Abbeyleix hospital protest in 2011. Picture: Alf Harvey
The HSE has indicated that money is the key to the future development of the hospital in Abbeyleix.
Health service management has also pledged to ask its community section to complete the plan for Abbeyleix Community Nursing Unit hospital should money become available to carry an overhaul.
Michael Fitzgerald, the HSE's Assistant National Director Older People and Palliative Care - Strategy, has responded in writing to Laois TD and Minister for Justice & Equality, Charlie Flanagan.
Minister Flanagan had told the HSE that there are concerns over the future of services at Abbeyleix and its viability.
In reply Mr Fitzgerald said the facility provides residential care for 17 short stay beds and three long stay patients. He said the centre also provides accommodation for primary care services.
“I understand that the local HSE, along with the Friends of Abbeyleix have been working together on a plan for its redevelopment into the future.
“In the context of a capacity review undertaken by the Department of Health in relation to residential care for older people, you may be aware that there is a requirement for additional short stay and long stay beds across the country over the coming years.
“The HSE is currently undertaking a significant programme of refurbishment and replacement of older residential care buildings to modernise them in line with Hiqa regulations.
“In the context of Abbeyleix, the centre will continue to provide residential care services and in the future will become a short stay unit serving both the general area in terms of intermediate care beds (rehabilitation, reablement, respite etc) and also discharges of local people from acute hospitals who require such ongoing residential care services. The service provision will also be supported by primary care services of Public Health Nursing, RGNs etc. ensuring that the users of the service can return home as soon as possible following any periods of supports provided in the community nursing unit.
“Also, I have asked the local Community Healthcare Organisation to finalise their plans in relation to future development of the centre so that it can be put forward as a model of service should any funding be made available as a result in the Capital Plan.
“Rest assured, that the future of Abbeyleix Community Nursing Unit is secure in the knowledge that the current services will continue to be provided in an appropriate manner as well as meeting the future needs of the area and how best it can serve to support older people to remain in their own homes for as long as possible,” concluded Mr Fitzgerald.