Dáil Éireann - Volume 486 - 28 January, 1998
Written Answers. - Hospital Transport.
Ms McManus Ms McManus
548. Ms McManus asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the concerns of the Older Women's Network in relation to transport to and from hospitals for older people; if he intends to review his Department's policies for transport provisions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1339/98]
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Cowen) Brian Cowen
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Cowen): The provision of a transport service for patients to and from hospitals is a matter for each individual health board in the first instance. This service is provided by health boards either directly or on a contract basis depending on local needs and circumstances.
My Department's policy on this matter is in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Health Act, 1970 which provides that health boards make whatever arrangement are considered necessary for the transport of patients. In making such arrangements, health boards have regard to the circumstances of the person concerned, the resources available to the boards and the many competing demands being made on these resources. I am committed to the continued development of transport services in the context of the Government's ongoing commitment to the development of the ambulance service. This year I am providing £1.7 million in additional funding to the health boards for the continued improvement of this service.
I am aware of the concerns of the Older Women's Network in regard to this matter and of some of the local initiatives that have been developed to meet needs such as those identified by the network. Given the success of such initiatives in this area, and in the context of the role of health boards with regard to ambulance and transport services it would be appropriate for the Older Women's Network to contact the health boards with a view to discussing with them what further measures can be taken to progress their proposals.
Dáil Éireann 486 Written Answers. Hospital Transport.