HSE seeks to postpone dates for HIQA action on Sacred Heart Hospital – Naughten

In Health, Mid-Roscommon by Denis Naughten

Sacred heart hospitalThe 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 Sacred Heart Hospital, 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 Sacred Heart Hospital, and other long stay hospitals, up the required standards by the end 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 the Sacred Heart Hospital in Roscommon, to be brought up to the required standard.

“While such a move will benefit the immediate problem faced by the Sacred Heart Hospital in Roscommon, there is a fear that this could also lead to delays in providing the long term investment needed,” 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”.

“However, because the Minister and HSE have decided to postpone this while maintaining the existing standards – without what some believe are practical changes regarding the requirements for single rooms – there is a fear that this may be open to legal challenge from other operators,” stated Denis Naughten.

“The positive aspect of the Minister’s comments is that it is the HSE’s intention to have all the existing facilities upgraded over the next six years. However, it is important that the Sacred Heart Hospital maintains its status on the priority listing, in case these new timelines are either rejected by HIQA or by the courts,” concluded Denis Naughten.