Written Answers. - Child Care Services.

Alan Shatter

Ceist:

70 Mr. Shatter asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of children within the Eastern Health Board area taken into care during 1998 and placed in hospital wards as social admissions; the length of time each child spent in a hospital ward; the hospitals in which each child was placed; the number of hospital bed days lost as a consequence of these placements; and the action, if any, he will take to ensure that proper care facilities are available to children taken into care and hospitals are not utilised for such social admissions. [2057/99]

Information on social admissions as supplied by the hospitals in relation to 1998 is set out as follows:

Hospital

No. ofChildren

No. of beddays lost

Our Lady's Hospital, Crumlin

27

1,426

Children's Hospital, Temple St.

28

n/a

National Maternity Hospital, Holles St.

2

1,112

Rotunda Hospital

1

1,133

National Children's Hospital, Harcourt St. and Tallaght

28

1,445

n/a not available.
Because of the level of detail involved, the information on the length of time spent by each child in hospital will be forwarded by letter to the Deputy.
In order to avoid the inappropriate social admission of children to hospital the Eastern Health Board has very recently opened a ten bed short-term-emergency residential centre to care for children in crisis situations. The centre has a reserved number of beds which can be accessed during out of hours emergencies. The gardaí have direct access to the new service which is reported to be operating well. In addition a number of foster families are available to provide emergency care. I will continue to monitor the situation during 1999.