Residents and staff of Abbeyleix and Shaen hospitals will be celebrating an uncertain Christmas next week, as their future hs yet to be decided by the Minister for Health Dr James Reilly.
The Department of Health has confirmed that he HSE has not yet delivered the recommendation on either Community Nursing Unit.
The HSE due to be deliver a recommendation to Minister Reilly last August, following public consultations. The minister has the final say on the future of both Shaen and Abbeyleix hospitals.
A spokesperson for the Dept told the Leinster Express that they have not received the HSE’s report.
“We haven’t received it yet, so presumably it is still with the HSE,” the spokesperson said.
Abbeyleix Hospital action committee are threatening further action if a decision on their hospital is not made shortly.
PRO Gary O’Keeffe says they are impatient for a decision from Minister for Health Dr James Reilly, awaited since last September.
“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 and anything short of a logical, fair and balanced decision will not be tolerated and will not be defensible” he said.
Laois’ TDs are however growing in confidence that a positive outcome is on the way.
FG Deputy Charles Flanagan says he is in fortnightly contact with the minister, and expects an announcement “shortly”.
“The decision was expected before Christmas, but that is only a week away. 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, as have officials in the Department of Health,” he said.
Dep Stanley is also hopeful after speaking with Minister Kathleen Lynch last week.
“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, but added “the position on Shaen hospital is more doubtful”.
“Given the length of time spent on the consultation process, the Government and the HSE should now clarify their future plans for Shaen. This hospital is providing excellent care for high dependency patients and the staff, patients and their families deserve clarity on its future,” Dep Stanley said.