Dáil Éireann - Volume 580 - 18 February, 2004

Written Answers. - Hospital Staff.

  255. Mr. Gogarty asked the Minister for Health and Children if staffing levels at St. Mary's Hospital, Phoenix Park, are sufficient to ensure adequate supervision of elderly patients there. [5140/04]

  Mr. Callely: As the Deputy will be aware responsibility for the provision of health services in the Dublin 7 area is a matter for the Northern Area Health Board in the first instance acting under the aegis of the Eastern Regional Health Authority.

My Department has been informed by the authority that staffing levels at St. Mary's Hospital are adequate to deliver good nursing and medical care to frail older persons resident in the hospital. The authority also states that staffing levels are normally maintained at the required level but that it can be challenging to ensure the availability of qualified nursing staff as is the case throughout the health services. Agency staff are recruited from time to time and overtime is also available to permanent staff to ensure that services are maintained at the appropriate level. The authority has further advised that the availability of agency staff can, unfortunately, sometimes be limited and that it can be particularly challenging to staff in supervising those older residents suffering from dementia in an old building which was not designed for such patients. The Deputy may be interested to note that I visited this hospital recently and was happy to meet with both staff and patients.