No Commitment on Long Term Residential Care at Community Hospitals despite Latest Government Spin – Doherty

Minister has until Wednesday to Guarantee Future of Services

Sinn Féin Councillor and General Election Candidate Gary Doherty has labelled the latest comments from Fine Gael over a HSE statement on Lifford, St Joseph’s and Ramelton Community Hospitals as ‘spin’ and says that the latest announcement fails to give a commitment to retain long stay beds at the facilities.

While Cllr Doherty says he welcomes assurances from the HSE that current long term residents will not be affected as part of the plans, he says that the future of long term residential care at the units is still far from certain. Cllr Doherty has now given the Minister until Wednesday next to give a clear guarantee to the people of Donegal that long stay beds will be retained before they head to the polls next week.

Cllr Doherty said:

“This latest declaration from Fine Gael in relation to the HSE’s statement concerning the futures of Lifford, St Joseph’s and Ramelton Community Hospitals is nothing short of spin.

“The statement from the HSE does not guarantee the future of long term residential care at these units – that is the unfortunate reality.

“While the statement makes it clear that residents currently in receipt of long stay care at these facilities will not be moved, something which I of course very much welcome, there is no mention however of future admissions to these units.

“It clearly states that Lifford hospital will continue on as a short stay facility as part of these plans, while no commitment is given to retain long stay beds once those currently receiving long term residential care are no longer receiving care at the unit.

“At Ramelton, the HSE’s statement just states that it will continue to operate as normal, but again doesn’t make any reference to future admissions for long stay residential care.

“In relation to St Joseph’s, the HSE’s statement is even more ambiguous, and it simply states that the executive is awaiting confirmation of registration with the authority – again no commitment is made with regards the future of the facility’s long stay beds, or indeed regarding what service delivery model it will employ going forward.

“I don’t view this statement from the HSE as telling us anything which we haven’t already been told when the Minister made her original announcement a few weeks ago to state that these facilities were being ‘replaced’.

“And for government party politicians to claim otherwise, now that an election is mere days away, is disingenuous on their part.”

“I am now calling on the Minister, by Wednesday of next week, to issue to the people of Donegal a clear guarantee to state that long stay beds will not be removed from the three hospitals and that the future of these vital services are secure.

“If no such commitment is given, then the people of Donegal will at the very least be better informed and will know what to expect when casting their ballots on polling day.”