HSE seeks planning for new multi-million 50 bed unit in Laois nursing home

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

St Vincent's Community Nursing Unit in Mountmellick

The multi-million euro upgrade of the HSE's largest Laois nursing home is continuing with planning permission lodged this week.

The Health Service Executive has applied on May 1 2020 to Laois County Council for permission to build a new 50 bed nursing unit, at St Vincent's Community Nursing Unit in Mountmellick.

The development is to "construct a new build 50 bed unit for the replacement of existing beds including support services, associated site works, reconfiguration/ upgrade landscaping works and associated minor works".

However the Covid-19 pandemic may delay the extension plans.

A comment on the planning application reads that "The dates and timelines on this application may be affected by the emergency Covid 19 legislation".

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan welcomed the progress.

“I welcome confirmation that planning permission has been lodged with Laois County Council for phase 1 of the main development for St Vincent’s Community Nursing Home," he said.

“The HSE has confirmed that the project is to be delivered in three phases , Phase 1 - 50 bed new build, Phase  2 – 60 bed new build, Phase  3 – 20 bed refurb.

"St Vincent’s Community Nursing Unit is a wonderful facility and I am anxious that construction work commences as soon as possible. I want to pay tribute to all staff  in this facility, and indeed all front line workers around the county,  who are working tirelessly in very trying and difficult conditions due to the challenges presented by the current Covid-19 situation," Minister Flanagan said.

St Vincent's CNU has about 80 beds in operation. Larger wards were closed some years ago, with the new units to comply with HIQA standards including the provision of en-suite bathrooms.  In 2015 the health service watchdog HIQA banned admissions at the hospital. A year later, in 2016, when the ban was lifted, Laois TD and Minister Charlie Flanagan announced funding of €23.7 million for a 130 bed unit.

It is two years this month since the HSE announced a plan to build two new 50 bed units.

This application is for Phase I which was estimated in 2018 to cost €11.5 million. Read that story here.