The Minister for Health says he will take concerns about the future of St Brigid’s Hospital in Carrick-on-Suir directly to the HSE.
The matter was raised in the Dáil yesterday evening by local TD, Jackie Cahill.
Tipp FM recently reported that the 16-bed facility, which is normally a respite and palliative care home, had been designated as a Covid-19 step-down hospital and its residents had been termporarily transferred.
However, Deputy Cahill told the Minister that staff now have concerns:
“We were informed two weeks ago that the demand for such Covid-19 step-down beds at St Brigid’s Hospital had reduced, and the hospital had been temporarily suspended.
“[We were told] that admissions for step-down COVID-19 related care at St Brigid’s would resume when required. However, it is now believed that beds are being physically removed from St Brigid’s to Our Lady’s in Cashel.
“Minister, will you ask the HSE to make it clear that there’s no threat to the future of St Brigid’s? And when the COVID-19 crisis has ended, that it will return to its previous service within the community?”
Minister Harris, responding to Deputy Cahill, said it is an issue he will look for answers on:
“Deputy Cahill, in relation to St Brigid’s in Carrick, I will certainly take your concerns directly to the HSE in relation to seeking clarity on the intended use and the restoration of [the facility] back to its former purpose post the pandemic.
“I will revert directly to you on that either today (Thursday) or tomorrow.”
When concerns were raised by another Tipperary TD, Martin Browne, almost two weeks ago, the HSE sent Tipperary the following statement – but no indication was given as to when St Brigid’s would go back to serving its previous functions:
HSE/SECH Media Statement
27th April, 2020
Regarding St. Brigid’s Hospital, Carrick on Suir
Ordinarily, St. Brigid’s Hospital provides convalescent, respite and palliative care and is registered with Health Information & Quality Authority (HIQA) to accommodate up to 16 residents.
In the current Covid 19 pandemic public health emergency, St. Brigid’s has been designated as a “step down” Covid 19 care facility to serve the South Tipperary area.
Interim arrangements are in place for patients requiring residential convalescent, respite and palliative care to be accommodated elsewhere in the HSE’s community healthcare services in the South Tipperary area.
The demand for such Covid 19 care step down beds at St. Brigid’s has reduced over the last week. There is a critical requirement for staff elsewhere in community healthcare services at this time and admission to St. Brigid’s has been temporarily suspended. Admissions for step down Covid 19 related care at St. Brigid’s will resume when required.
Due to the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic public health emergency, there are no plans in the short term to resume St. Brigid’s customary usage for convalescent, respite and palliative care beds.
In the meantime, the HSE/South East Community Healthcare are deeply appreciative of the support all of its services are receiving in the South Tipperary area at this challenging time, apologises for any inconvenience and assures the public that the welfare of patients is a priority for staff and management.
Regarding St. Patrick’s Hospital, Cashel
St. Patrick’s Hospital in Cashel (and its associated facility at St. Anthony’s Unit in Clonmel) is a South East Community Healthcare residential centre for older people, serving the local population in South Tipperary in provision of long stay, respite, dementia and rehab care.
As part of ongoing consultation with the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), including in maximising infection control measures in the current Covid 19 public health emergency, arrangements are being made for residents and staff of St. Patrick’s Hospital to move on an interim bases to accommodation being established at the nearby former Our Lady’s Hospital building in Cashel.
Previous design work carried out at Our Lady’s, following its closure in 2007, rendered it adaptable to resumption of inpatient accommodation to modern standards. Catering Services for all health facilities locally are also based at the Our Lady’s campus.
This transfer from St. Patrick’s is being undertaken with the best interests of residents and staff in mind. The 26 bed St. Anne’s/St. Bernadette’s and 23 bed St. Benedict’s wards at St. Patrick’s Hospital will be moving to the new accommodation and associated ancillary and recreational facilities in Our Lady’s. HSE/South East Community Healthcare are liaising with staff representatives in respect of all arrangements being made in Cashel.
The present (21 bed) Rehabilitation Unit on site at St. Patrick’s Hospital and (11 bed) St. Claire’s Ward already located on the grounds of Our Lady’s Hospital are not affected by the transfer.
In turn, available space at St. Patrick’s will be utilised for some services currently based in the main Our Lady’s building in Cashel.
Such services as the Minor Injuries Unit and Radiology facilities will continue to operate as normal at Our Lady’s. Lorica (a 9 bed high support mental health residential services unit), Ré Nua (6 bed residential unit for those with intellectual disability), the Carraig Óir mental health day hospital, the Caredoc Out of Hours GP Service and the ambulance station – all of which are on the grounds of Our Lady’s Hospital – will continue to operate as normal.
The HSE’s Capital Plan provides for construction of a new 60 bed Residential Centre (to replace the St. Anne’s/St. Bernadette’s St. Benedict’s wards) on a site adjacent to St. Patrick’s Hospital in Cashel and a 50 bed Residential Centre on an adjacent site at Glenconnor, Clonmel to replace St. Anthony’s Unit.
St. Patrick’s Hospital in Cashel (and St. Anthony’s Unit in Clonmel) has an excellent reputation as a care facility. South East Community Healthcare are deeply appreciative of the support the hospital receives from families of residents and the wider community in South Tipperary (including at this current, challenging time), apologises for any inconvenience and assures the public that the welfare of residents/patients in the hospital is a priority for staff and management.