Minister ‘playing politics with future of Community Hospitals’ – Doherty

first_imgSinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has hit out at the Minister and the Department of Health over the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of long stay residential care at Lifford, Ramelton and St Joseph’s Community Hospitals, blaming both for the ongoing impasse.His remarks come following a written response from the Minister issued in reply to a Parliamentary Question in which it was confirmed that the Department for Health has yet to approve revised plans from the HSE which, if accepted, would see the retention and refurbishment of the units.Teachta Doherty said: “As everyone is very well aware the ongoing controversy and uncertainity surrounding the future of long term residential care beds at Lifford, Ramelton and St Joseph’s Community Hospitals has been dragging on for some time ever since the Government unveiled its Capital Investment Programme for Community Nursing Units back in 2016. “The plan included proposals to replace the existing long stay residential care beds at these hospitals and sought to transfer these services to a new nursing facility to be constructed in Letterkenny.“While no one is against the creation of such a new unit in Letterkenny in principle, the plan was rightly met with strong criticism and anger from communities across Donegal as it meant the effective down grading of existing community hospitals in Lifford, Ramelton and Stranorlar, which, under the plans, would result in the closure of their long stay beds.“The backlash from the community thankfully forced the HSE to do a U-turn and to rethink its original plans, and the executive finalized revised proposals last March which reversed this earlier decision and instead sought to retain existing long term residential beds and have these units refurbished, while the new unit in Letterkenny would also go ahead under these revised plans.“The HSE wrote to the Department in May of this year seeking approval for these changes to the previously agreed programme. “Yet despite this, it’s now been confirmed to me by the Minister in reply to a Parliamentary Question this week that the Department of Health has yet to approve this amended plan.“Instead, the Department has chosen to stall on giving the green light to these changes and has sought further information from the HSE before making a final decision on whether or not to grant them approval.“This is simply outrages and is a clear admission from the Minister himself that both he and his Department are choosing to play politics with, what is, a very important issue to the people of this county and the future of long stay residential community care here.“The Minister and his cabinet colleagues can no longer hide behind the HSE and blame it for the ongoing uncertainty, because we now have an admission that he is to blame for this shambolic state of affairs.“I am again calling on the Minister and the Department to stop playing games with people’s lives and to now, without any further delay, make a decision to retain long stay beds at these community hospitals and to do what’s in the best interest of these communities.” Minister ‘playing politics with future of Community Hospitals’ – Doherty was last modified: July 25th, 2018 by Chris McNultyShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more