Fine Gael Councillor Colm Murray has called on the HSE to change its current policy with regard to respite care provision.
“Currently, four respite beds for Longford residents are being provided by Laurel Lodge in Longford and Mill Race Nursing Home in Ballinasloe,” he said before pointing out that it was unacceptable that half of Longford’s respite cover was, at it's closest point, 43km from the county.
“The reason for this is because the HSE has a policy of contracting private operators to provide the cover, which allows for homes up to 80km outside of the county to tender for these contracts.”
Cllr Murray went on to say that the policy came to light following a line of questioning that he pursued with the Head of Social Care for the area, Jude O'Neill at the April meeting of the County Council.
“I am now calling on the HSE to change this policy and designate some of their own, State owned beds at St Joseph's in Longford for respite cover,” he added.
“There are currently in the region of 70 beds with adequate nursing cover at the facility and it is senseless to pursue the current policy of forcing people into respite in Co Galway, when the care could be provided in Longford.”