Written Answers. - Hospital Waiting List.

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

160 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Health if he will investigate the situation whereby a person (details supplied) in County Cork has been told that she cannot get a definite appointment to see her consultant orthopaedic surgeon in Cork Regional Hospital and that the expected waiting time for the initial appointment with her consultant orthopaedic surgeon will be two years as set out in the letter on 22 April 1992 from a Medical Records Officer in the Southern Health Board; and if he will investigate the circumstances under which such a service can have broken down to such a serious degree.

The provision of an out-patient appointment is a clinical decision for the consultant in charge of a case. Priority is given to urgent cases. As this is a medical matter it is open to the patient's general practitioner to contact the consultant in order to stress the urgency of the case.

Provision has been made in my Department's capital programme in the current year for a new clean air theatre at St. Mary's Hospital, Gurranebraher. The Southern Health Board is at present preparing plans to proceed with this development. I am confident that this initiative will significantly improve services for orthopaedic patients in the Southern Health Board area.