Dáil Éireann - Volume 562 - 25 February, 2003

Written Answers - Maternity Services.

  383. Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Health and Children if he has plans to close or downgrade the maternity unit at a hospital (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5351/03]

  401. Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Health and Children the impact the withdrawal of recognition on maternity services will have for the Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, County Galway; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that leaked documents from a draft report by the task force on medical manpower propose to either close or downgrade the maternity department of several hospitals, including the Portiuncula Hospital; if his attention has further been drawn to the huge catchment area covered by Portiuncula Hospital and to the fact that some women would have to travel over 80 miles to have their babies delivered if the Portiuncula Hospital was not available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5596/03]

  Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): I propose to take Questions Nos. 383 and 401 together.

  These issues arise from the work of the national task force on medical staffing. The task force's report is still in preparation and has not yet been finalised.

  I understand that the task force is examining the role and structure of acute hospitals so that they can provide the best possible service for patients. I also understand that it will not be recommending the closure of any hospitals. When the report has been finalised, I will consider its contents and bring proposals to Government in the usual way.