Written Answers. - Epidural Services.

Peadar Clohessy

Ceist:

72 Mr. Clohessy asked the Minister for Health the number of maternity hospitals in Ireland that do not have epidural services; the hospital that do not have such a service; the reason epidural service is not available in either of the two maternity hospitals in the Midland Health Board; the plans, if any, he has to extend the country's epidural service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [921/94]

Epidural services are available in the majority of maternity units in this country. Of a total number of 23 units, full or partial epidural services are available in 20 hospitals. Epidural services are not available at present in the following three units: Mullingar General Hospital; Monaghan General Hospital; Airmount Maternity Hospital, Waterford.

With regard to the Midland Health Board area, a limited epidural service is available in Portlaoise General Hospital and I understand that the health board is investigating the possibility of providing a service in Mullingar General Hospital. In the case of Monaghan General Hospital, I understand that the North-Eastern Health Board hopes to have a service in place over the coming months. As regards Airmount Maternity Hospital, Waterford, this service will be transfering in the coming months to new facilities at Ardkeen Regional Hospital where it is planned to provide a full epidural service.