A clear commitment on the future of long-stay beds at Ramelton, St. Joseph’s and Lifford Community Hospitals is required from the Government, Deputy Charlie McConalogue told the Dáil this week.
Questioning Junior Minister for Health, Jim Daly, in the Dáil on Thursday, Deputy McConalogue outlined how the Government has so far failed to give a clear assurance that the funding necessary to maintain and expand long term residential beds at the three hospitals would be forthcoming.
“There has been genuine concern about the future of long stay beds at the hospital since the Health Capital Plan for Services was first published by Minister Kathleen Lynch in January 2016. That plan had outlined how these hospitals would have their long term residential beds “replaced” by the planned new Letterkenny Community Hospital and did not provide for any funding for them”, said Deputy McConalogue.
“These community hospitals provide much needed long term residential as well as step down care, taking people out of acute hospital settings and ensuring that they receive the care they need in their own locality, near to their friends and family. They are an important service in our local healthcare system and it is essential that they are fully supported at government level.
“Members of the local community served by Ramelton, St Joseph’s and Lifford made it crystal clear that they will not accept any removal of long term bed capacity when Minister Daly attended a public meeting in Ballybofey in February of this year.”
Deputy Charlie McConalogue said that a plan has now been put together by the HSE at local level which outlines the works necessary to ensure that bed capacity at Ramelton and St Joseph’s is at least maintained, and clarifies that a new build is required for Lifford.
“However the government has yet to follow through and has failed to make a clear commitment that this funding will be made available in upcoming capital plans, and importantly that long term bed capacity will be retained and enhanced in to the future.
“I await the update Minister Daly promised to issue in his Dáil response this week and will be seeking that the government follows through and commits to the long term future of the three hospitals”, concluded Deputy McConalogue.