Written Answers. - Ambulance Service.

John Bruton

Ceist:

513 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children his plans to assist those patients who must travel from their own health board area to another to obtain treatment, to recoup travel expenses incurred by them in travelling to another hospital, in cases where they were not provided transport by their own health board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1334/02]

The provision of a transport service for patients to and from hospitals is a matter for the Eastern Regional Health Authority and the health boards. This service is provided by the ERHA and the boards either directly, or on a contract basis, depending on local needs and circumstances and having regard to the circumstances of the person concerned, the resources available and the many competing demands being made on those resources.

Responsibility for the provision of ambulance services to residents of County Meath rests with the North-Eastern Health Board. Therefore, my Department has asked the chief executive officer of the board to investigate the matter raised by the Deputy and to reply to him directly.

Question No. 514 answered with Question No. 502.