02 Dec 2021

Longford Senator Micheál Carrigy slams HSE over St Joseph's palliative care impasse

Longford Senator Micheál Carrigy slams HSE over St Joseph's palliative care impasse

HSE senior management have been accused of trying to renege on a government agreement to provide a second palliative care bed in St Joseph's Care Centre.

Fine Gael Senator Micheal Carrigy said the commitment to allocate an additional hospice bed to the Dublin Road facility had been given the green light by former Health Minister Simon Harris in 2019.

Mr Carrigy described a recent response given by HSE bosses as “outrageous” in which it was revealed any move to add a second bed would result invariably impact the level of service provided in St Joseph's long stay units.

HSE officals also warned the decision would require a further budgetary allocation to offset expected income reduction under the Fair Deal Scheme.

“That is a ridiculous reply, to be honest,” said Senator Carrigy, who claimed hospital palliative care home visits in Longford were much higher than other counties.

“The availability of a second bed in Longford would allow hospital discharges for people who do not wish to die in the Midland Regional Hospital and who want to be closer to home.

“It (second palliative care bed) would also allow for respite for the families who need that extra support and the opportunity of having a break while looking after a loved one.”

Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler argued however that occupancy rates for the palliative care bed already in place in St Joseph's stood at 54 per cent in 2020 and 64 per cent to date this year.

“Current plans do not include an increase in the number of beds available for palliative services (in St Joseph's),” she said.
“Those figures would determine that one bed seems to be sufficient.”

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