I propose to take Questions Nos. 83 to 86, inclusive, together.
Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children is the national paediatric cardiac centre. Following discussions in 1997 between the hospital and officials from my Department, it was considered that a range of measures should be implemented to alleviate pressure on cardiac surgery services at the hospital. Included in these measures was the agreement to upgrade the theatre facilities, which when completed will boost the hospital's annual capacity by an additional 100 procedures.
As an interim measure, it was agreed that the hospital should enter negotiations with suitable UK facilities for the purchase of additional cardiac surgery procedures and that resources would be met under the cardiac surgery waiting list initiative. Under this initiative 18 children were referred to the UK in 1997, 30 children were referred to the UK in 1998 and 69 children were referred to the UK in 1999. My Department has allocated additional funding of £0.7 million to Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children to continue this initiative in 2000. The details of this funding, including the referral of children to the UK for cardiac procedures, will be discussed with the hospital in the context of their service plan for 2000.