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€629,000 spent refurbishing ward that is now closed

22 January, 2008

North Kerry Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris has described the closure of the Clonfert Ward at Kerry General Hospital, which was recently refurbished, as inexplicable. Following a number of requests to the HSE, Deputy Ferris was told that the reason for the closure was the shortage of Nursing Staff due to retirements, resignations, sick leave and maternity leave. However, the Sinn Féin Deputy said that these explanations did not stand up to scrutiny.

He said, "The HSE's reasons for the closure of the Clonfert ward for at least two months are incredible. Disgracefully they have tried to pin the blame for the closure on the Nursing staff. If a nurse is due to retire the HSE will have plenty of prior notice, and if a nurse is out on Maternity Leave they would have had at least 4 weeks notice. So these explanations do not stand up to scrutiny. They have also stated that resignations have added to the nursing shortage. I would like to know why nurses are resigning at Kerry General Hospital and does the HSE have a procedure to find out why people leave?

"I also asked the HSE what cost was incurred from the recent refurbishment of the Clonfert Ward and I was informed that €629,000 was spent. It is astonishing that this amount of money can be spent on a ward that will now be closed for at least 2 months. The executive management of the HSE are failing the people of Kerry and the staff who work at our hospital. It's about time that they came clean about the problems at Kerry General Hospital rather than trying to blame the hardworking staff. ENDS

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