More than 5,000 people have told the HSE they do not want Shaen Hospital to close but campaigners have claimed that the executive is ignoring families with loved ones who need the vital care that the hospital can give.
Chairperson of the Action Committee, Paddy Buggy has said the families are at their wits end and feel blocked from having a person admitted to Shaen.
Mr Buggy, who delivered a petition with 4,599 names on it to the HSE yesterday, said Shaen should be upgraded and expanded.
“This is not just about Laois, but the whole HSE Catchment area. The statistics show that there will be a huge increase in the number of people suffering from Alzheimers and Dementia in the next number of years. We need centres of excellence such as Shaen.
“There are some families out there, caring for people with alzheimers and dementia that at their wits end, they feel they have been blocked from going into Shaen when there is an idle ward that could be opened up over night,” he said.
Mr Buggy said a couple of representatives from the Action Committee were handing in the petition to the HSE at yesterday’s meeting of the Dublin Mid Leinster Forum.
“We hope to meet with the HSE next week, but we don’t have any dates or times yet. We’re going to keep this going as we still want to meet with the Minister.”
“So far we have 4,599 signatures from papers that were left all over the area and we still have more to collect. There was also 843 people who signed an on-line petition,” he said.
Mr Buggy said the letters written by family members were important to people who find themselves in a similar position.
“It’s important that people understand that there could be light at the end of the tunnel. These people are not suffering alone. But the mental health of the carers is also at risk. As you can see from the letters, it can be terribly difficult looking after a person with these diseases.
“It’s important that we keep this service for the hundreds of people out there in the early stages of the disease. The Alzheimers Society are great to be able to provide carers, but they can only take it so far and eventually people with Alzheimers and Dementia end up needing a centre of excellence like Shaen,” he said.
The Action Committee also expressed their sympathy to Edel Browne, on the death of her mother Anne in Shaen, last week.
Through her daughter, Anne, recently worte a letter to the Leinster Express begging not to be moved from the place she called home.