The HSE has not yet delivered a recommendation on the future of community hospitals in Abbeyleix to the Department of Health, despite political confidence about the future of one of the hospitals earmarked for closure.
While the HSE has declined to comment, a spokesperson for the Department of Health has told the Leinster Express that it has not received the HSE’s recommendation on the future of Abbeyleix or Shaen community nursing units.
“We haven’t received it yet, so presumably it is still with the HSE,” the spokesperson said today, Thursday, December 13.
Fine Gael TD Charlie Flanagan said this week that he met Minister for Health Dr James Reilly this week to discuss Abbeyleix.
“At this stage I am more confident than hopeful. The minister is very anxious that measures be put in place to ensure the viability of Abbeyleix. He is in consultation with the HSE on the issue,” he said.
Sinn Féin’s Brian Stanley is also hopeful after speaking with Minister of State Kathleen Lynch recently.
“I now believe that the situation regarding Abbeyleix is more hopeful and it is likely to be retained to provide specialist care to high dependency elderly patients,” he said.
The report was due on Minister Reilly’s desk last September, following public consultations. The HSE’s designated officer was due to make his recommendation with Minister Reilly having the final say.
The Abbeyleix Hospital Action Committee is impatient for a decision.
“The incredible delay causes some serious questions. If no answer is received within the next few weeks, the credibility of the entire consultation process will be called into question. Inaction will not be an option,” said its PRO Gary O’Keeffe.
It is a more than a year since the HSE announced it would close Abbeyleix but a court action from residents forced it to back down.