Tuesday, 21 June 2005
Michael Kitt (Fianna Fail)
I thank the Cathaoirleach for allowing me to raise this issue and thank the Minister of State, Deputy Seán Power, for coming to the House. As Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, he will have a particular interest in this issue.
There is in Tuam a very efficient committee called the Tuam cancer care committee. For many years it has raised funds in many ways for cancer care beds in the town, particularly for the Áras Mhuire building. I certainly admire the committee's efforts. Its members made the point to me that there are now two respite beds in place in Áras Mhuire but that staff are needed urgently. The HSE, western region, has funding for some staff. Only two or three staff are required. Funding should be made available to open the beds. All the other raw materials, including furniture, are in place.
It is very interesting that an anonymous donation of €100,000 has been made. It will not be on the table for too long if the conditions are not met. I hope the Department will match the donation. Money is available from the anonymous donor, a building exists and beds are available. Everything is in place but the staff. I hope the Minister of State can respond favourably in this regard.
The issue that has arisen in Tuam is associated with an ongoing campaign to have a Tuam health campus. If we get basic provisions such as an ambulance base, an Alzheimer's disease unit, a child care training centre and a community hospital to replace the one that was run by the Bon Secours order for many years, they will comprise part of the health programme that has been planned for many years by the former Western Health Board and now by the HSE, western area. The proposal of the former health board is with the Department of Health and Children. It ties in with what I am saying. It is tremendous that a person is prepared to donate €100,000 towards the cancer care respite centre. I ask the Minster of State to consider this matter. He should note that there is funding available for some staff but not enough. Until the extra staff are provided, we will not be in a position to say the unit can open.