Dáil Éireann - Volume 476 - 25 March, 1997
Written Answers. - Out-Patient Clinics.
Mr. B. O'Keeffe Mr. B. O'Keeffe
116. Mr. B. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health if he will allow consultants to hold out-patient  clinics in high tech general practitioner centres. [7923/97]
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East) Michael Noonan
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East): Since 1993, significant progress has been made in the implementation of the commitments in the health strategy which are relevant to general practice. Arising from this, the health boards, in conjunction with local general practitioners, are involved in the development of a number of purpose built general practice centres throughout the country. In this context, the Department advised the health boards in 1995 and 1996 that, in addition to ongoing infrastructural developments, they should concentrate specifically on the development of a priority range of services, in a general setting, which would progress the development of this speciality to enable it to fulfil a wider and more integrated role in the health care system.
The range of such developments which are comprehended relate to services for elderly patients, physiotherapy, dietetics, counselling and social work support, services for cancer patients linked to palliative care, women's health services for the travelling community. In addition, health boards have been asked to examine ways in which general practitioners can be involved in the provision of specific services which has been traditionally located in hospitals but which could be more appropriately provided by the primary care services.
The provision of an enhanced range of services in a general practice setting, as outlined above, would of course require the involvement of consultants and other professionals in the respective fields. It is envisaged that this involvement would be on a sessional or fixed term contract basis as appropriate. It would be a matter for the authorities and individuals in each area i.e. health boards, hospitals, consultants and general practitioners to make appropriate arrangements for the provision of such services. I fully support these developments in general practice which are in keeping with the overall thrust of the health strategy.
Dáil Éireann 476 Written Answers. Out-Patient Clinics.