A MEDICAL colleague of the Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly said he had “good news” about the potential of Abbeyleix Hospital.
Local GP, John Madden set a viable expanded role for the hospital if the HSE rows back on closure.
“Not only should we save the hospital but we should further develop and invest in services that we currently offer. “Looking after the elderly is not simply about competition or choice. It is more about compassion,” he said.
Dr Madden said Abbeyleix provides long term respite care for people who are unable to be cared for in private institutions.
“Their needs are too dependent and too complex. We are not in competition with private institutions, we provide a respite service. We also provide a respite service for families who care for their elderly relatives at home, and who need the support and break from the 24-hour rigours of caring for elderly relatives,” he said.
Dr Madden said the Minister recently announced €20 million for intermediary care.
“I have some good news for the Minister today, we already have a dedicated nursing service, physiotherapist, occupational therapy, we have the commitment, the desire and the community. On top of the services we are already operating, what we are seeking to do is not just save the hospital from closure, we are looking to expand the services that we currently offer,” he said.
Dr Madden said the hospital could provide hospice care.
“During the week we had a phone call from the palliative care consultant in Portlaoise looking for a bed for a patient of his who does not need acute hospital services, but who is not fit for discharge to home. Our hospital is ideally placed to work with Laois Hospice to provide such a service,” he said.
Dr Madden said the hospital also provides a vital role in the community.
“Our dedicated kitchen staff provide Meals on Wheels for people who are unable to cook for themselves at home, our home care service offers day care service for about 90 people per week,” he said.