkean?
I think this would be the sensible thing to do.