Dáil Éireann - Volume 348 - 21 February, 1984

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Student Accident Case.

11. Mr. De Rossa asked the Minister for Health if he is aware of an incident which occurred on 2 February 1984 where a student (details supplied) at Bolton Street College, Dublin, who had been accidentally struck on the head in the college reported to the casualty unit in Jervis Street Hospital, was refused treatment and was advised that he would only be treated if he had a letter from his local doctor; how he reconciles this incident with repeated assurances that students would retain their entitlement to free hospital services; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Mr. B. Desmond: I have made inquiries of the authorities of Jervis Street Hospital who have informed me that the student in question was examined by a doctor in the casualty department of the hospital on 2 February. He was considered not to require further hospital treatment and was therefore discharged. He was advised to visit his general practitioner if he experienced further pain. I understand that the accident happened four days prior to the student attending Jervis Street Hospital.

Mr. De Rossa: The information given by the Minister is in direct contradiction to the information the student gave me. This student stated categorically that he attended Jervis Street Hospital and they refused to see him although he explained he was a student. They told him that he would have to have a note from his doctor before they could see him and he then left the hospital.

Mr. B. Desmond: The information I have is quite different. The student concerned was examined by a house officer in the casualty department of Jervis Street Hospital on 2 February. The student was complaining of a pain in the head arising from a blow he received [184] from a tin can four days previously. Following medical examination the house officer considered that the student did not require further hospital treatment and he advised him to see his GP if he experienced any further distress. The hospital considers that the doctor in the casualty department acted in a professional manner and that it was his clinical judgment that the student did not require further hospital treatment at the time and would be more appropriately dealt with by a GP.

Mr. De Rossa: In view of the conflict of information between the Minister and me, will the Minister inquire again into the matter? Will he give me an assurance that students in future will not be turned away from emergency services in hospitals?

Mr. B. Desmond: I made inquiries at Jervis Street Hospital and I have no reason to disbelieve the report I received from the hospital board. The student was struck by a tin can and four days later he went to the hospital where he was seen by the house officer in the casualty department and following medical examination, clinically done and in a professional manner, he was told he did not require any further treatment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Question Time has concluded and the remaining questions will appear on tomorrow's Order Paper.

Dr. O'Hanlon: Will the Minister accept that serious problems will arise similar to this as a result of the Minister's decision to remove medical cards from students?

An Ceann Comhairle: That is a separate question.

Mr. J. Doyle: I should like a written reply to Question No. 347.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy may obtain that in the General Office.

Deputy Haughey has been given permission to put a Private Notice Question to the Taoiseach. I understand that, subject to the consent or agreement of the [185] House, it is proposed to interrupt Business at 5.30 to take that question? Is that agreed?

Mr. Haughey: Perhaps the Chair should explain that this is a facility which we are offering the Taoiseach as a constructive Opposition because we are aware of the fact that he is engaged elsewhere on important national business. In order to facilitate him we have agreed to postpone this question to 5.30 p.m.

An Ceann Comhairle: Does the House agree to that? Agreed.