Louth County Councillor Tomás Sharkey has called on Minister varadkar to use his coming visit to Louth County Hospital to learn how and why services need to be restored to that hospital. Councillor Sharkey has learned that Minister varadkar will be in Louth County Hospital on Wednesday 20th. he has requested that, as a member of the HSE’s Regional Health Forum, he and other local representatives be afforded the opportunity to meet the minister.
“Minister Varadkar is welcome to visit Louth County Hospital. As Minister for Health he should make himself aware first hand of all issues in the hospital service. He will visit a newly opened ward of medical beds. I welcomed the plans for this ward some months ago.
“However, Minister Varadkar needs to educate himself of the fact that Louth County Hospital housed an A&E, Intensive Care Unit and Acute Medical wards less than six years ago. He must learn that the crisis in Our Lady of Lourdes is a direct result of the closure of services in Dundalk.
“I want to explain to Minister Varadkar that the small medical ward he will see is no comparison to the 100+ beds that are no longer there. As one of Louth’s representatives on the Regional Health Forum, I want to explain that our Minor Injuries Unit can go to a full 24/7 service and also support a Medical Assessment Unit. These measures will help us plan the reinstatement of full services in Dundalk and bring an end to the crisis in Our Lady of Lourdes.
“The RCSI Hospital Group has informed me that there is not enough space in he hospital building for me, as a public representative on the HSE Forum to attend the Minister’s visit. That is an outrageous cop-out and snub to the public in Louth and especially Dundalk.
“We know that hospital staff are being asked to have their dinner breaks by mid-day to allow for a reception of the Minister in the hospital canteen. I wonder does Minister Varadkar realise that nurses on long shifts will have their daily routine and tat of patients disturbed? I also challenge Minister Varadkar to instruct the RCSI Hospital Group to invite myself and the other Louth representatives on the HSE Regional Health Forum to this event.
Sinn Féin Councillor Imelda Munster has expressed her “serious concern at the government’s failure thus far to deliver on the promised 100 public nursing home beds in St Mary’s Hospital / Boyne View House in Drogheda.”
Councillor Munster, a candidate in the upcoming general election said, “Following intense public and political lobbying the HSE committed three years ago to the provision of a new 100 bed public nursing home unit on the St. Mary’s Hospital/Boyne View House site in Drogheda. The unit was set to cost €9 million.”
In a recent response to a Parliamentary Question from Gerry Adams TD the HSE would go no further than to confirm that “there is a plan to refurbish/rebuild St. Mary’s Hospital/Boyne View House in Drogheda which will provide an additional 35 beds above current capacity.”
The Louth TD has now called on the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar to prioritise the 100 bed unit and ensure that it is part of the government’s budget commitments.
Gerry Adams said:
“In correspondence two years ago the HSE said that the ‘new build, refurbishment and expansion works are dependent on the availability of capital funding.’ According to the HSE both it and the Department of Health had made a submission to the Department of Expenditure and Public Reform (DEPR) seeking funding to ‘address the issue of HIQA compliance in Services for Older Persons residential units.’
“The facility at St. Mary’s/Boyne View was part of this submission.
“Since then a design architect was appointed and funding provided for the project moving to the design and planning phase and the upgrading of facilities to meet HIQA standards but there has been no substantial progress on a promised commitment by the government to the construction of the new 100 bed unit.”
Cllr Munster backed calls by Teachta Adams saying “There is a real and immediate need for additional bed capacity in our public nursing home system. I support the call our party leader has made on Minister Varadkar to ensure that the necessary capital funding for the new build nursing home facility is speedily processed and is part of the upcoming budget and ask if he will he clarify how many additional nursing home beds will be provided by this proposed unit?”