HSE under fire over Carrick hospital decisions

Protest and march at St Brigid's Hospital, Carrick-on-Suir in June 2020. | Photo (c) Tipp FM

The HSE has been accused of defending the ‘indefensible’ when it comes to St. Brigid’s Hospital in Carrick-on-Suir.

Yesterday they appeared before the Joint Committee on Public Petitions to resume the consideration of the petition ‘Save St Brigid’s Hospital’ led by Cllr. Davy Dunne and representatives from the community.

Their response, which was led by Kate Killeen White, Chief Officer of South East Community Healthcare, focused on their justifications for closing palliative, respite and convalescent beds at the local facility.

In addition to citing infection control concerns, major structural issues within the building, and problems with extension due to its location on a flood plain, it was revealed the HSE never obtained any quotes on how much it would cost to refurbish or downsize St. Brigid’s.

“We also base our opinions, or our decisions, on many factors including the Health Act Regulations, Safer Better Healthcare, Fire Precautions, the enhanced infections prevention and control guidelines which we had to apply in the context of the Covid 19 Pandemic. Consideration had been given by hospital management to give an extension to St. Brigid’s Hospital however the building itself and the surrounding grounds and the parking areas did not allow for that to happen.”

The Save St. Brigid’s Hospital Campaigners have now called for further documentation on the meetings where the decision to close the facility were made.

Kate Killeen White went on to assure those present efforts are being made to ensure adequate healthcare facilities in areas around South Tipp including Clonmel and Clogheen.

She also stated that St. Brigid’s would be an ideal location for a hub of integrated community services.

However, Senator Gerard Craughwell bluntly stated that asking people to add travel to the pain of watching someone die in hospital is not good enough.

“You are telling them don’t worry about it you can go to Waterford, or you can go to Tipperary ,or you can go to Clonmel. People go to die in this place. What we need is community services, not to force people into their cars to travel 60 kms or 100 kms to see the person that is dying. All of us in this room, I am sure, at some stage have had a relative die in palliative care, it is a horrible experience and to add the burden of travel is simply unacceptable.”