Deputy Pearse Doherty has reacted angrily to an admission from the Minister for Health and the HSE that the transfer of respite services at Mountcharles’ Sea View House to a new service provider, which was due to be completed at the start of 2019, is not now expected to happen until the autumn.
This latest set back comes following months of ongoing disruptions to services at the centre which has been blighted by staffing shortages and rostering issues.
Reacting to the announcement, Deputy Doherty said “As many people will remember, there was a cautious welcome to the announcement last November when it was first revealed that the HSE had reached an agreement with a third party provider to take over responsibility for the provision of respite care at Sea View House in Mountcharles.
“The HSE advised at the time that services would be transferred to the RehabCare Group which had successfully tendered for the centre contract, and that the company was on track to formally take charge of respite services in February of this year, following which the centre would operate on an increased five days per week basis.
Despite those reassurances, the HSE and the Minister for Health have now revealed, in a response to a Dáil Question which Deputy Doherty tabled a few days ago, that the planned transfer will not be completed until late September 2019.
The Sinn Fein TD added “The HSE has advised that this is necessary in order to minimise disruption to service users, as well as to ensure continuity of care for patients and their families. The executive has also informed me that it has written formally to all service users and staff to update them on the changes.
“While I, of course, acknowledge the importance of avoiding any unnecessary inconvenience to service users and their loved ones, and while I fully appreciate the need to minimise further service curtailment, this delay is simply not good enough.
“It is grossly unfair of both the Minister and the HSE to raise expectations and to give people false hope like this, especially given the fact that services at Sea View have long been beset by issues owing to the failure to address staffing shortages and rostering.
“For many months now, there have been countless families who have contacted me to express their disappointment at having appointments cancelled or their support hours reduced at the centre, as well as to outline how the issue was negatively affecting them and their loved ones.
“My colleague Cllr Noel Jordan and I have been working closely with many of these families throughout south Donegal and we have continued to lobby the relevant authorities, both at national and local level, to demand they urgently address the issue of service disruption at Sea View House.
“This latest delay will come as a huge disappointment to those families and will also be disheartening to the centre’s hard working staff who have been doing their best to maintain the service despite years of under investment from Government.
“I promised to follow closely all developments at Sea View House when I first learnt of this new contract last year, and I remain committed to doing all I can to apply all necessary pressure on both the Minister and the HSE to get their acts together and to ensure that these important changes and improvements are delivered in a timely manner.”Tags: