Dáil Éireann - Volume 548 - 19 February, 2002

Written Answers. - Hospital Waiting Lists.

  291. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the waiting period for an ENT outpatient appointment in Waterford Regional Hospital is five years; his views on whether the imminent appointment of a fourth ENT consultant for the south east region will be sufficient to reduce the waiting period for outpatient appointments to a reasonable level within a reasonable time; his views as to what constitutes as reasonable waiting period for such appointments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5725/02]

  Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): The South-Eastern Health Board has submitted an application for financial clearance for the fourth post of consultant ENT surgeon at Waterford Regional Hospital. This post is being considered in the context of the board's available resources and the priority accorded to the post by the board.

  The management and monitoring of the out-patient waiting lists for ENT services at Waterford Regional Hospital is a matter for the South-Eastern Health Board in the first instance. My Department has asked the chief executive officer at the board to reply directly to the Deputy in relation to the issues raised.

  The new health strategy, which I launched recently, outlines measures which are designed to address the issue of efficiency in the delivery of out-patient services. Protocols for investigation and referral to hospital out-patient departments will be developed in conjunction with general practitioners. Nurse-led clinics for selected conditions will be introduced where feasible. I am confident that these measures will result in an improved service for out-patients in public hospitals.

[1374]   Questions Nos. 292 to 294, inclusive, answered with Question No. 211.