Written Answers. - Hospital Services.

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

286 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Health and Children his plans to have a palliative service in all major acute hospitals. [27437/01]

Prior to the launch, on 4 October, of the report of the national advisory committee on palliative care, I allocated £3 million – 3.81 million – to the health boards and the Eastern Regional Health Authority to begin implementing the report's recommendations. This brings the total allocation in 2002 to £5.625 million – 7.14 million. The additional funding will be used to,inter alia, allow health boards and the Eastern Regional Health Authority to undertake needs assessment studies to identify palliative care needs; establish a regional consultative committee and a regional development committee; and to examine the creation of a post which would deal with the development of palliative care services.

The needs assessment studies are fundamental in order to ensure efficient and effective service development. They will estimate the current level of service provision in each area, identify gaps in the service, and determine the priorities for future service development within all care settings, in line with the recommendations of the report of the national advisory committee on palliative care. Once the above objectives have been met further recommendations can begin to be implemented depending on the priority attached by the health boards and the Eastern Regional Health Authority.