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HSE is abandoning care of older people – Ó Caoláin

3 November, 2011


Sinn Féin health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has accused the HSE of abandoning older people by closing down its own directly provided residential care services in nursing homes.

He was speaking after the news that Abbeyleix Hospital in Co. Laois is to close, less than a month after the announced closure of the HSE’s St. Brigid’s Nursing Home at Crooksling, Co. Dublin.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“The announcement within the space of less than a month that two major HSE nursing homes are to close confirms that the Minister for Health James Reilly and the HSE are presiding over a policy of privatisation of care for older people. Both Abbeyleix Hospital in Co. Laois and St. Brigid’s, Crooksling, Co. Dublin are to shut down as homes for older people. This is causing upset and major inconvenience to infirm residents and their families, as well as further reducing the bed capacity in the healthcare system.

“The latest closure at Abbeyleix will remove 45 long-stay beds and axe a vital facility from the healthcare infrastructure of the Midlands. This follows the equally callous and unnecessary closure of Loughloe House in Athlone last year.

“The HSE’s Regional Manager was today unable to say how much this closure would ‘save’ the HSE. With some patients being moved to private care it may well entail substantial additional costs.

“The closure of St. Brigid’s, Crooksling comes after the HSE spent some €2 million on upgrading the home. 89 patients, 66 of them high dependency, are to be moved elsewhere. A facility at Inchicore has been earmarked for 50 of the high dependency residents but what of the remainder?

“These closures are part of the drive by the HSE to privatise all nursing home care for older people. The HSE and the Minister for Health are effectively abandoning the care of older people completely to the private sector regardless of the consequences. This policy should not be allowed to continue.”

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