Dáil Éireann - Volume 552 - 24 April, 2002
Written Answers. - Hospital Services.
Mr. Ring Mr. Ring
59. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children the plans there are to provide a rheumatology service at Mayo General Hospital; when a rheumatologist will be appointed; if funding has been put in place for this service; the number of people in County Mayo who have to attend a rheumatologist outside the county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12452/02]
Mr. Martin Mr. Martin
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): The provision of rheumatology services for people residing in County Mayo is the statutory responsibility of the Western Health Board. Data on out-patient waiting lists for rheumatology services is not routinely collected by my Department. However, I understand from the board that a total of 582 patients from County Mayo were assessed by the board's consultant rheumatologist during the past 12 months and there are 267 patients from the Mayo area on the rheumatology out patient waiting list.
I understand from the board that it is currently in the process of drawing up a strategic plan for the development of rheumatology services in their region over the next five years.
The board sought the views of Comhairle na nOspidéal on the organisation and development  of rheumatology services in the region in the context of Comhairle's policy document on rheumatology services. The board has received comments from Comhairle. The board's draft strategy is now being finalised.
I understand that when the draft strategy is finalised it will be considered by the board's Acute Services Standing Committee, following which it will be presented to the board for formal adoption.
The question of developing rheumatology services in the Western Health Board region will be considered in the context of the availability of development funding for acute hospital services and the competing priorities for same.
Dáil Éireann 552 Written Answers. Hospital Services.