Dáil Éireann - Volume 552 - 23 April, 2002
Written Answers. - Hospitals Building Programme.
Dr. O'Hanlon Dr. O'Hanlon
134. Dr. O'Hanlon asked the Minister for Health and Children the development and improvements to be carried out at Monaghan  General Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12521/02]
Mr. Martin Mr. Martin
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): As the Deputy is aware, I recently visited Monaghan General Hospital and met with hospital management, staff and with representatives of local groups. I was happy to be in a position to allay any concerns with regard to the future development of the hospital. A significant level of capital investment in Monaghan General Hospital is proposed in the short-term; plans are being advanced by the North-Eastern Health Board for the development and upgrading of the high dependency unit at the hospital in addition to substantial upgrading and refurbishment of ward accommodation, the development of the emergency treatment unit and the development of a midwifery-led unit. The associated capital cost is of the order of €7 million.
Revenue funding is provided to health boards for the maintenance and continued development of existing services and for the provision-development of new services. Revenue funding in this regard has been provided to the North-Eastern Health Board in recent years as follows: 2000, £226.806 million; 2001, £289.122 million. In the current year this figure increased to €450.053 million.
The Deputy will of course, appreciate that it is a matter for the health board to determine its service priorities in the context of the funding made available to it for the maintenance, development and provision of services. I am advised by the board, however, that the development of new consultant-led services in dermatology and geriatric medicine at the hospital is proceeding and I am pleased to inform the Deputy that my Department has recently issued formal approval to the board for the filling of two consultant posts in order to facilitate these developments.
Further approval of a replacement consultant surgeon post and the upgrading of this temporary post to permanent status has recently issued to the North-Eastern Health Board from my Department. Additional medical support staff will also be recruited to support this post. In addition, approval has also issued for a replacement consultant anaesthetist post which will be committed to Monaghan General Hospital and which will support the service developments at the hospital.
I am further advised by the board that management consultants have been retained to oversee the implementation of a consultants in management programme for the NEHB hospitals and to improve and enhance general management arrangements for the Cavan-Monaghan hospital group.
I have announced the immediate commissioning process for an additional 709 acute hospital beds in public hospitals nationwide at a cost of €65 million in the current year. This is the first phase in the provision of the additional 3,000  acute hospital beds by 2011. Some 38 of the additional 709 public hospital beds will be provided in the North-Eastern Health Board region with ten of these being provided in Monaghan General Hospital. All of the additional bed capacity at the hospital will be designated for public patients and will allow the hospital to significantly increase activity levels for its public patients.
I am satisfied that the proposed development of additional consultant-led services at the hospital, together with the provision of additional bed capacity and the proposed significant level of capital investment is tangible evidence of additional funding for the provision of acute hospital services to the catchment area population served by the hospital.
Dáil Éireann 552 Written Answers. Hospitals Building Programme.