Written Answers. - Hospital Doctors.

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

181 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the HSEA have refused to pay all NCHD training grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31400/01]

The payment of NCHD training grants is the responsibility of the individual health boards and hospitals in the first instance. The training grant scheme for non-consultant hospital doctors has been applied successfully throughout the public hospital system to those non-consultant hospital doctors who qualify for the grant.

The eligibility for the payment of the training grant to NCHDs is agreed with the Irish Medical Organisation. Some delays have been experienced where individual NCHDs have not followed the normal procedure in the health service for accessing payments of grants.

To access this grant, the staff members should first request their head of department to assess the appropriateness of the course, seminar etc. and recommend the course, seminar etc, as suitable for funding under the training grant. The recommendation is submitted to the appropriate hospital manager for approval. Where this procedure is followed, delays should not occur as prior approval for expenditure has been granted.

The scope of this grant has been widened since its inception to encompass research registrars and has been extended to facilitate the purchase of laptop computers for NCHDs. The grant has been enthusiastically received and utilised by NCHDs to attend courses and conferences recommended by their supervising consultant.