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Adams criticises closure of respite care in Cottage Hospital

25 October, 2012 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has criticised the HSE decision to pre-empt the outcome of the consultation process on Residential Services and respite care in the Cottage Hospital, Drogheda by informing clients who use the respite service that it is to be moved to Moorehall Lodge, a private nursing home.

“On Thursday September 27ththe HSE published a report into Residential Care in The Cottage Hospital and launched a consultation process which was to last until the end of October with the final report being published on November 26th.

At a briefing with the HSE on Friday morning September 28thI and other local representatives, including my colleague Councillor Imelda Munster, were told that the process of consultation would determine the future of the hospital.

The HSE report set out a number of options in respect of the future of the Cottage Hospital, including the respite care which it provides to approximately 150 people who use this service each year.

According to the HSE report ‘no decision has been made to make changes to either of these units (which includes the respite care in unit 1) until a thorough appraisal of all services has been completed. The HSE is committed to ongoing engagement and information sharing with all stakeholders including residents, their families, advocates, local action groups and public representatives.’

Each of the 6 options outlined in the report contained proposals in respect of respite care.

Now the HSE’s Co-ordinator of Services for Older People has issued a letter, dated October 22nd in which she states, ‘I wish to inform you that the respite service for clients in the South Louth area is relocating to a new venue …this service will now be provided in Moorehall Lodge, Drogheda from 12th November 2012.’

Moorehall Lodge is a private nursing home.

This is a complete breach of the commitments made by the HSE to clients, staff the local community and elected representatives. It is also in clear contravention of the HSE national protocols and guidelines to guide consultation processes.

This announcement and the shenanigans that went on at the beginning of the month with two government TDs, Fergus O Dowd and Ged Nash raises serious questions about the behaviour of the HSE.

The two government TDs pre-empted the HSE report on September 27th and consultation on the Cottage Hospital, by claiming that the Cottage will be ‘transformed into a 30 bed intermediate step down unit’.

All of this suggests that the consultation process is entirely bogus and that all of the decisions in respect of the Cottage Hospital have already been taken by the HSE and government, and that they intend to railroad them through.

This is unacceptable behaviour. Either there is a consultation process or there is not. The HSE has to explain its decisions.

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