Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD demanded today that the Minister for Health open a €12 million 50-bed community nursing home which has been empty since it was completed by the HSE two years ago.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said: “As part of the planned St Michael's Regeneration Project, a purpose- built community nursing home, with state-of-the-art facilities, was built on the football pitches of the old St Michael's School in St Michael's Estate, Inchicore, Dublin 8.
“It was located next to the Community Care facility because there was an identifiable need for community nursing home beds in this area which is one of the most disadvantaged communities of Dublin and has an aging community.
“It was located here as part of an overall plan for community care. This was to involve additional beds in the now closed Brú Caoimhghín and a refurbishment of the Meath Hospital.
“Two years ago, illogically and at short notice, Brú Caoimhghín, which had 50 beds, was closed but the new facility at St Michael's has not opened.
“Meanwhile, nearby St James's Hospital which was to use the St Michael’s and Brú Caoimhghín for convalescent facilities, is struggling to find nursing home beds for its patients due for discharge because of the lack of beds in the vicinity. Patients are being sent to private beds in private nursing homes.
I am demanding that Minister O'Reilly open the facility immediately, relieve the pressure on St James' Hospital and live up to the commitment that half the beds in the new facility will be for local patients.
There is a financial logic to opening St Michael's Nursing Home. It will allow St James’s Hospital discharge patients sooner after surgery, and so prevent patients being on trolleys in A&E or being in acute beds when they require convalescent or aftercare beds in a nursing home.
I call on the Minister to reject the proposal to run this hospital on a public-private partnership. The privatisation of the public health system needs to end. If the HSE cannot run the facility, why not grant it, with the required operating costs, to St James’s Hospital?