24 Sept 2022

HSE commit to palliative care bed

HSE commit to palliative care bed

The HSE are “in general agreement” to provide a palliative care bed in St Joseph's Care Centre Longford for local support for a new 20-bed specialist palliative care unit in Tullamore.

Dan Rooney, the Chairperson of County Longford Hospice Homecare CLG said the €20m funding announced for new Midlands hospice has conditional support from the Longford group.

Capital funding of €20m was recently announced to fund the new specialist palliative care inpatient unit for the Midlands. Once complete, the hospice will provide essential access to specialist palliative care inpatient services for patients and their families across the Midlands.

Mr Rooney says although the proposed location in Tullamore will not facilitate easy access to patients from this county there is an understanding that it's the optimal site: “We gave conditional support to the project. We accept that we are not going to get a unit like that in Longford. We are on the periphery of the region. We still acknowledge the pressing need for such facility in the Midlands. We know it needs to be near the oncology unit in Tullamore.

“Our support for that project was on condition that we get a second bed in St Joseph's. I had a meeting this morning with the HSE and it appears there is general agreement on that. So we are happy enough with that,” Mr Rooney said.

The support for the project is not unconditional because the distance involved, the lack of public transport and the poor road infrastructure make for an arduous journey for . Some patients and their families may have to travel in excess of 100 km to use the Tullamore unit.
“We have to be realistic,” Mr Rooney said, “we would prefer it in Longford, but that would never be a runner.”
County Longford Hospice Homecare CLG is a seven day Homecare support service provided by a team of specialist healthcare professionals who provide care, support and advice to help patients and their families manage problems associated with life-limiting illness.

They also provide transport to patients who need treatment in Oncology Units: “We have three patient transport ambulances. We bring patients, primarily cancer patients, to Dublin, Tullamore and Mullingar for treatment and appointments. The drivers are provided by the HSE,” Mr Rooney said.

Chief Officer of the HSE Midlands Louth Meath, Des O’Flynn, thanked all who supported the Level 3 Midlands Specialist Palliative Care / Hospice Unit “Our thanks to the Hospice Groups in the Midlands namely Laois Hospice, Longford Hospice, North Westmeath Hospice, Offaly Hospice and South Westmeath Hospice and all their volunteers who have fundraised for various palliative care initiatives through-out many years including the new hospice.

The Midlands Hospice development is expected to be completed by the end of 2025 and will be co-located on a site provided by the HSE at the Midland Regional Hospital.

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