Dáil Éireann - Volume 342 - 11 May, 1983

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Tralee (Kerry) New General Hospital.

19. Mr. McEllistrim asked the Minister for Health when the Southern Health Board will advertise the new positions in the new general hospital, Tralee, County Kerry; and if he will ensure that the existing staff in the county hospital will be given proper recognition for the senior posts in the new hospital.

20. Mr. Foley asked the Minister for Health if and when the Southern Health Board advertise for extra staff for the new County Hospital in Tralee, County Kerry, particularly nursing staff, and all other things being equal, preference will be given to applicants from County Kerry.

21. Mr. Foley asked the Minister for Health the extra staff that will be [935] recruited by the Southern Health Board for the new county hospital, Tralee, County Kerry.

22. Mr. Foley asked the Minister for Health when it is proposed to recruit staff for Tralee General Hospital, County Kerry.

Mr. B. Desmond: I propose to take Questions Nos. 19 to 22 inclusive together.

I am not at this time in a position to say precisely what staff will be required for the new general hospital in Tralee or when any such posts will be advertised. The staffing needs of the new hospital are being identified by a commissioning group representative of my Department and the Southern Health Board as a matter of urgency. The staff of the existing hospital can be assured that they will receive every consideration when the filling of senior posts in the new hospital is being determined.

The recruitment of any additional staff agreed would of course be a matter for the Chief Executive Officer of the Southern Health Board and the normal recruiting procedures would apply.

Mr. McEllistrim: In reply to a question put down by me recently the Minister gave an assurance that the new hospital would be opened on 1 January.

An Ceann Comhairle: A question, please.

Mr. McEllistrim: The Minister should know when they would start recruiting staff for the hospital if it is to be opened on 1 January.

Mr. B. Desmond: The arrangements are well in hand and the hospital will open on 1 January. The existing staff and the services will transfer from the old to the new hospital but some additional staff will be required. The additional staff will be at the basic grade levels and new posts at senior level are not envisaged.

Mr. McEllistrim: What number of new staff will be recruited for 1 January?

[936] Mr. B. Desmond: I do not know that yet. The additional staffing requirement is still to be determined and this will have to be considered in the context of the current embargo on the recruitment of additional staff. Also the question of redeploying existing resources will have to be considered. This will not impede the opening of the hospital on 1 January.

Mr. Foley: In view of the present outcry in Kerry with regard to recruitment of nurse training staff in the Southern Health Board, would the Minister reconsider the situation? The ratio has been four to one against Kerry over the past number of years.

Mr. B. Desmond: Only a small number of additional staff at the basic wage will be required for the new hospital. There can be no question, all things being equal, of preference being given to applicants from Kerry. It will be an open public competition.

Mr. Foley: I accept that, but the position has been against Kerry for the past number of years. I appeal to the Minister to see that Kerry comes out better than it has done over the last few years. There is no difference in the standard between Cork and Kerry.

Mr. B. Desmond: This is a matter for the Local Appointments Commission and a matter for public advertisement by the CEO. These appointments will be made by competitive examinations and not on the basis of one's county status.

Dr. O'Hanlon: This hospital has 420 beds and am I to understand from the Minister's reply that when it is opened, part of it will be left idle? Can the Minister say how much of the hospital will be utilised and when it is hoped that the whole of the hospital will be utilised?

Mr. B. Desmond: In January 1984, 310 of the 425 beds will be opened. An additional 50 beds in the psychiatric unit will be opened along with 30 beds in the psychiatric assessment unit, 15 of the 45 [937] orthopaedic beds, 12 of the 33 paediatric beds and then the 8 hostel beds will be opened later.