Clarity needed urgently on community hospital funding – Cope

A Donegal TD is seeking clarity on what impact, if any, the overspend in the Capital Plan for Nursing Homes will have on Donegal.

It was confirmed at the weekend that the plan is €300 million over budget, with fears that projects may be delayed.

Donegal Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher says this is particularly worrying in Donegal, as despite years of discussion, the plan does not count additional commitments given to add three Donegal facvilities to the plan.

Deputy Gallagher says there have been numerous verbal promises made regarding St Joseph’s Community Hospital, Stranorlar, the Ramelton Nursing Unit and Lifford Community Hospital, but no written commitments have been received.

He says clarity is necessary...........


Statement in full - 

Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher Leas Cheann Comhairle has questioned if the
current HSE/Department of Health capital plan for upgrading of State owned
Nursing homes, Care Units, Community Hospitals and for the construction of
the proposed Public Private Partnership (PPP) Community Hospitals are
safeguarded or are they in jeopardy due to the massive overspend in the
capital plan of the Department of Health.

This weekend’s confirmation that the existing Capital Plan for Nursing Homes is
some €300 million over budget and that does not count additional
commitments given to add Community Hospitals such as St Joseph’s
Community Hospital, Stranorlar, Lifford and Ramelton Community Hospital to
the existing Capital Plan 2016 to 2021. Serious questions must now be
answered by the Government, and I am cognisant of the numerous answers to
my different Dáil questions regarding the long-term futures of residential care
units in the three Donegal community hospitals , when time and time again,
no commitment was given on the record of the Dáil added Pat the Cope.

This massive overspend within the HSE and the Governments budgets for
nursing units and community hospitals could potentially have disastrous
consequences for our nursing units and community hospitals within the county
added Pat the Cope.

The entire Government Nursing Home Strategy and Care of the Older Person is
now in tatters, with broken promises, false announcement of funding by
various Government Ministers, while at the same time their own budgets are
burst. It is now becoming clearer that the entire strategy is grossly
underfunded, and not alone can existing commitments not be met but other
commitments granted to add other community hospitals to the programme
are now in serious trouble stated Pat the Cope.

It was with great shock that we discovered in January 2016, that the then
Government proposed to downgrade St Joseph’s Hospital, Lifford and
Ramelton Community Hospitals by removing certain services and the capacity
for long stay accommodation, residential care and the dementia care unit from
these respective Community Hospital added Pat the Cope.

The real risk on the horizon for our community hospitals is the impending
deadline of the derogated guidelines of HIQA, which means that all state run
community hospitals and care units must reach the full standards of HIQA by
2021, this runs concurrently with the existing capital plan of the HSE for
community hospitals, which we now discover is grossly underfunded with
massive overspends stated Pat the Cope.
If community hospitals or nursing units cannot meet the full HIQA standards by
2021, then actions could be taken by HIQA to close remove certain services
and close residential care units added Pat the Cope.

Minister Daly is either in a state of denial or confusion, for as last month he
visited Donegal making further promises in terms of our community hospitals,
while knowing full well his budget was blown added Pat the Cope.

Minister Daly now attempts to claim the overspend is due to inflation, but the
figure simply do not stack up, this is another National Children’s Hospital
scenario all over again, budgets being blown due to lack of governance.

The communities within Donegal deserve to know the full facts and the truth
surrounding our Community Hospitals and Nursing Units, for far too long we
have been taken for a ride on the Government spin machine, we now deserve
the truth surrounding what exactly is planned for all of our community
hospitals currently operating within the county concluded Pat the Cope.