Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher Leas has raised the issue of the promised funding for two Donegal Community Hospitals namely St Joseph’s in Stranorlar and Ramelton with the Minister for Health.
Last November after much debate and lobbying for these Hospitals an agreed plan and route forward was signed up to by all interested parties.
However, Deputy Gallagher says it now transpires after a sequence of questioning that firstly, the Department of Health and the HSE have confirmed that no additional new funding was to be provided and that the planned improvements for these hospitals must be funded from the existing capital fund.
He added “Secondly, it now transpires that the current capital plan is to be cut by €100 million in 2019, and cut thereafter each year for the next 3 years in order to pay for the over spend on the National Children’s Hospital added Pat the Cope.
“We also have potential knock-on consequences for the strategy agreed for Lifford Community Hospital, as this also would be part of the Capital plan post 2021.”
IN a letter to Deputy Gallagehr, the Minister said “The requirements of community nursing units and other health capital projects, currently at various stages of development, are being considered as part of this process”.
The Health Minister further stated in his reply to Deputy Gallagher’s Dáil question “The HSE Capital Plan will determine the projects that can progress in 2019 having regard to the available capital funding”.
Pat the Cope said he is now very concerned regarding the agreement which was reached for St Joseph’s Community Hospital and Ramelton Community Hospital on two grounds – firstly, no new funding was ever approved for the revised plan which was agreed in November 2018,
“Secondly, as confirmed by the Health Minister the existing Capital Plan is going to subjected to massive cuts over the next 3 to 4 years, this I might add is the same period of time that the capital will be required for upgrading these two community hospitals.
“Therefore, the same period in which funding is required for these Hospitals the funding is due to be cut, and as the plan to upgrade these Hospitals was to be funded from existing resources – it certainly does not bode well for the future plans,” he added added.
He said this entire situation is most concerning and in absence of any clarity from the Minister and the Department and he is concerned that these Hospitals will again be in jeopardy, meantime there is an urgent need to bring this hospital to the necessary standards required by HIQA.
“I am calling on the Government and the Health Minister to immediately ring-fence funding for these two community hospital in order to secure the long stay accommodation units.
“A commitment must also be given that additional funding has been sourced for this projects as it is clear that the existing Capital plan for the HSE is now under serious pressure added Pat the Cope.
“On the 13th of February just next week, it will be the third anniversary of the massive rally in Ballybofey – Stranorlar to save the Hospitals, it now seems that we may be no further forward now than we were in 2016. There is now an onus of responsibility on the Government, the Minister for Health and the HSE to bring clarity and certainty to this situation,” concluded Pat the Cope.
Question to Minister for Health from Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher
To ask the Minister for Health if the capital commitment for the comprehensive upgrade of hospitals (details supplied) is secure and will not be subject to a review in view of the capital overspend on the national children’s hospital; if the commitment given by him and the HSE to provide additional capital for the long-term stay units in the hospitals is guaranteed; if works will commence in 2019 as promised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) St Joseph’s Community Hospital Stranorlar and Ramelton Community Hospital
Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher
The Health Service Executive is currently developing its Capital Plan for 2019. The HSE Capital Plan will determine the projects that can progress in 2019 having regard to the available capital funding, the number of large national capital projects currently underway and the relevant priority of each project. The requirements of community nursing units and other health capital projects, currently at various stages of development, are being considered as part of this process.