Junior Minister for Health, Jim Daly has responded to claims by a local priest that the Government “hoodwinked” the people of Donegal on the future of community hospitals.
This week Fr John Joe Duffy claimed the Government was simply paying lip service to the public on the future of Lifford, Stranorlar and Ramelton Community Hospitals.
But the Minister’s office has responded to the claims saying this is certainly not the case.
A spokesman said the 5 year Capital Investment Programme for Community Nursing Units provides for the replacement, upgrading and refurbishment, as appropriate, of existing facilities across the country and includes a number of units in Donegal.
The National Development Plan, published earlier this year as part of the Ireland 2040 policy initiative, acknowledges the need for additional capacity.
And a spokesman added that 4,500 additional short-term and long-term beds will be required across the public system in Community Nursing Units and other step-down facilities.
“The NDP is a long-term plan, which will roll out over ten years and includes provision for a large number of developments across the country.
“The Minister for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly is aware of local concerns relating to the proposals for long-stay residential care provision in the East Donegal area.”
The spokesperson added that since the Minister’s visit to Donegal earlier this year officials from the Department have engaged with HSE to ensure that investment in facilities in the area will meet the needs of the community.
“In this regard, the Minister is pleased to note that additional dementia beds are now available within St Joseph’s Hospital as committed to by the Minister on the Night, and further investment is being made available to the hospital to meet its needs.”