Dáil Éireann - Volume 492 - 16 June, 1998

Written Answers. - Hospital Services.

238. Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children the plans, if any, the North Western Health Board has for ward closures in St. Conal's Hospital, Letterkenny, County Donegal, in the near future; if closures are imminent; the proposals, if any, the board has for the displacement of the patients in these wards should closures go ahead; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14437/98]

239. Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children the proposals, if any, the North Western Health Board has for capital works in 1998 in the psychiatric services at St. Conal's Hospital, Letterkenny, County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14438/98]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Cowen): I propose to take Questions Nos. 238 and 239 together.

In line with the policy set out in Planning for the Future the North Western Health Board is developing a community based mental health service as an alternative to the institutional service traditionally provided in psychiatric hospitals. The board's proposals for the development of services in the Donegal catchment this year include the provision of a supervised residential unit at Carndonagh for approximately 20 residents. This facility will provide accommodation for people from the Inishowen area, some of whom are in-patients at St. Conal's Hospital. The [928] board then proposes to establish a similar unit at Letterkenny for people in the Letterkenny catchment area which will also result in the transfer of some patients from St. Conal's Hospital. I understand that these initiatives will result in some ward closures at St. Conal's Hospital next year. The board has indicated that only those patients who are deemed suitable by the relevant professional staff will be accommodated in these residences or in alternative facilities for the care of older people.