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INO Calls On HSE South To Reverse Plans to Close Care of the Elderly Beds in Carlow and Waterford. 11/02/09

PRESS RELEASE,Wednesday, February 11th, 2009


Members of the Irish Nurses Organisation have expressed outrage at plans by the HSE South to close Bethany House, a 30-bedded Welfare Home attached to the Sacred Heart Hospital in Carlow and a19 bedded ward in St Patrick’s Hospital, Waterford.  In both counties, the HSE say the decision to close these services is based on Health and Safety concerns for staff and patients.

As patient advocates, INO members in both services are campaigning to get the HSE to revoke their closure plans and are supported by the “Friends of the Hospital” groups in both counties. Patients at Bethany House now face the distress of relocation to either the Sacred Heart Hospital or private Nursing Homes in Carlow/Kilkenny. Members of the Organisation working there point out that Bethany House effectively is “home” for these patients, who are now to be separated from their friends and relocated to unfamiliar surroundings at this stage of their lives.

In St Patrick’s Hospital in Waterford, the HSE plan to close St Bridget’s Ward by July 2009 and the ward is now closed to admissions. It is not intended to relocate patients outside of the hospital but the patients will be “transferred to other vacancies as they arise in the Hospital”. The HSE claim that “replacement of the ward has been identified as part of the HSE Capital Investment Plan, with plans being progressed for a new 50-bedded Community Nursing Unit in Waterford.”  However, this Unit is still at planning stage with no definitive date for construction/opening. The HSE has not yet provided Unions in the Service with the Fire and Health and Safety Reports on which they claim to base their decision to close the ward. Indeed, the Friends of St Patrick’s Hospital have offered to fund the refurbishment of the ward to address the Fire and Health and Safety concerns outlined by the HSE, but this offer has so far met with total rejection. As patient advocates, our members fear the permanent loss of these beds from the county for the elderly population of Waterford, and fear the further erosion of services at the Hospital in the future.

Speaking this morning, INO Industrial Relations Officer, Liz Curran said:

“The INO is now calling on HSE South to reverse their plans to close the beds in these two centres and to allow the patients to remain in their familiar surroundings.  The Organisation is also calling on the HSE South to immediately provide the union with the Fire and Health and Safety Reports on these two areas.”

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Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (Cumann Altrai agus Ban Cabhrach na hEireann). The Whitworth Building, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. T:+353 1 664 0600 E:inmo@inmo.ie