Before Question Time I was considering some of the changes with regard to health administration and I was dealing with the establishment of various bodies. One of the points I wish to stress is that there appears to be a duplication of administration. We have set up too many committees and other organisations with the result that there will be difficulty in allocating responsibility; it will be difficult to know to whom is the doctor in any area responsible. At the moment there is confusion when patients want to consult someone in authority. I hope the Minister will deal with this matter in some detail in his reply.
Public representatives have made numerous representations regarding health measures. To me it appears that the elected representatives are being squeezed out. I shall describe the situation as it applies to the Midland Health Board. The board covers four counties—Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath—and four members are appointed for each county, making a total of 16. Of the remaining 14 persons on the board, seven will be registered medical practitioners practising in the board's area, a dentist practising in the area, a registered nurse or a psychiatric nurse who is practising in the area. Three persons are appointed by the Minister and that means there are 16 public representatives. In other words, there are public representatives who will have a say and who will be answerable to the people who elected them.
In regard to the regional hospital boards, the Dublin Regional Board will have 32 members made up of four appointed by the Eastern Health Board, four by the Midland Health Board, four by the South Eastern Board and four by the North Eastern Board, a total of 16 public representatives.