HSE puts paid to St Joseph’s rumours

Councillors were told the HSE remains firmly committed to St Joseph's Care Centre in Longford. Photo: Shelley Corcoran
The future of St Joseph’s Centre is safe, a joint meeting between local politicians and HSE bosses has heard.

The future of St Joseph’s Centre is safe, a joint meeting between local politicians and HSE bosses has heard.

The health facilty has been the subject of growing speculation as talk of cuts and a threat to services steadily took hold.

But senior officials with the HSE held discussions with local politicians at Longford County Council’s headquarters where they issued assurances about the centre’s future.

Area manager for the midlands region Joe Ruane firmly rebuffed rumours of possible service withrawl , stressing the HSE remained firmly committed to the campus.

“There is no suggestion at this present time of any services being withdrawn,” he said, while also claiming there had been “zero change” in service provision.

Mr Ruane made the remarks as he fielded questions put to him by Independent Cllr Tony Flaherty.

Cllr Flaherty said he had been left frustrated by repeated attempts to raise the matter and the possibility of a palliative care unit with Health Minister Dr James Reilly.

“Everything is there, the beds are there and it needs to happen,” he said.

“Longford is one of only four towns in the country that doesn’t have a palliative care unit on its campus.”

He was more satsifed though with the response Mr Ruane gave concerning St Joseph’s as a fully functioning residential care centre.

Mr Ruane said there was no issue with regard to waiting lists with bed closures only coming due to a lack of demand.

“A lot of people’s minds can be put to rest now and the rumours can stop,” said Cllr Flaherty when greeting the news.

There was similarly positive recation given to assurances over the midlands out of hours GP service.

More commonly known as MiDoc, question have been raised on whether service hours would suffer as a result of cuts to nursing hours.

Again, Mr Ruane was eager to dismiss those suggestions and claimed that Longford was particularly well served in this area.

Responding to those comments, Cllr Flaherty said the imporance of MiDoc to Longford based patients was invaluable.

And in a thinly veiled swipe at his detractors, the former Fianna Fail representative said he believed Mr Ruane’s assurance would put an end to any lingering rumours.

“Hopefuly now the scaremongering might stop about the services in Longford,” he added.