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Crisis unfolding in older persons services in Louth - Munster

16 September, 2016 - by Imelda Munster TD

Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster has raised serious concerns about the closure of nine beds at the Cottage Hospital in Drogheda due to nurse shortages. Deputy Munster has said this follows on from another nine beds in the Louth County Hospital in Dundalk which have already been closed for the same reason, and this combined total almost equates to St. Josephs in Ardee being completely closed. 

Deputy Munster stated that is has become abundantly clear that we have reached crisis point in our Older Persons Service in Louth with the service down ten nurses since April and staff at breaking point.

“I have contacted both the Minister for Health and the HSE as this situation is intolerable and it beggars belief that this staffing crisis would not have been foreseen and could have been avoided if proper strategic manpower planning processes where in place. 

“I have asked both the Minister and the HSE to explain the financial issues within the service, whether the funding adequate to deliver the service, what manpower planning process exists, if any, for the recruitment and retention of staff, whether they have an age profile of existing staff for expected and planned retirements, whether there forward planning for staff and staff recruitment - and if such planning exists, then how are we now at crisis point within the service?”

Deputy Munster has also asked where the new promised build for St. Mary's on the Dublin Road and St. Joseph's in Ardee will be.  

Deputy Munster added:

“This crisis is also compounded by the lack of funding and supply of home support services where people who need home support services are being continuously turned down."

The HSE in response to Deputy Munster confirmed that nine beds in the Cottage have been closed due to shortage of nurses, but failed to explain why they failed to start the recruitment process much sooner knowing that the service was down ten nurses since last April. 

“They have only now started to advertise for staff to fill these posts, which only serves to add to the chaos and crisis unfolding in our older persons service locally. 

“Both the Minister and the HSE have a responsibility to ensure this service is adequately funded and resourced and that this crisis is addressed as a matter of urgency.”

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