Minister seeks to postpone date for HIQA action on St. Patrick’s – Naughten

In South Leitrim by Denis Naughten

The HSE and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Kathleen Lynch TD, are to seek a postponement of action by HIQA which would have a direct impact on the operation of the St. Patrick’s Hospital, Carrick-on-Shannon.

While there are urgent steps which need to be taken to meet current concerns of HIQA, and these measures are ongoing, there is also a wider issue regarding the date for the final closure of the existing complex and the opening of a new state-of-the-art facility for the people of South Leitrim and North Roscommon.

The case being made to HIQA is that during the economic recession it was not possible for the State to provide the required investment to bring the St. Patrick’s and other long stay hospitals, up the required standards by the middle of 2015.

As a result the Minister is seeking an extension of the 1st July 2015 deadline until 2021 for all of the long stay hospitals, including St. Patrick’s Hospital, Carrick on Shannon, to be brought up to the required standard.

“While such a move will benefit the existing problem facing the Department of Health in bringing facilities up to the required standards, there is a fear that this could lead to delay in providing the long term investment needed to provide a new long stay facility in Carrick-on-Shannon to replace St. Patrick’s,” explained Denis Naughten.

Minister Lynch told the Dáil last week that as a result of the Governments Capital Plan it is now possible to outline a revised timeframe for ensuring all public and voluntary services demonstrate compliance to HIQA. She said: “The revised policy will ensure that all services fully achieve the national standard by the end of the Capital Plan Period 2021.”

She went on to state that in the coming weeks the HSE will submit its plans, focused at individual service level, to meet the HIQA requirements adding “these individual plans will be in line with the revised policy timeframe. The plans will also detail proposed capital expenditure at each individual centre level”.

“The positive aspect of the Minister’s comments is that it is the HSE’s intention to have all the existing facilities, including a replacement building for St. Patrick’s, provided over the next six years. However, it is important that there is a definitive date for works to commence on a new building in Carrick-on-Shannon to service the needs of older people in North Roscommon and South Leitrim,” concluded Denis Naughten.

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