Weekend media reports suggest almost 150 nursing home beds in Clare could be affected by the application of HIQA standards on safety and care later this year.
Deputy Dooley commented: “It has been well flagged for this government that St. Joseph’s Community Hospital in Ennis and Raheen Community Nursing Unit in Tuamgraney would need additional investment to meet HIQA standards by July. There are 120 beds at St. Joseph’s and a further 25 at Raheen Community Nursing Unit and these are much needed local facilities that support older residents.
“We need to hear from the Government that the necessary investment will be made in these facilities in order to maintain their services. The fact that the future of hundreds of nursing home beds across the country, including almost 150 in Clare, is unknown because of a lack of investment and a lack of a strategy from the Government is extremely worrying. In fact where HIQA sees a reasonable, credible, realistic investment programme it will work with the relevant nursing home in allowing it to continue to care for patients while the investment is made.
“This is another example of Fine Gael and Labour’s utter neglect of elderly care in this country. Their cuts to the Fair Deal scheme and home help supports have been a major contributor to the overcrowding crisis in our Emergency Departments. Fianna Fáil warned as far back as October that the extensive delays in the Fair Deal scheme would lead to knock on problems in the country’s hospitals. At that stage there were more than 2,000 people waiting for a bed in a nursing home. There are now 400 fewer places on the Fair Deal scheme compared to 2013 figures. Ensuring respect and dignity for our older people in society just doesn’t seem to form part of this government’s philosophy.
“We need to hear from the Government how it plans to address this issue. The HSE Service Plan for 2015 does not set out in any detail a capital investment programme that would shore-up our community facilities in Clare, in fact the Director-General of the HSE only last week said there was insufficient funding in place to support the upgrading of many public nursing homes around the country. It is simply not good enough for the Government to once again allow our health services to start the year on the back-foot with a budget that simply doesn’t provide the necessary resources to meet the needs of patients,” concluded Deputy Dooley.