Cancel plans ‘to close hospitals’

The new Minister for Health must cancel plans to close Abbeyleix and Shaen Hospitals according to Sean Fleming TD.

However, the Department of Health claims it is still waiting a recommendations from the Health Service Executive on what to do.

But, the Fianna Fáil TD believes the only “the only realistic option” open to the Government and Minister Leo Varadkar is to use Abbeyleix Community Nursing Unit and St. Brigid’s Hospital, Shaen.

Dep Fleming said they are excellent facilities for elderly care.

“The Government has a new policy of contracting out the care of the elderly out from the HSE even though they have facilities of their own to provide this service,” he said.

Dep Fleming said the Government cannot legally close Abbeyleix or Shaen on the basis of the recommendations from the HSE on this matter.

He said the original closure process was based on “flawed information” put together locally in the midland region that did not adhere to HSE approved costs for Abbeyleix and Shaen.

“In a parliamentary reply last January I was informed that the Department had asked to re examine the information they had submitted to the Department.

The Minister informed me last week that this is still the position.

“Due to the passage of time and the flawed information under which this process commenced it would be legally unsound for the Minister for Health to close either institution based on this old process and costings which are no longer valid,” he said.

In recent weeks Dep Feming asked for an updated on the future of the hospitals.

In reply he was told that “the position remains unchanged” from the situation outlined last January.

At the time he was told that the HSE was asked to “re-examine all of the available relevant information with a view to finalising a recommendation in relation to both Shaen and Abbeyleix”.

In January the Department said it “awaits the HSE response and an announcement will be made as soon as possible once the Minister receives the HSE’s definitive position”.




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