THE HSE has transferred patients out of Abbeyleix hospital in contravention of a commitment made after a High Court order blocked closure, a GP has claimed.
Ahead of this weekend’s mass protest against the closure of the Community Nursing Unit it has also emerged that the health authorities are on the verge of coming up with a so-called “generic” deal on the hospital
But a letter from Dr John Madden revealing that the HSE is moving ahead with a downgrade or closure, looks set to further anger many who take to the streets this Sunday, April 29 at 2pm. In the letter to HSE manager, Mr Joe Ruane, Dr Madden claims patients have been moved out.
“The most recent transfer to a private institution is of an elderly lady with a dementia problem. This transfer was not in my view necessary or desirable. The first patient recently transferred to a private institution died within a month of the transfer.
“This could of course have happened even if she had continued with her Abbeyleix CNU respite care but it is certainly telling that her death coincided with the new arrangement,” he said.
Dr Madden said that the transfers break commitments to consultation made following a court order last December to quash the decision to close the unit.
“Given that 5 months later the consultation process has not yet started it is certainly against the spirit of your agreement to transfer patients before any decision has been made. In these circumstances it is simply not possible for patients and their families to give informed consent to offers of long stay care in alternative facilities.” said Dr Madden.
The GP accused the HSE of “steadfastly” refusing respite patients. “Why these beds could not be used during this prolonged “consultation process” is I believe beyond explanation,” he wrote.
He welcomed a recent respite admission last week but asked why this patient was admitted when other deserving patients were refused. The GP also noted the €20m announced by the Health Minister James Reilly for “Intermediate Care” facilities.
“He talks of admitting patients to facilities where there will be Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Speech and Language Therapy etc. As you know all of these facilities exist in Abbeyleix,” wrote Dr Madden.
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