asked the Minister for Health whether his attention has been drawn to reports of change in the diets of some patients in hospitals in the Southern Health Board area, and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Hospital Patients' Diet
I have seen newspaper reports on the subject of dietary cut-backs in the Southern Health Board area. I have had inquiries made from the board and I am satisfied that the alterations in the diet patterns which were of a minor character will have no impact on the health and well-being of the patients.
Did the health board inform the Minister of the reason why they changed the patients' diets?
In case there is any misunderstanding, I should like to state that the current diet is made up as follows: Breakfast-porridge or cornflakes, boiled egg, tea, bread, butter, and marmalade; Lunch-soup, bacon, cabbage, potatoes, white sauce, rice and jam and tea; Tea, served at 4 p.m.-fried bacon and potatoes, tea, bread butter and jam. A patient may have a cup of tea or milk between breakfast and lunch with bread, butter and marmalade. There is also tea, coffee or milk and biscuits available at bed time. Meat is served twice daily, except on Fridays when there is fish for lunch and beans on toast for tea.
The Minister has a remarkable capacity for not answering simple questions. Did the health board inform him of the reason for altering the diets of patients? The Minister sounds like Marie Antoinette.
The question asked if my attention had been drawn to reports of change in the diets and if I would make a statement on the matter. My attention has been drawn to this and I have made a statement on the matter. The question of the allocation of diets within such limits within the hospital is a matter for the hospital authority.
I asked one supplementary seeking to know if the health board had informed the Minister of the reason why the diets were changed.
The health board considered that some of the items supplied, such as sweets and additional biscuits, were not necessary in the current diet of patients.
Is the Minister saying that the official statement, attributed to an officer of the health board, to the effect that the diets were altered because of cut-backs in the current financial allocation to the Southern Health Board is untrue?
It is a matter for the health board to decide on the allocation of funds and resources. I have given the Deputy details of the diet which operates in the hospital and if he considers it inadequate he should say so.
Patients in Cork had apples and oranges taken from their diet because the health board did not get sufficient money from the Department.
I was not told anything about apples or oranges. Obviously, the Deputy has some inside information.
My inside information was the Cork Examiner, which was read widely on the Government side, but obviously is not now.